Many small business owners take hiring into their own hands, and will personally interview prospective candidates to ensure that they are getting someone who will not only be able to excel at their jobs, but also contribute to a positive company culture. This is more difficult than it might seem on the surface, as getting to know anyone within the short amount of time allotted for an interview is difficult, and it is even more difficult to gauge whether an employee will be an asset to your business in the same amount of time. The fact of the matter is, most people in the job market today will have gone to more than one interview before coming to speak with you. This repetition, made even worse by the added pressure created by the competitive nature of getting hired, means that it can be difficult to really gauge a person based off of stock interview questions. Here are a few suggestions on crafting some questions that

Following debates surrounding the federal minimum wage, small business owners are now in the center of yet another struggle regarding a proposed change in the way they must pay their employees. As reported by smallbiztrends.com, President Obama signed an executive order last month calling for an increase in the threshold of earnings over which employees become eligible for overtime pay. In plain English, the law would raise the threshold from the current $445 per week mark to somewhere around a suggested $640 and include more white collar and managerial employees in the group who would qualify for overtime pay. The rationale behind the law is to give back to those who work hard for the economy. As corporate America has begun to make more profit, the idea that these revenues should be shared with the employees who put in extra hours to make them seems like it makes a lot of sense. However, many warn that small businesses will become unintended collateral damage. While profitable corporations

In a perfect world, nobody would need to let go of staff, but unfortunately from time to time firing an employee becomes a necessity. It’s not always because of a failure to do their jobs. Sometimes you simply can’t afford to keep someone on staff and the decision to let them go is forced. No matter what the reason is for letting an employee go, you should try to be as diplomatic as possible in these times. Professionalism should not disappear in stressful situations, rather it should become even more apparent. The true test of a diplomatic business owner is how well they are able to perform in the worst of times. You never know when you will be glad you didn’t burn a bridge, but courtesy and a positive influence on your community should come standard regardless. Keep the firing between you and the employee. In most situations, it will eventually become obvious that the employee in question is gone. You don’t need to trumpet

A website for your small business is pretty much required in this day and age. If your customers cant find you on the internet, rather than simply being a nuisance for them, it can even raise red flags regarding your legitimacy if they wonder why you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of having even a rudimentary webpage. When it comes to designing a webpage, most small business owners will hire a designer to create one for them. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. If you want your site to look good and don’t have either the time or the grasp of coding language required to put one together, it’s ultimately the only way you are going to be able to get something up. Before jumping headfirst into a web design project, however, you are going to want to have a pretty well defined idea of what you need. In order to create a list of requirements for your site, here are a

Tax season is here, and what that means for many small business owners is that they are now meeting with their CPA in order to get their filings done. For one thing, small business owners usually don’t have the time to go through their tax filings themselves, and for another, since they are (usually) not trained in tax law, they might miss some key ways to maximize their tax returns and exemptions. In the end, putting a CPA on your roster is usually worth it if you take the time to make sure the one you choose is the correct fit for your business. Ensure that your CPA works with businesses like yours. If possible, finding a tax professional who specializes in small business is the strongest move you can make. These pros will be able to get you the best return since their specialty allows them the tie and the incentive to keep up to date on changing small business law and regulations. There will

The quality of leadership is one that should be highly valued by small business owners. After all, as business owners they exercise their own leadership skills every day. The purpose of leadership skills is to allow a group of small business employees to function as a more tightly knit group. Contrary to what one may think, promoting leadership does not mean promoting some employees over others, although in a management role one would expect a high degree of leadership on the part of your employee. What leadership skills give to small business employees is the power to think  in critical ways themselves, analyze and respond to problems and communicate better as a unit. It is natural that your employees will excel in different areas. If they are all trained in leadership skills, then that will allow them to complement each other’s talents and step up in turn when they are most qualified to take charge. There are many leadership qualities you should promote in your

A startling revelation reported on by MarketWatch reveals that according to data from last year, 1 in 10 small businesses had employees working under the influence of drugs or other judgement impairing substances. The report emphasized the dangers posed by prescription drugs in particular, which, while legally available to those who need them due to medical conditions, nonetheless have a potential for abuse that can lead to addiction and serious health consequences, and even death by overdose. The dangers posed by an impaired employee will vary depending on their job, proximity to heavy machinery or weapons, and their level of intoxication, but in reality any case of inebriation on the job represents more than just a danger to the employee and their coworkers, and should be viewed as a serious lapse in discipline and professionalism. Social stigma aside, any substance that impairs an employees ability to do their job effectively should not be consumed before or during work hours. There are social and personal issues that

In the business world, conditions rarely remain the same for long. Especially in our time, the rapid advance of technology coupled with the aftermath of a recession has created a pitching field that small business owners must be able to fluidly adapt to. For the resourceful, these turbulent times can even be a blessing in disguise, creating the openings they need to break into and disrupt markets. Coincidentally, small business owners are encouraged to stay on the cutting edge, always listening to the newest advice from leaders in their industries and scrambling to adapt their wisdom to their own way of doing things. However, before our time, in fact, thousands of years ago, strategy and fluid tactics also existed and were cataloged into a famous manual, “The Art of War” by the legendary tactician Sun Tzu. To this day, small business owners can gain insight on how to remain flexible and ready to take advantage of each situation. “All men can see these tactics whereby

BYOD, or “bring your own device” refers to the business practice of allowing your employees to use their own technology in the office, usually in an attempt to conserve capital and reduce the expenses related to purchasing computers and other devices for strictly company use. In principle, a bring your own device plan sounds like it can bring a lot of upside to small businesses. They conserve funds that they would otherwise have to allocate to purchasing and maintaining their own technology, and allow their employees to use technology that they are already comfortable with and proficient in troubleshooting (at least on a basic level). That being said, like many good ideas that don’t turn out to work as well in practice, a BYOD policy has the potential to put small business owners into uncomfortable situations that they may not have even thought of as a possibility when creating their policy. Forbes has put out an article on the dangers of BYOD. One of the primary issues

As the internet becomes increasingly vital for people to do their jobs in a wide range of industries, small business owners can no longer afford to wing it when it comes to their employees use of the internet. Since it is likely that at least one of your employees will regularly use a computer to do part of their job, the time that they spend using the computer should be regulated by an internet policy in the interest of maintaining productivity and keeping your business and your employees safe. You can use a template, but be sure to edit it for specifics. Drafting the language of your internet policy from scratch isn’t always necessary. Instead, you can use a free template such as this template posted on spiceworks.com and then edit it to account for the specifics of your business. Obviously you will want to edit in relevant information such as the name of your company, but things to look out for and be sure to

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