In an article which appeared on Entrepreneur.com, Jim Joseph related an unfortunate incident where, walking into a small business and seeing something he liked, was unable to get any information, even a price, on the object from the employee in the store at the time. Having no choice but to leave, the employee in question neglected to even offer a follow up with the information at a later time, not only losing the sale, but also leaving a very poor impression of the business in question, precluding any chance of the author going back at a later time. What small business owners should take away from this unfortunate incident is the high importance of communicating their expertise to their employees, in particular their sales associates, but really extending to every member of the business, all of whom play a crucial part in ensuring it operates with efficiency. View skill sharing as an opportunity to increase the value of your business. When you neglect to pass

Come the holiday rush, the usual staff of a small business may no longer be enough hands on deck to support the surge of demand created by increased consumer spending. In order to make the most of the season (and the most profit possible) small business owners may have to take on some temporary staff members in order to keep their operations running smoothly. The biggest challenge small business owners will face hiring temporary workers is competition and a smaller pool of candidates. With major retailers also in the game looking to hire temporary workers for the holidays, small business owners are going to have to think beyond traditional hiring channels in order to come up with the volume of workers they need in time to service the holiday rush. In an article that appeared in the Long Beach Post, it was suggested that business owners should branch out their hiring ads into their more immediate networks in order to get a more direct message out

When running a business you will ideally be working with complementary personalities, and during the hiring process you can screen for qualities like attitude and fit within your organization. Even so, you still might wind up with two equally effective employees with personalities that don’t mesh very well. The ability of your business to function smoothly is contingent on employee cooperation, and when you need something to get done and must rely on your business’s version of the odd couple to take care of it, some management finesse may be in order. In general it is better to create a framework of cooperation that can help you avoid employee disputes, since taking the time to resolve an open conflict can be a serious time-sink. Clearly delegate responsibility and stay open to communications. People will often begin to squabble when there is a lack of clarity surrounding what they are working on, which is why goal setting followed up by open communications is the key to getting

Millennials are the newest generation entering the workforce, and thanks to their unique perspectives on everything from social issues to technology, they represent a potentially powerful force for managers to harness towards greater business productivity. While some ideas that millennials have, such as what is more important, business or the time they spend on themselves, have managers wary, by re-framing the relationship between millennial employees and their work, business owners can ensure that they get the most out of their employees in terms of productivity and the high energy that young staff members bring to a team. Ask them what more they could be doing. Millennials are just beginning their careers, and are generally eager to please as well as learn new skills and take on challenges. Leaving a millennial employee in the corner with a stack of papers is a surefire way to have them become disengaged, but by contrast, giving them a clear directive with instructions then making space for them to execute their

Company culture is part of your business’s intangible assets, which, while intangible in name, are a very real part of what makes your company valuable in the eyes of a potential buyer or business appraiser. Therefore a positive company culture where people get along together, feel free to contribute their thoughts and skills and are invested in their jobs is not just a nice to have, it’s something that can greatly add to the value of your business. In many ways, smaller businesses have advantages when it comes to fostering a healthy company culture. Given their small size, everyone is likely to know each other, and are likely to interact with each other in a business context as well. This allows for plenty of room for the creation of strong relationships that can contribute to efficiency in the workplace. The bureaucratic layers of policy that can be added to a corporate environment over time tend to have a sour effect on morale unless actively worked against

Chipotle is a massively successful business by anyone’s estimation, and as revealed in an article by Paul Petrone that appeared on LinkedIn, one of the key pillars to that success is their powerful hiring and onboarding process. It’s their process that allows them to take entry level employees at a fast food chain and get dedication out of them which allows them to strive and build long term career goals within the organization. The motivation is that at the end of their career path, someone who begins their career earning $9 an hour will be making $87k, creating a clear incentive to stick around. In addition, there are incentives in place for managers to promote from within, meaning that those who are eager to learn will be sought out and trained more intensely by their superiors, creating the means for them to progress more rapidly with the right training. It’s a catalyst for hands on training and involvement at every level, and it is something

According to a Chase survey on Small Business Outlook, one in ten small business owners claimed to be “extremely concerned” with attracting qualified talent to work in their businesses, with commonly cited steps to combat the deficiency being offering higher wages to targeted talent, offering non-financial compensation such as flexibility in hours or a larger stake in the company, and settling for lowered skill sets. It is this last strategy that is troubling, since smaller businesses often rely on hiring the right talent proportionally much more than larger businesses, which may have the effect of any individual employee diluted by the presence of staff with overlapping or redundant functions. Business owners can create strategies to vie for the talent that they need. Instead of accepting talent that may not be qualified, business owners should create strategies for bringing on the employees that they are really seeking. When it comes to things that small businesses can compete on with larger corporations, salary might not be one of

Intern programs allow small businesses unique opportunities to gain insight, scout for potential hires and provide a positive experience for those seeking new skills and experience in a real business setting. Finding quality interns should be taken seriously, since having an intern who is a poor fit either for the duties entailed in their position or for your company culture will not only create issues for you, but also waste time that they could be using in a program that would be more to their benefit. Don’t simply take on interns just for the purpose of having them, or to make them perform mechanical tasks they get nothing out of. While interns will often be asked to perform data entry and other tasks that more senior staff members no longer have the time to manage, they should also be invited to contribute in meaningful ways to your small business. The fact that they are able to do so is one of the things that will attract

Preparing for holiday sales is just one part of getting ready for the busy times that come with the end of the year. It’s also a great time to court new, talented employees. Along with the end of the year, many potential hires are in the process of looking for new jobs. This could be because of layoffs during the last quarter of the year, dissatisfaction with a corporate environment, or simply the knowledge that many businesses choose to hire in the first part of the new year, having renewed budgets for the first quarter. Make your hiring ad as appealing as possible by highlighting the unique elements of your business. It is often the case that high level talent leaves the corporate world in search of a more flexible environment, or one where they feel that their contributions will have a larger proportional impact on the growth of the business. Being explicit about the benefits that come with your position, including the company culture and

A business’s customer service department is its first line of defense when it comes to reputation management, customer retention and gathering customer feedback, so it is important that the reps within the department are a match both for the organizational needs of the position as well as the company culture as represented by its branding. For this reason, hiring customer service representatives can be  a much more time consuming process than one might originally expect. Still, it pays to be thorough when interviewing prospective employees, and for an important client facing position like customer service, breaking up the hiring process into a few more steps than you might otherwise take is a prudent measure. When looking at resumes, look for customer service experience as well as experience that matches your small business’s environment. Looking at a pile of resumes for customer service positions can be more difficult than, for example, an accounting position. When looking for someone to work with the books, most of the experience

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