How to Get Your Business to Run Without You

Take it from the CEO of Jetsmarter (a.k.a the Uber of Private Jets), Sergey Petrossov: reducing time and effort wasted on inefficiency can revolutionize your whole business. He upped his company’s annual business by over seven times, simply by spotting an inefficiency. 

Common inefficiencies stem from a lack of communication, getting stuck in outdated procedures and a constant search for something new (the shiny object syndrome). Therefore you have to root out these inefficiencies so that your business can run smoothly.

This requires shrewdness, a can-do attitude and professional coaching.

Are you ready for it?

#1: Know Every Inch of Your Business

Knowing every inch of your business means observing what you are currently doing and asking yourself:

  1. Do I have a clear understanding of what’s important and what’s not?
  2. Am I simply focusing on each task or crisis as it comes along?
  3. Can these tasks be systematized?

Observe your current patterns to determine your strength. Then, apply those useful principles to the rest of your business to systematize the entire process. You can‘t really be objective about your company’s situation if you’re constantly carrying out daily tasks, as the ‘doer.’ You have to step back, zoom in and observe.

“Those who are most successful are capable of ‘higher-level thinking’ – i.e., they are able to step back and design a ‘machine’ consisting of the right people doing the right things to get what they want.”  – Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund

This is the only way to create a system that allows you to remove yourself and let the business take care of itself. Principles by Ray Dalio is a great resource to learn more about this approach. As is Work the System by Sam Carpenter.

Once you’ve built your machine, improve it over time. Create a solid diagnosis of your goals and the problems blocking their path so that you and your team can stimulate creative solutions.

Google was famous for empowering their employees with ‘secret’ information and involving them in Q & A meetings where they could openly discuss anything with anyone. A clear and open communication flow can help you identify bottlenecks, generate better ideas, and build an effective business machine.

Would you agree? If so, you may benefit from a mastermind group that allows you to brainstorm core business challenges with fellow CEOs. Get that conversation started.

#2: Determine What Your Communication Strategy is Lacking

Don’t just say: “I can’t transfer my knowledge to my team.”

Instead, Ask yourself:

  • Which team member, and why?
  • Is it a problem of time or a lack of shared language?
  • Poor follow-through?
  • Lack of clarity?

It’s Only when you’ve identified a problematic pattern can you get to work designing a solution. Get your team in the habit of raising issues and risks that they feel are out of their control or impossible to deliver.

Communication is a tricky problem for most organizations, but it is absolutely your responsibility as a business owner to get it flowing.

So, Make your vision and your values available to your team in file that is accessible to everybody in your company. This way your employees and contractors can keep coming back to whenever they are unsure of the direction of your company. Having a set of principles accessible to everyone means you don’t have to constantly re-exert effort to explain yourself. Document everything, including common Q&As, guidelines etc. Have them organized and updated, often.

Good ideas come from all places. If you have a team that understands company goals, encourage them to ponder and speak up. Let them bring their disagreements into the open where it can be discussed and settled logically.

Are you taking advantage of communication tools like Slack, Basecamp or ProsperWorks? Use communication technology to automate internal processes while decreasing inefficiency, human error and unnecessary delays.

Bonus tip: Outlaw long and complicated emails. Communications should be razor-focused on a task, an update, or a process.

#3: Remove Bottlenecks with Technology

Leveraging technology is the best thing you can do for your business. The benefits are endless: smoother operations, greater customer experience, increased productivity and higher profits.

Jetsmarter made it easy for customers to access technology and information by letting them directly schedule their flights through an app.

As a result, agents were removed as a booking bottleneck and re-directed towards other tasks.

For better or worse, every company is now a software company. There are hundreds of applications that can be used to run business tasks.  It’s all about connecting people, processes, technology and data.

For your business to run smoothly and be highly adaptable to market needs, it needs digital integration. Use the proper tools to get you from knowledge to action in a systematic way.

How can you empower your business with technology?

Every industry has different needs.

Companies with manufacturing, transport and large investments may need to improve operations and take advantage of their infrastructures.

Other companies may want to focus on customer relationships and platforms.

Use technology to support your own goals, decreasing the amount of time and effort that you as a business owner need to focus on daily operations.

#4: Get Help So You Can Focus on the Big Picture

This means passing along some responsibilities when it becomes highly problematic or time-consuming. In other words: seeking help.

Escalation is not a failure — it’s recognition of responsibility.

Your business is meant to grow and run smoothly without your constant input. Because it becomes successful only when treated as a separate entity worthy of investment.

If time is the problem, get a virtual assistant to help you in a variety of areas, including administration, research, invoicing as well as marketing, sales and operational support.

If you have a core business challenge, consult a business coach who can “shift your mindset and perspective on your business which then allows for powerful breakthroughs in the strategic direction of your company.

Seek help.

#5: Define the Roles and Responsibilities of Your Staff

Did you know that there is a significant relationship between employee performance and clarity about roles and responsibilities?

According to one study: “Role ambiguity, which is absence of clarity for the roles, is considered to be one of the great bottlenecks for the effectiveness of the team.”

The research went on to indicate that employers who are clear about performance, evaluation and delivery improve their business tremendously. Not only are employees happier with their own performance; they uplift the entire organization.

How clear are you about your expectations?

If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Almost 50% of employees across different sectors lack role clarity. With start-ups, the problem stems from a fluid environment where everybody has to do everything. However, For larger organizations, it’s due to poor communication.

We’re talking about goals, priorities and boundaries.

Your Employees need to understand not just how they fit into the puzzle but how the other pieces fit in, too, and how the whole thing comes together. 

There is a freedom and passion that comes with clarity.

This includes you as the employer, CEO or business owner. The only thing you should be focusing on is making the best decisions for your business. Remove all the other noise from your head – you’d be amazed at how many different tasks there are that you can get someone else to do for you.

Seriously – here’s 84 examples!

Related Video

Conclusion

Are you ready to find out what it means to run a business that is so effective that you can pursue bigger and better goals? It’s possible. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary session today and find out exactly how you’re going to do it.

QUESTION: What inefficiencies have you found in your business that have allowed you to pursue bigger and better things? Share with us in the comments below!

Katrina McKinnon is a leading online innovator with over 20 years’ experience building and operating high performing businesses. In a market hungry for skilled online professionals, Small Revolution powered by Katrina McKinnon’s proven insights, is the fastest, most effective way to get the expertise to tap into this growing opportunity.

6 Essential Tools for Scaling Your Business

The proven process of scaling a business is a slow and winding one, and is more involved than basic growth. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to remember that every Fortune 1000 company started just as you are. And while it may be tempting to seek out shortcuts and quick schemes that promise to speed up growth, your results will likely be as fleeting as the path was to get there.

To ensure you’re taking the right steps for long-term success, we’re highlighting six essential tools for strategically scaling your business.

Also, remember that you don’t need to overwhelm yourself – Work Less and Achieve More Growth in Your Business.

1. Chatbots

Success stems from customers. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers, and oftentimes can also be your biggest advocates. 

However, given that business growth is only sustainable with a reliable customer base, a decline in customer satisfaction can have a significantly negative impact on your growth plan. Keeping this in mind can make all the difference in the speed at which you scale your business.

For this reason, establishing a strong customer service model is essential. This allows your team to provide the service your customers have become accustomed to, while also catering to new customers.

Many small businesses, particularly ones with plans to scale, have begun implementing chatbots. This eases the workload of increased customer queries and also maintains high-quality service.

As chatbots become increasingly more advanced, more and more businesses are relying on them for the bulk of their service requests. This not only enables businesses to successfully grow their customer base (and, thus, take on larger workloads), but it also meets modern customers’ requests for on-demand service. In fact, more than half of consumers would rather talk with a chatbot, than a human, in order to save time.

2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

A dedicated CRM system can be a big help as you grow your customer base. It cohesively manages all of your company’s relationships and interactions with new and existing customers. This allows your team to effectively work toward improving business relationships as you grow.

Along with the increased customer connections, a CRM system can also aid in user data management and improve team collaboration—particularly between your marketing and sales teams.

CRM software for SMBs

When selecting the CRM software best suited for your small business, there are a few key qualifiers to help you make the right decision. 

  • Budget: Seek out cost-efficient options capable of growing with your business without breaking your initial budget.
  • Customization: Certain datasets are more relevant than others in the early stages of growth. So, tools that allow you to look at the bigger picture can reduce the sense of overwhelm. 
  • Integration: Make sure the system you choose integrates well with other tools.
  • Customer support: Overall, SMBs have smaller teams. Therefore, a reliable support system helps get you up and running with the new technology. 

HubSpot CRM is a popular free option for small businesses, thanks to its easy to use built-in interface. Since everything is deployed in the cloud, there is no need for complicated installations and/or navigational training.

Salesforce CRM is another excellent option, for it’s easy integration with external business solutions and sales assistance tools.

3. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System

Organizational software can make all the difference when it comes to achieving your business scaling goals. Generally speaking, small businesses can get away with simple record-keeping processes, and basic accounting solutions. However, as you scale, you’ll likely grow out of these preliminary tools. Therefore, an ERP can help automate and coordinate the growing number of complex business processes that your scaling business will inevitably accumulate.

Since the introduction of cloud-based systems, top quality ERP systems, once only available to large corporations, are within reach of smaller companies—both financially functionally.  A modern ERP cloud solution can help streamline operations, ensuring your entire organization is working in sync, and on pace with technology.

For business scaling in particular, software that you can both, trust to update autonomously, and grow with your business, is essential. You can avoid any unnecessary complexity by choosing a solution that is specific to the cloud, as opposed to the on-premises solutions that have been rewritten to service in the cloud (for instance Infor ERP products).

Today’s industry leaders recognize the power that small businesses hold. As a result, they are increasingly targeting small and medium sized businesses with cloud-based versions of ERP software. Depending on your specific business environment and goals, there are several available options to help you meet your scaling goals.

4. Inventory Management Software

Increased volumes of business are expected when scaling. As is the amount of inventory and information you need to keep track of. Although a spreadsheet may have been suitable as a small business, the larger you scale, the more difficult effective management becomes.

Inventory management software relieves this pressure by simplifying the tracking process of whatever it is that makes your business function. Comparing inventory management software, based on their offerings, pricing, and your specific business needs, can help you make the right choice for your business.

5. Email Automation

A digital marketing strategy is fundamental in modern business success. As you scale, however, your traditional marketing efforts will likely need a reboot.

Automation is a lifesaver when it comes to scaling a business. Extending your reach without additional effort is possible through the many tools designed to help automate marketing tasks. Mailchimp, for example, is an easy-to-use platform for email automation.

To build your customer base, it’s important to put adequate effort into spreading your message. This means alerting all potential and existing customers of your latest offering, and generating new conversion whenever possible.

6. Social Media Automation

A strong social media presence is critical to successfully promoting your business. However, in the early days of your scaling, you probably don’t have a dedicated social team.

Not to worry, though. Social media automation tools have made it easier than ever. They can pre-schedule content to share across your various networks and profiles, track performance, collaborate with fellow social media users, and manage a consistent reposting schedule.

Tools like AgoraPulse and Hootsuite are very popular platforms that can help you improve your social media presence while also saving you time.

Ultimately, There is no one-size-fits-all method to scaling a business. As you go through the process, you’ll recognize what works for you, and what your business needs to achieve success.

QUESTION: Which of these tools interests you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

You Don’t Need to Build Your Business Alone

build a business

Running your own business is hard. Running your business all alone is even harder.  😩

There’s so much advice out there it’s hard to know what to do and what to focus on first. You’re worried about following the wrong advice, or just as bad …. The right advice at the wrong time.

You can commit to working harder …. But, what if you’re working hard on the wrong things? You’ll easily waste months and even years spinning your wheels. 😭

Your friends and family don’t know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. They don’t understand the challenges you face running your own business or how to solve the problems that keep you up at night.

Right now, you have no one to talk to who can give you meaningful support and actionable advice. 

📍You need to FIND YOUR PEOPLE. 

Take the first step … right here … right now.

✅ WHAT IS ONE DECISION YOU NEED TO MAKE IN YOUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. By sharing a decision you’ve been delaying to make or a challenge that’s got you stuck … not only could you receive some 💡great ideas 💡 to help you … you’re also helping so many others who are facing the same challenge in their business. 

Website Traffic Secrets Introducing the Stack

As you know, one of my goals with this blog is to help you find new, better and more efficient ways to increase website traffic, build your email list and improve conversions and sales of your products and services

That’s why I’m always on the lookout for great new tools and resources that can help accelerate your results.

A while back my friend Cary Richards over at Infostack produced an amazing bundle of resources called: “The Traffic Secrets Super Stack,” 

It was hugely popular but there was one problem. 

It was only available for a week and a bunch of people missed out on it…

Well…  I’ve got good news today! 

The response was so great that they have decided to bring it back and make it available for another few days.

“The Traffic Secrets Super Stack” is a hand-curated collection of over 25 premium eCourses, video training, memberships and workbooks that include information like:

  • How to grow your email list to 10,000+ subscribers 
  • Master Facebook advertising so you can crush your next marketing campaign
  • Behind the scenes of YouTube traffic
  • How to get referral traffic from influential people in your niche
  • Social media hacks (how to use platforms like Instagram to grow your reach, influence, and profit)
  • How to use cold email to get results (without burning bridges or looking like an amateur)
  • And much more.

Now, typically, you’d have to spend over $3,000 + to get your hands on everything packed inside the Traffic Secrets Super Stack

But this week, (for a limited time) you can get everything for over 98% off.

But don’t hesitate, because after next Monday the stack goes away probably for good this time.

Click here to learn more about this limited-time deal.
https://yooncannon–infostack.thrivecart.com/traffic 

Last thing before I wrap up this offer:

As you know, I very rarely make offers to my blog.

I only share things that I feel are a tremendous value that you can’t miss.

When I learned about “The Traffic Secrets Super Stack”, I knew immediately it was a winner. Seeing the final lineup of ebooks, e-courses, and more – it’s clear that this bundle is well worth the insanely low price you pay to get access.

So that’s why I’m sharing it with you.

My hope is that you’ll take a look, and, if it feels like the right fit for you, you’ll take action before this amazing deal expires.

That’s it for today.

Click here to learn more about this limited-time deal.  
https://yooncannon–infostack.thrivecart.com/traffic 

 

Take care!

Yoon ~

P.S. I forgot to mention: there’s absolutely no risk to check out this deal. You see, the guys over at Infostack have a best-in-class, 60-day, no questions asked, money refund guarantee. That means you can get instant access to everything in this bundle today, and take the next 60-days to decide if it’s the right fit for you.

Click here to learn more about this exclusive deal.
https://yooncannon–infostack.thrivecart.com/traffic 

Understanding the Most Important Ranking Factors – on-page SEO

SEO can seem like a minefield. Part of the problem is that there is a lag between the time that you implement changes and the time that you see the results of those changes. You could do everything right today, and still not see positive results for two to three months.

That can be quite disheartening, but it’s the way the system works. The best you can do is to understand what ranking factors carry the most weight and then aim to create content that will help you score with the search engines.

We’re going to focus here on factors that we know work for Google, because this search engine handles more than 89% of all internet searches at the moment.

The good news is that these tips will work for any other search engine.

Ranking Factors

 

Quality of Content

Publishing top-quality content is something that Google told us to do a long time ago. And it makes sense. If you’re putting out great content all the time, it’ll be considered valuable by your audience. It’s more likely to get it shared than anything else.

High-quality content will make your audience stay on your site for longer because it gives them the answers that they were looking for. The longer someone stays on your page, the better it looks in the eyes of the search engines.

Click-Through Rate

This is how many people click through to your site from the search results. To get more people to click through, make sure that the meta description has been well-written. It should be relevant to what’s on the page so that people know exactly what they’re clicking through.

It’s tempting to use a clickbait title, but that strategy backfires quite quickly as it’s bound to lead to an increase in the bounce rate.

Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate will kill your site’s traffic fast. If people click through your site and then bounce off quickly, search engines will see this as a sign that the site didn’t have the answers they were looking for.

A good tip is to link through to a related, interesting piece of content on your site. This keeps the audience longer on the site and encourages them to explore it further. If the content is, say 3,000 words or longer, can you break it up into two parts? This would mean that the person has to click through to at least one other page.

It’s the principle that those sites with slideshows count on. Those are highly annoying, so we don’t recommend making the person click through to another page more than once or twice per article.

Backlink Profile

One ranking factor is how many quality sites have linked through to yours. There are a lot of ways to go about link-building. If you’re creating outstanding content, though, other sites will naturally want to link through to you.

Never buy backlinks or offer a link-for-link trade. If you get caught, and the chances are good that you will be, the search engines will penalize you.

Ranking Factors

 

Final Notes

Those are the main link factors used to suss out great content. Present excellent content every time, and you’re bound to see your organic traffic rise. If you’ve got top-notch content and your pages load fast, therefore you’ve won half the battle already.

Best Affordable Video Gear Guide to Market Your Business

The Best and Affordable Video Gear Guide isn’t that difficult to find. Below are the helpful list to help you get started to market your business.

Record with Your iPhone Bare Bones Starter Gear:

iPhone 7 Plus

You don’t need to wait until you’re ready to buy expensive cameras or hire a professional videographer to start recording videos to market your business.

Just start recording straight from your iPhone. If you’re worried your videos might look poor in quality check out this 1 minute video I recorded from my iPhone 7 Plus. 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH EXAMPLE VIDEO

Condenser Microphone for
Smart Phones Smart Headset

No one wants to watch a great video if the sound is poor quality! 

This is the the condenser microphone I bought which hooks directly to my iPhone (with an adapter).

For under $20 it’s a no brainer decision to ensure that people watching can hear your message clearly. 


Apple Headphone Jack Adapter

 

This is the adapter you’ll need to connect your condenser lapel microphone to your iPhone to record great sound for your videos.

TAluminum Tri Pod

Don’t cut corners and try to hold your iPhone to shoot your videos at arms length. For under $35 it’s well worth the stability and versatility to mount your smartphone onto a tripod. 

I started out with a different $19 tripod, but the flimsy legs not only made it too top heavy when I mounted my iPhone, but the cheap tripod was also a struggle to get the three legs to adjust to the same length, which made for very lop sided looking videos.

So, I shelled out the extra 15 bucks and ended up buying this one instead. Having a sturdier tripod now makes me want to shoot more videos since I no longer have to fight with the old one.

Smartphone Adapter

This smartphone adapter is what mounts onto your tripod. Then you clip you iPhone right into this piece. 

When I first started out with the cheapest adapter I found it became too time consuming to switch from vertical to portrait mode. 

So, then I researched and bought this one which I love because it has a 360 ball joint, so I can easily rotate my iPhone from vertical to horizontal — handy for recording video and taking pictures.

This one uses a universal mounting, so it works on pretty much any tripods, clamps and handles.

Record from Your Computer – Double Duty Video Gear:

HP Pavilion All in One Computer

Instead (or in addition to) recording videos from your iPhone you can also just record videos from your computer. 

If you’re still using an old computer you might not have a good quality built in camera.

This is the computer I purchased which I use to record all of my marketing training content I create for my Power Biz Academy members.

AUDIO TECHNICA
MICROPHONE for COMPUTER

Even though your computer has built in speakers the sound quality when recording video is not so great.

I researched and tested out using different headsets, ear buds and other ‘cheap’ microphones. After recording with 7 other computer compatible microphones, the Audio Technica microphone is by far the best choice. 

The Audio Technica is super easy to set up. You just plug the USB to your computer and using the tripod stand for secure table top use.  I like that it consistently delivers high quality sound, it doesn’t block my face as close up mics do, and I don’t have to wear a clunky looking headset.

Ring Light

As I reviewed the videos I shot from different indoor locations I started noticing that my lighting didn’t always look so great.

In the scheme of things, getting high quality sound is more important than lighting. But, once you get the hang of recording videos and you’re ready to step up your lighting, this ring light is a great one to get started with.

It provides soft and flat light, halo shadow for perfect outline and evens the lightening of the subject. 

Add Professional Looking Back Drops Video Gear:

Green Screen Kit with Stand

If you’re like most business owners, you probably have limited go to locations to shoot your videos.  You might have a messy office, kitchen, family room, attic, closet or car.

A green screen offers you far more variety, creativity and credibility to give the right tone and look to each video.  You can choose the background that best matches your message. Use any image you want from beautiful beaches, city high rises, elegant conference rooms or you just want to use your brand colors as your backdrop. 

This kit that I bought comes with 2 photo lights. That way you can shoot a bunch of photos to use in your YouTube thumbnails and for your social media posts.

If you want to get soft box lights for shooting video click here: https://amzn.to/312i2pp

 

Box Lights

 

 

Another great video gear is when you’re watching other people’s videos you probably don’t appreciate good lighting, but you certainly will get distracted watching videos with poor lighting and dark shadows. 

This is a great starter soft box lighting kit to give your videos bright, professional looking lighting.

Triple Shoe Bracket

I wanted to get better lighting on my face while still using my iPhone, so I found this triple shoe bracket which mounts on my tripod and lets me attach my smartphone adapter and the key light I  recommend below.

 

KEY LIGHT

 

When I just used 2 box lights I found often times the lighting on my face with either too dark or too bright. That’s when I found using a key light helped to focus on adjusting the light just on my face. 

Add the perfect lighting setup to video recording sessions with this key light. The dimmable design lets you choose the right setting for interviews or scenes, and the glare-free diffusion offers a more balanced effect. With a flat profile and metal desk mount, this key light takes up minimal space.

Video Editing -- Adobe Premiere Pro

 

I outsource my video editing, but if you enjoy doing your own editing (or you want your teenage kids to just do it for you) choose Adobe Premiere Pro — this is the most widely used video editing software.

(HINT: if you have high school/college age kids they can take this course at community college and knock out their credits while learning how to edit your videos for you 🙂

Another one helpful video gear guide indeed!

Keep Audience Attention with 2 Camera Shots

Canon Camcorder

If you’re recording in person interviews or you want to cut in different angles for your solo videos you’ll need to record from two cameras. 

The Canon camcorder is a great choice giving you 57x advanced zoom while the super range O.I.S. (optical image stabilization) keeps the image stead at a longer focal length. 

HD videos are recorded to separately available SD cards in the MP4 format for easy playback on most devices. the MMP4 formats are highly compatible with video hosting services and social media websites without format conversion.

Reti Cam Table Top Trip Pod

 

If you’re only planning on recording videos from your desk you can pick up this simple, small tabletop tripod. 

It has the standard mount that will work for all the other accessories and adapters mentioned above.  

 

When you’re recording from a video camcorder you will likely max out your storage space on the camera, so you’ll need to transfer your videos onto a scan disk. 

So definitely, this is another one cool video gear guide for keep!

 

Nice to Have Extras Video Gear

Gimbal Stabilizer 3-Axis
Handheld iPhone Stabilizer

 

If you want to record action shots, whether you’re walking, running, biking and even skiing, you’ll want to grab the Gimbal handheld stabilizer.

This works with iPhone Xs Max Xr X 8 Plus 7 6 SE or Gimbal for Samsung S9/Note, for Sony,LG,Google Pixel 3 XL, Huawei P20,ZTE,Mi and more Android Smartphones.

You can also download their 2019 Newest ‘Hohem Gimbal’ App on your Android or iOS Phones for your gimbal connectivity with Bluetooth. The parameter setting and calibration will help you master the gimbal much better.

 

Sennheiser Smart Headset

If you prefer using ear buds over the table top computer microphone I’d recommend getting the Sennheiser Smart Headset. 

When I tried using cheap $20-$40 ear buds I found they were inconsistent. Sometimes I’d get on a video interview and the other person couldn’t hear me. It just wasn’t worth the headache and stress of tech issues cheap ear buds can create.

The Sennheiser is designed for Apple iOS devices. It delivers Sennheiser signature sound and crystal-clear call quality. A situational awareness function allows switching between Transparent Hearing and Active Noise Cancellation, to amplify or silence sound around you. Microphones capture sound like your ears do when recording video.

Fovitec - 1x Photography & Video 20"x28" Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit w/ 2500W Equivalent Total Output - [Includes Boom, Stands, Softboxes, Bag, 11x 45W Bulbs]

 

When you’re watching other people’s videos you probably don’t appreciate good lighting, but you certainly will get distracted watching videos with poor lighting and dark shadows. 

This is a great starter soft box lighting kit to give your videos bright, professional looking lighting.

I like the 3 light set because you can use the 3rd light to backlight you. I love watching videos where the person speaking looks like they have a halo around them.