Small business owners reported feeling more confident in November by a margin that surpassed economist predictions, with the NFIB’s index reading 98.1 after a two point gain. In a article on the increase, it was reported that this level of confidence hasn’t been reached on the index since 2007, a positive sign that indicates small business owners believe in the potential for continued economic recovery. Despite this encouraging news, the indicators that brought about this spike in confidence were all soft indicators, while hiring and spending didn’t budge, which indicates that while business owners are prepared to believe in a stronger economy, they have been conditioned by the capriciousness of temporary gains and costly regulations to look before they leap in terms of spending on expansion. Holiday sales important to small businesses looking to end the year on a high note. The success of Small Business Saturday this year is a promising sign that may have prompted an increase in feelings of confidence, as Black

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

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

The beginning of the school year has begun, and Labor day come and gone. While the last waves of Summer heat are passing by, the Fall is just around the corner and small business owners all across the country should be preparing both mentally and strategically in order to make the most of the sales potential that comes along with the season. With major shopping days coming along fueled by holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving and the annual bonanza of Black Friday, businesses owners shouldn’t allow these busy days to simply sneak up on them. Here are three jumping off points that business owners can use as fuel to start brainstorming how they can make this year the most profitable one yet. Review market data, segment deeper and evaluate your choices of advertising platforms. The ability of a small business to accurately pinpoint and reach out to its target market makes the difference between a greatly successful marketing campaign and one that loses money or attracts poor

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

The NFIB’s most recent numbers on small business optimism reported a rise in the month of July, indicating that small business owners are trying to retain a positive outlook on the economy while at the same time bracing themselves for whatever may come. The percentage rise was only 0.7%, bringing the index to 95.7 which according to the NFIB’s breakdown is still a historically low reading. Hiring and job creation have both continued to increase. Holding in a continuous rising pattern, the addition of jobs as well as plans to add them in the small business sector are moving forward slowly. While hiring is a positive indicator, small businesses will be pressed to maintain payroll for new staff and will be counting on consistent sales. Sales readings were mostly unchanged. Sales data for business owners reporting better than usual sales fell by a point, while expected sales volumes also dropped by a point. This isn’t really much to report, with the takeaway being that business owners are

  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

Onboarding is an important component of the client experience, and every small business should spend time optimizing the way in which new customers are introduced to their brand as well as appraised of customer support information. The same way that you make efforts to integrate new employees so that they can make the maximum Making a positive impression as a brand can pay dividends through the length of a relationship, making it easier to interface with clients who trust in the professionalism and experience behind your business. Create an automated onboarding email. There are a few ways that your business can set up an automatically triggering onboarding email. If you are using a lead form on your website, programming an email welcoming a new customer to your service is a decent idea. Aside from this, you can also create steps that will automatically generate an email in CRM suites, such as SalesForce. An onboarding email should include relevant information for new customers, for example: A brief introduction

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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