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

A business’s employees are one if its essential resources. Just like working capital, inventory and solid management techniques, a business that has grown beyond a single person relies on employees to continue functioning and growing. With all the pressures of managing a business and many competing financial priorities, making payroll on time can sometimes become an issue, for instance when a past due invoice means that your business has funds coming in the door, just not when you need them. Fast access to funding is a potential solution. Alternative capital, also known as merchant cash advance, is a financing option that small business owners can access rapidly even if they have bad credit or other derogatory financial history. This financing can be applied for and accessed in as little as a 48 hour period, making it a strong option for bridging gaps in cash flow. While the cost can be higher than a traditional loan, the expedited nature of the underwriting process and the potential to

Meetings can be necessary to bring your team together and onto the same page, and when used strategically they are a powerful tool. The energy in a room full of engaged employees who are communicating face to face can often form the catalyst for powerful innovations and progress. That said, when you overdo it with meetings, not only do they being to bore your employees, but through dreading them they will often actively disengage and reduce the value that they are intended to create. Instead of calling a meeting for every situation, instead ask yourself if there is an alternative action you can take that will enable more productivity. Whenever you feel the need to call a meeting, stop yourself and ask yourself a few questions in order to determine if it’s really a meeting that you need. How many team members are involved? If your whole team doesn’t need to be there to get across the reason you feel the need for a meeting, then

If you have a solid managerial foundation in your office, working from home can help you to beat some of the distractions present in your office and plan for the big picture. While being in the office can help you to galvanize your employees and stay involved in projects in real-time, it can also become a distraction that takes time away from macro-processes vital to the long term health of your business. While it is important to be available to your employees and managers and be able to successfully steer your employees in then right direction so that all goals are met, as long as you are confident that your employees recognize the areas where they are accountable, Use time in your home office to review your long term strategies. The long term goals of your business can often become clouded over by the demands of the the day to day, and unless interim goals are created and met as stepping stones to a larger goal, it’s

  In a recent press release issued by ICIMS, over 400 job seekers were surveyed in order to define what it is that they were seeking to find in an employer. One of their findings was that a company’s culture can play a major role in attracting strong, qualified job applicants, an element that goes beyond how strong a hiring ad is. In addition, once they have attracted this talent, they can keep adding to their businesses through referrals, which according to ICIMS research makes up an impressive 34% of all hires. Based on this information, a corporate culture that can attract employees with the ability to positively contribute can wind up paying dividends as a business grows, helping to sustain the positive environment as well as the ability to produce of those involved as time goes on. A “clan culture” was the most desirable corporate culture listed in the survey response. So what exactly is a clan culture? It refers to a corporate culture wherein

  People are amazingly unpredictable, with the ability to exceed expectations, or conversely to plunge well below them. It is this unpredictability that is simultaneously a great X factor for small business as well as a source of potential problems. For some business owners, managing conflict is a challenge that they relish, but for others the idea of having to be the bearer of bad news or chastise someone for a problem that they caused is a source of major anxiety. Still, letting things slide in business is a recipe for disaster. It is always better to fix an outstanding issue before it grows into a major problem. What is the issue? Determine who is responsible. Before you confront anyone over the problem at hand, you should have as solid an understanding as possible so that you can act appropriately and not randomly assign blame. For people who don’t like conflict in the first place, getting as clear a picture of the events which transpired will

Meetings are an interesting phenomenon of the business world. When used appropriately, they can be powerful tools for creating team based strategies, but more often they get a bad rap as time sinks where employees and managers will talk in circles in order to avoid losing face or seeming like they aren’t engaged. Then more useless meetings employees are dragged to, the less engaged they tend to become as the point of meeting becomes diluted by the routine postures adapted by participants. Small business owners should avoid calling in meetings constantly, instead only bringing their whole team together when it is actually necessary. Here are some strategies for avoiding calling in unnecessary group meetings while still ensuring that productivity is kept at high levels. Use a wider range of communication tools. Communications during meetings are valuable because of both the immediacy of face to face communication as well as the ability of and entire team to participate and engage. However, team members can use communication technologies

While no business owner wants a disaster to occur in their workplace, every business owner should at least allow for the possibility of a natural or man made disaster occurring and have a plan in place for how to react. An emergency response plan should be understood by your employees, and depending on the size of your staff, it may be prudent to appoint floor captains or designated employees who are charged with ensuring that their groups are aware of emergency procedures in the event of a calamity. Know the strategic points within your location. In the event of a fire, business employees should know the quickest and safest ways to exit the premises, however in the event of a hurricane, they should not go outside at all but rather find a secure location within the building. Different emergencies will necessitate different responses, so being aware of all of the strategic points within an office location is important in order to be prepared for all scenarios.

Hiring is a big and time consuming process in any type of company. In a small business setting, where each employee is counted on to contribute so much, hiring becomes even more important to get right the first time as turnover combined with the costs associated with finding and on-boarding talent can quickly drain company resources. While a large part of getting the right employees will come down to how effectively business owners are able to vet the resumes they get and how they can gauge the potential of an employee during the interview process, the hiring process starts with the ad that they put out announcing the open position. Making the ad as specific and intriguing as possible will allow business owners to attract the top level of talent suited to their job opening. Be specific about the responsibilities of the position, and include mandatory proficiency.  Including the specific details of the position that you are offering is essential in order to make sure that the

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