5 Ways You Can Energize Your Service Staff

service staff

It’s the busiest shopping time of year, so your service staff is working hard. Even if you regularly tell your team members how much you appreciate them, they won’t hear it unless you show them.

There are more than a few ways that you can help energize and support your service staff during this bustling time. But we’ve gathered up five of the best approaches that have worked for managers and business leaders time and time again.

1. Custom Patches

It sounds like something small, but we assure you that great things come in small packages. Empowering your service staff to customize their appearance with custom patches can boost morale by giving them more control.

It works even if your staff wears a uniform. Uniforms have proven benefits, and 50% of businesses employ them. But for workers who want to express their individuality, giving them the power with something subtle but creative is a great idea.

service staff

2. Weekly or Bi-Monthly Meetings

Communication is key to every thriving workplace. So much so that research has shown that faulty communication is a primary inhibitor of productivity and success in business.

If your staff is fighting or being insubordinate toward management, and if customers are complaining that they seem sad and combative, chances are they don’t feel heard. You can change that easily by instituting regular staff meetings.

Staff meetings are crucial for many reasons: clarifying shared goals, hashing out conflict, and ensuring everyone feels heard and supported. That last one is extra important. Giving your service staff the space to speak and showing them you listen will work wonders for morale and energy.

3. Post-Work Bonding

If the problem seems to be that your service staff haven’t bonded enough among themselves, encourage them to bond outside of work. That will promote lasting relationships that will strengthen the way they work together.

But here’s one important tip: don’t go with them. No one likes a boss that tries to be friends with their employees. Trust us. They’ll adore you if you back away and simply treat them well. But if you try to be their friend, a whole host of things could go wrong!

4. Flexibility for Time Off Requests

You should encourage your staff to take meaningful time off, not just reluctantly grant their requests. Of course, there are limits to generosity, and work should come as a priority. But no one on staff should feel like asking for time off to go to the doctor or pick up their kids is asking for the world.

service staff

5. Gamify Important Tasks

For more complex tasks that no one will willingly take on themselves, inject some fun and competition to get people excited. “Gamify” essential tasks by making them a competition over who can sell the most product or get the most customers to leave positive reviews.

Treat Employees Like Human Beings

You don’t have to treat them like your family or friends. Because guess what? They aren’t! Don’t force any false warmth or closeness onto your employees – just remember they are human beings and treat them with the respect and decency they deserve.

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Is OOH advertising only for big brands? Let’s discuss

The marketing expert Neil Patel explains that out-of-home (OOH) advertising “refers to the process of reaching consumers while they are, you guessed it, out of their homes.”

Patel insists that, though “this may conjure images of NYC Times Square billboards, there are many mediums that qualify as out-of-home advertising.” He cites not only billboards but also bus stops, point-of-sale displays and even blimps as places where OOH advertising can be displayed.

Nonetheless, given how often billboards are associated with well-known brands and major companies, you could have assumed that your own business is too small to even have the option of OOH media. Would this perception be borne out by the facts?

If you run a small business, should you consider using OOH advertising media?

Advertising

The simple answer is yes — and one simple reason why is that many small businesses are already engaging in OOH advertising. Home Business states: “Believe it or not, roughly seven out of ten outdoor ads promote local businesses.”

Of course, as we have already seen, billboards are far from the only option when it comes to OOH advertising. However, you could be stunned to learn that, even as the owner of a small business, you don’t necessarily need to rule out going specifically for billboard advertising.

That’s because, though the cost of billboards can admittedly vary depending on what market your business occupies, billboards remain — on the whole — surprisingly affordable to use for advertising purposes.

Generally, utilizing billboards in this way is far cheaper than TV, magazine, and newspaper advertising. In fact, Home Business enthuses: “Outdoor ads deliver the best value — in terms of cost-per-thousand impressions — of any type of advertising, including digital.”

Even if your business is a start-up, you could gently ease it into OOH advertising by taking advantage of a start-up accelerator scheme. One good example of one is the Clear Start programme run by Clear Channel, the UK-based provider of OOH advertising space.

OOH isn’t just inexpensive — it’s also great value

There can naturally be quite a marked difference between the upfront price of something and the long-term value it delivers. Fortunately, there is good reason for you to believe that, if you do invest in using OOH advertising, it will more than pay for itself.

Numerous Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) figures relayed by Home Business are testament to OOH advertising’s effectiveness.

The revelations in these figures include that, of people who have seen an outdoor ad, 41% are more likely to find out about the advertised brand, while 58% have searched the web as a direct result.

Of course, it helps that, when someone sees an OOH ad, they can’t simply choose to turn off the ad like they probably would if it was an online ad where this was an option.

Similarly, while it is possible to install plugins known as ‘ad blockers’ on web browsers and consequently avoid having to see a wide array of online ads in the first place, OOH ads can’t be blocked in this manner.

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Mentoring vs. Business Coaching: Which one is best for you?

business coaching vs mentoring

As you develop in your business, you may find yourself wondering whether it would be helpful to have a coach or mentor. Both can provide valuable guidance and support, but their focus and approach differ. Here’s a brief overview of coaching vs. mentoring to help you decide which one is right for you.

Mentors are typically more experienced than their mentees and can provide advice and guidance based on their own career journeys. Mentors can help you navigate difficult situations, make essential connections, and expand your skill set.

Coaches, on the other hand, focus on helping you reach your specific goals. They work with you to develop actionable plans and hold you accountable for reaching your targets. Coaching may be the best option for you if you’re looking for help achieving a specific goal.

Both coaches and mentors can play an important role in your career development. When choosing between the two, consider your goals and what type of support you need to reach them.

small business coach

Business Coaching vs. Mentoring

  1. Business Coaching is typically more focused on the present and future, while mentoring often looks to the past for guidance.
  2. Business Coaching is about helping people reach their goals, while mentoring is about sharing knowledge and experience.
  3. Business Coaching is often seen as more of a professional relationship, while mentoring is often more personal.

Coaching is often seen as more of a professional relationship, while mentoring is often more personal. This is because coaching typically focuses on the present and future while mentoring looks to the past for guidance. Coaches believe their clients have the answers within themselves – they need help uncovering them. Mentors, on the other hand, often share their own experiences and knowledge in order to help mentees reach their goals.

This difference can also be seen in the way coaching and mentoring relationships are viewed. Coaching is often seen as more of a professional relationship, while mentoring is often more personal.

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

There are many benefits to having a mentor. A few of these benefits are

1. You have someone to guide and advise you

A mentor can be defined as an experienced and trusted advisor. In the business world, a mentor is often more senior in their career and can offer guidance and advice to those starting out. The benefits of having a mentor are numerous, but perhaps the most important is that they can help you to avoid making costly mistakes. A mentor will have a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw upon, and they can help you to navigate the challenges of your career. They can also provide essential networking opportunities and introduce you to influential people. In short, a mentor can be an invaluable asset, and everyone should aspire to find one.

2. You have someone to help you get ahead in your career

A mentor is someone who can help guide you in your career, offering advice and support when it comes to making important decisions. Having a mentor can be incredibly beneficial, giving you access to someone who has already been successful in your field and knows the ins and outs of the industry. A mentor can help you avoid making mistakes and provide valuable networking opportunities. In addition, a mentor can help to keep you motivated and on track, ensuring that you stay focused on your goals. Ultimately, a mentor can play a pivotal role in helping you to achieve success in your career.

3. You have someone to help you learn new things

A mentor is someone who can help guide you through new and unfamiliar territory. Whether you’re just starting out in your business or you are looking to make a change, a mentor can offer advice and support. They can help introduce you to new concepts, teach you new skills, and provide support when you’re feeling challenged. A mentor can also be a sounding board for your ideas and a source of motivation when you need it. While mentors come in all shapes and sizes, finding someone with experience and wisdom you respect is the most important thing. With their help, you can learn more about your chosen field, gain valuable insights, and achieve your goals.

4. You have someone to depend on for support and encouragement

A mentor can provide support and encouragement when you need it most and can help you navigate through difficult challenges and obstacles. They can also offer helpful advice and guidance based on their experiences and knowledge. In addition, mentors can act as role models, showing you what is possible if you are willing to work hard and stay focused on your goals. If you are lucky enough to have a mentor, make sure to take advantage of all that they have to offer. It could make a big difference in your career journey.

5. You have a friend and confidante

One of the benefits of having a mentor is that you have a friend and confidante. Someone you can trust to give you honest feedback and guidance. Someone who has been there before and can help you navigate your way through challenges. If you’re feeling lost or stuck, a mentor can be the compass that points you in the right direction.

What are the benefits of having a coach?

A coach can help you achieve your goals faster and more effectively than if you were working on them alone. Coaches provide guidance, support, accountability, and expertise that can help you get the most out of your training.

Some of the benefits of having a coach include the following:

 

1. Improved performance and results

Most business owners would love to improve their business performance and results, but they don’t always know how to go about it. That’s where a business coach comes in. A business coach is someone who helps you take a closer look at your business and identify areas that need improvement. They will then work with you to develop strategies for making those improvements. As a result, you can expect to see better business performance and results.

 

2. A better understanding of your own potential and strengths

Business coaches are not only beneficial because they help you to understand your potential and strengths better but also because they can provide an objective perspective on business decisions. A business coach can help you to understand your goals and what is holding you back from achieving them. They can also help you to develop a plan of action to reach your goals. In addition, business coaches can provide accountability and support as you work to reach your goals. Having a business coach can be a powerful tool in helping you to reach your full potential as a business owner.

 

3. Greater motivation to train and stay focused

There are many benefits of having a business coach, but one of the most important is that they provide motivation and accountability. When you have someone to hold you accountable, it’s easier to stay focused and on track. A business coach will also push you to reach your full potential and help you overcome any obstacles that are holding you back. In addition, a business coach can offer valuable insights and advice based on their own experiences. If you’re serious about taking your business to the next level, then working with a business coach is a wise decision.

 

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates


4. Optimal use of time and resources

A business coach can help business owners and entrepreneurs use their time and resources more efficiently. In today’s fast-paced business world, staying ahead of the competition and making the most of every opportunity can be challenging. A business coach can provide impartial advice and guidance on how to best use your time and resources. It can be through delegation, where business owners need to delegate certain tasks so that they can focus on CEO tasks to further improve running their business.

 

5. Reduced chance of making mistakes

Having a business coach provides several benefits that can help to reduce the chance of committing business mistakes. First, a business coach can offer an objective perspective on business decisions. This can be especially helpful when business owners are facing difficult choices. Second, a business coach can provide guidance and support during times of change. This can help business owners to navigate through challenging transitions without making costly mistakes. Finally, a business coach can help business owners to develop and implement effective strategies for growth. By having a business coach, business owners can benefit from expert advice and support, which can ultimately help to reduce the chance of making costly mistakes.

 

6. Access to expert knowledge and advice

Business coaches have extensive experience in the business world and can provide valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that business owners face. As a result, business coaches can be an invaluable resource for business owners who are looking to take their businesses to the next level. They can guide you to develop a business plan, set goals and objectives, and improve your business skills.

 

Similarities of Business Coaching and Mentoring

Business coaching and mentoring can be approached in many ways, but the similarities between the two outweigh the differences. Business coaching and mentoring emphasize helping the client or mentee reach their potential by providing them with support, advice, and guidance. In business coaching, the coach takes on more of a directive role, often providing specific advice and actionable steps for the client to take. In contrast, mentoring takes a more hands-off approach, with the mentor serving as more of a sounding board for the mentee. However, business coaching and mentoring focus on helping businesses grow and succeed. As such, business coaches and mentors play an important role in ensuring that businesses are able to reach their full potential.

When does a mentor become a coach?

A mentor is someone who can offer guidance and support to someone else who is looking to improve themselves. A coach, on the other hand, is someone who offers direction and guidance in order to help an individual or group achieve a specific goal. So when does a mentor become a coach?

The answer to this question depends on the situation. In some cases, a mentor may transition into a coaching role if the person they are helping expresses an interest in becoming more actively involved in their own development. The mentor can then help them set specific goals and provide support as they work towards achieving these goals. In other cases, a mentor may act as a coach if they are asked to do so by their employer or supervisor. 

Becoming a coach is a big responsibility regardless of how or when it happens. A good coach needs to be patient, articulate, and knowledgeable about the topic they are coaching on. They should also be able to foster a positive learning environment where individuals feel comfortable asking questions and making mistakes.

Three Types of Mentoring

There are three types of mentoring: traditional one-on-one, distance mentoring, and group mentoring. Traditional one-on-one mentoring is the most common type of mentoring. It involves two people meeting in person on a regular basis to discuss their lives, careers, and goals. Distance mentoring is a newer type of mentoring that involves two people communicating via phone, email, or video chat. Group mentoring is a type of mentoring that involves three or more people meeting on a regular basis to discuss their lives, careers, and goals. 

Each type of mentoring has its own advantages and disadvantages. Traditional one-on-one mentoring is the most personal type of mentoring, but it can be time-consuming and expensive. Distance mentoring is less personal than traditional one-on-one mentoring but is more convenient and often cheaper. Group mentoring is the least personal type of mentoring, but having multiple mentors can be very helpful.

Four Types of Business Coaching

There are four types of business coaching: executive, integrated, team, and virtual coaching. Each type of coaching has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right type of coach for your needs.

Executive coaching is perfect for business leaders who want to improve their performance and take their careers to the next level. An executive coach will help you clarify your goals, overcome obstacles and develop a plan of action. However, executive coaching can be expensive and may not be suitable for all business leaders.

Integrated coaching is a great option for businesses that want to improve their overall performance. An integrated coach will work with you to improve your communication, leadership, and team-building skills. However, integrated coaching can be time-consuming and may not be suitable for all businesses.

Team coaching is designed to help teams work together more effectively. The coach works with the team to identify its strengths and weaknesses and helps them develop strategies for improved performance.

Virtual coaching is a type of business coaching that uses technology to deliver coaching services. Virtual coaches can deliver their services via video conferencing, phone calls, or email. This type of coach can be beneficial for business owners who want the flexibility to receive coaching services from anywhere in the world. However, However, virtual coaching can have a lack of personal interaction.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates


How does mentoring/coaching help your business grow?

Mentoring and coaching are two essential tools for any business owner who wants to see their company grow. By mentoring, you can offer your employees guidance and support, helping them develop their skills and knowledge. This, in turn, can lead to improved performance and greater productivity. Coaching, on the other hand, is more focused on helping individuals to achieve specific goals. This could involve providing advice and mentorship on a one-to-one basis, or it could involve leading group workshops. Either way, coaching can help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses and set realistic goals to help them progress in their careers. In short, mentoring and coaching are two key ways in which you can help your business to grow.

coaching vs mentoring

Example of Mentoring

Steve had always been a great business owner. He was a leader, and his employees looked up to him. However, he wanted to train them to become leaders themselves, and he didn’t know how to do it. So he turned to a mentor for advice.

The mentor said. “I can give you some general tips.” He went on to share some of the best leadership practices he had learned over the years. Steve was grateful for the advice and promised to put it into practice. And so he did.

The results were impressive. His employees started taking on more responsibility and becoming more engaged in their work. They even began developing their own leadership skills! Steve was happy with the progress they were making and thanked his mentor for all of his help.

Through mentoring, Steve was able to:

  1. Save time and energy 
  2. Get expert advice and learn leadership skills.
  3. Receive support and encouragement to navigate difficult challenges.
  4. Achieve goals and expand knowledge in a shorter time frame.

Example of Business Coaching

coaching vs mentoring

As Jane contemplated her situation, she knew she needed to make a change. She was working 111 hours a week and wasn’t able to spend any time with her family. It was taking its toll on her mentally and emotionally. So she decided to get a business coach to help her manage her time more effectively and systematize her business.

At first, the changes were difficult. But after following her coach’s advice diligently, Jane began to see results. She was able to cut down on the number of hours she worked each week from 111 hours down to 47.5 hours while maintaining and even growing her business. Best of all, she was now able to spend more time with her family and enjoy life again.

Through coaching, Jane was able to:

  1. Reduce the number of hours worked each week
  2. Maintain and grow business while spending more time with family 
  3. Systemize business for long-term success
  4. Decrease stress and increase productivity

Business Coaching vs. Mentoring: Which one is best for you?

When it comes to personal and professional development, coaching vs mentoring is two popular approaches. But what’s the difference between the two? And more importantly, which one is right for you?

Mentoring typically involves a more experienced individual passing down wisdom and advice to someone who is less experienced. The mentee looks up to the mentor as a role model and seeks guidance on how to navigate their chosen field. Coaching, on the other hand, is more focused on helping the client reach specific goals. The coach acts as a sounding board and provides support and accountability, but ultimately it’s up to the client to figure out the best way to reach their objectives.

So. coaching vs mentoring, which one should you choose? Mentoring may be a good option if you’re feeling lost and uncertain of your next steps. But coaching could be a better fit if you’re clear on what you want to achieve and just need some help getting there. Ultimately, the best way to decide is to experiment with both approaches and see what works best for you.

Conclusion

When it comes to coaching and mentoring, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach depends on your specific needs and goals. This article explores the differences between coaching and mentoring and helps you decide which is best for you.

Coaching and mentoring are both forms of developmental support. They can both be helpful in achieving your goals, but there are some key differences. coaching is typically more task-oriented, while mentoring is more relationship-oriented. Coaching focuses on the present and future while mentoring often looks to the past for guidance. Mentors may also provide coaching, but their primary focus is developing long-term relationships.

So, which one is right for you? Coaching may be the best option if you’re looking for help with a specific goal or task. Mentoring may be the way to go if you’re seeking guidance and wisdom from someone with more experience. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you’re hoping to achieve.


9 Ways to Simplify And Improve Your Organization’s Workflow

workflow

Simplifying and standardizing procedures in order to provide better quality output quickly enhances workflow efficiency. When you have adequate and simplified processes in place, it will protect workplace culture and customer relationships. If you get rid of tasks that aren’t required, you’ll save money and other resources, which will benefit your bottom line. As a result, your team will have more time to devote to productive growth elements.

One of the greatest risks businesses face today is inefficient processes, potentially costing 30% of the business’s annual revenue and 26% of an employee’s time. Inefficiency is fatal to the survival and expansion of any business, but how will the processes be optimized? 

Before we walk you through some of the ways you must adapt to simplify and improve your organization’s workflow, it is vital to understand what process improvement is.

Understanding process improvement

workflow

The purpose of process improvement is to assist you in gathering and analyzing feedback on your processes to facilitate constant development. It entails eliminating mistakes, decreasing waste, enhancing productivity, and streamlining efficiency in order to eliminate redundancies in procedures that contribute to delays in projects, staff demotivation, and productivity reduction. 

Process improvement begins with a focus on defining the business requirements of a process, meeting best practice standards, or simply improving quality and the user experience for customers and end-users. This is done rather than contemplating the technology that must be used to circumvent the challenges. Businesses that successfully implement process improvement see a return on their investment via process optimization, which results in greater product sales, enhanced customer experience, and time saved will be invested in strategic moves that can give the firm a competitive edge.

9 Ways to simplify and improve your organization’s workflow

Workflow in the business world is one of the most dynamic fields. It analyzes the organizational structure of work and the methods through which different departments coordinate to fulfill tasks. A well-designed workflow will free you from the tedious task of micromanaging each phase as you go about your day.

Here are some ways to help streamline your workflow:

1. Simplify processes using PDF merger

workflow

PDF merger is a robust tool to optimize workflow. When you combine PDF files online, you will create a dynamic system that supports improving your organization’s workflow goals. The online PDF merger allows you to do this in a few clicks. Combining files using an online PDF merger is easy and secure drag and drop your pages into the combiner, rearrange or delete them, and add the pages you need. 

The PDF merger also allows you to choose from a variety of templates and these templates are customizable. You will get the required single document when you merge the desired pages. The document provides valuable insights into your team’s workflow efficiency.

2. Analyze your current processes

Knowing the status of the current workflow of every department of your organization is an integral part of business improvement before you move to start implementing changes. Check thoroughly every component of your business process to understand what is already in place and wherefrom you need to start.

Take the feedback from each employee to understand what already exists and the results you drive from the current processes. Ask for feedback from each member in every department to determine what changes you need to incorporate in consideration of the improvement areas and inefficiencies. 

The current status of processes will provide you with a roadmap to decide on your future course to optimize and enhance your processes.

3. Document the processworkflow

Documenting important things is essential since it is not possible for you to remember everything. If you do this, you’ll be able to get more done in less time. Listing every task, whether big or small, is a way forward to take your project from idea to execution, as doing this you will serve as a process audit. You’ll observe that there are too many unnecessary stages in one area while you need to include some crucial ones in another, and it is at the point in the process when mistakes most often occur.

Your procedures are available in some form, whether in your ideas, unspoken habits, or as a collection of emails and papers that have never been formally specified. To state the obvious, you will only review, modify, or automate your process if you’ve clarified and streamlined it.

4. Set priorities for tasks and objectives

After gaining an awareness of the processes that are already in place and documenting them, you need to set them in order of preference and rate the tasks that need immediate attention. Create a timetable in order to keep track of and organize the essential tasks. 

It is vital to understand that whatever tasks are assigned by you, there must be regular tracking for the ongoing progress on each component of the project.

workflow

5. Create efficient workflows

Creating a visual map of all the tasks and procedures involved in a project will help you learn what needs to be done and how to get there faster. 

The first step in designing efficient workflows is to create a diagram of your jobs, detailing the many steps involved and their respective beginnings and endings using a simple flowchart.

You also need to think about the outputs of your process and include all the necessary data and instructions. Finally, while building an efficient workflow, it is essential to determine which, if any, sub-workflows are critical for the completion of the project.

It’s essential to try out different strategies to evaluate what works best for your team before making any major changes to the infrastructure. 

The following objectives must be met for the procedure to be considered successful:

  • Sharing data must be more accessible
  • The number of distractions must be the least
  • Inclusion of process for regular evaluation and improvement
  • Accelerating processes to increase productivity

6. Explore emerging technologies

Pick the right technology for your company’s web apps, ideally one that allows for some degree of adaptability with your website. Server-side programs (PHP) make web apps more manageable than their client-side counterparts (HTML).

Use video conferencing instead of a regular conference call to save time and avoid the trouble of commuting to and from the workplace for meetings. Using video conferencing programs like Skype or Google Hangouts to have in-person meetings instead of driving across town or flying across the globe will drastically cut corporate travel costs.

7. Give your workers a sense of independence

It’s essential to divide the tasks so that everyone will contribute to the development of the process rather than relying just on one team. Until the perfect version of the process is adopted, the inputs from many workers and their viewpoints on the specific job will help eliminate the faults.

A good workflow is achieved when you assign particular tasks to specific workers. Although this seems like it would add extra work for you, it will let your staff relax. After finishing their task, individuals are no longer bound by the procedures of a business.

They are more productive, resulting in higher-quality output, and they have more spare time to enjoy their lives. They won’t be bothered or contacted for no apparent reason concerning matters outside their purview. Taking responsibility for one’s actions will give one the internal drive to tackle the task and see it through to its conclusion.

8. Adopt automation

Most business executives are skeptical about automationthey fear it will lower quality which is not valid. Relying on automation and automating some of the tasks in routine will reduce duplication and free up your staff to do what is essential. 

Leveraging automation will allow them to make greater contributions to the team and the company as a whole. Try to find places in your process where human effort needs to be eliminated by adding in some automation. Investing in automation solutions is worthwhilethey minimize the time your staff spends on menial tasks.

workflow

9. Put together a competent team

Without the right team, companies find it challenging to function correctly—having the appropriate people is critical to its success and development—it will even reduce the need to recruit more workers. 

With the right team in place, you will be confident that your firm will run smoothly and that employees will step up and take charge when required. When a company has a healthy corporate culture, everyone works together toward a common objective and knows their role in its success. 

Most successful organizations believe that human resource is one of their most valuable assets for them. Hiring the right team contributes in many ways, including: 

  • Building integrity and reputation
  • Creating customer satisfaction
  • Saving time and resources
  • Inducing motivation and synergy

Wrapping up ways to improve your organization’s workflow

Every procedure your company implements must be well-planned and easy enough to function without constant oversight to maintain a steady work stream. The key to efficient workflow is running with little hassle while achieving the desired results. To find and fix inefficiencies in your organization’s processes, you must evaluate processes regularly. Using technology to your advantage will streamline the process, so keep trying in different environments and honing your technique until you succeed.

Author Bio:

Surya Ranjan Pandita is a content marketer. He is always on the lookout for new optimization strategies and loves to create actionable content. 

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Protect Your Small Business – A Guide to Stopping Payroll Fraud

Payroll-Fraud

The last thing you want as a small business owner is your money going down the drain. According to statistics, half of all businesses collapse by their fifth year. While the reason for the collapse is usually a combination of many factors, payroll fraud can bring your business down fast. Luckily, you can protect your business from this kind of fraud if you implement the right measures. This guide highlights several ways to identify payroll fraud and how to stop it before it brings your business to its knees. 

What is Payroll Fraud?

Payroll fraud is any fraudulent activity that results in the unauthorized use of company funds. Payroll fraud is not limited to small businesses.

According to statistics, payroll fraud occurs in 27% of all businesses, but small businesses are impacted the most because of their limited revenue and lack of proper safeguards.

Different Forms of Payroll Fraud

Payroll-Fraud

Check Tampering

Check tampering is arguably the most common type of payroll fraud in America. It occurs when an employee steals, forges, or alters a check payable from the employer’s account.

Ghost Employees

This type of fraud is perpetrated by employees responsible for managing the payroll. It involves entering a non-existent person into the payroll to pocket the ghost employer’s salary.

Timesheet Fraud

Most small businesses pay their employees by the hour. This means the more hours they clock in a week, the more they earn. Some employees are tempted to falsify the hours worked, especially if your company does not have foolproof measures to prevent timesheet fraud.

Pay Scale Alterations

Employees are paid different hourly rates based on their classification. Unscrupulous human resource employees can work in cahoots with some employees to make pay scale alterations so that an employee gets more than they deserve. 

Customer Payroll Fraud

Not all forms of fraud are perpetrated by employees. Your customers can also engage in payroll fraud to give the wrong impression of their financial situation.

For example, in the real estate industry, you may require prospective clients to produce proof of income before getting accommodation. Unfortunately, sometimes customers can use fake pay stubs as proof of income and get rental accommodation, which could mean allowing tenancy to someone that may not afford to pay rent.

Worker Misclassification Fraud

Worker misclassification fraud is another type of fraud not perpetuated by the employee. Instead, it is perpetrated by employers to avoid remunerating their employees as required under the law or denying them their benefits.

Often it involves classifying employees as independent contractors, denying them employees the benefits they deserve, and avoiding paying payroll taxes. Employee misclassification is a serious offense that can result in penalties that include hefty fines, higher tax rates, interests on taxes not paid, and prison time.

Safeguarding Against Payroll Fraud

Different types of fraud call for different preventive measures. So what works for one business person may not work for you. But some standard practices can help minimize the chances of payroll fraud irrespective of the type. Some of these measures include:

Taking Formal Business Management Classes

Payroll-Fraud

Most employees take advantage of employers that do not have business management knowledge. If you depend solely on the word of your employees to manage your business, you will be at a greater risk of fraud.

So, your first step to preventing payroll fraud will be taking formal business and financial accounting classes. Doing so helps ensure that you are on top of your business accounts which can help minimize the loss of revenue through fraudulent activity.

Incorporate Technology in Payroll Management

Preventing fraud in your small business is possible, but it can take too much time and effort that could be used in handling other important matters of handling a business.

Luckily you do not have to handle all the work yourself. You can leverage technology to make payroll management easier and error-free. For example, rather than use traditional timesheets to track employees’ hours, you can use apps connected to your employee’s android or IOS devices that make it impossible to clock in unless they are on location. 

Outsource Payroll Management

Even with the best payroll management software, unscrupulous employees may still find a way to cheat the system. So, it is best to outsource payroll management to ensure that your payroll management is watertight.

There are many payroll management service providers in the market. You only need a service provider who checks all your boxes to handle payroll on your behalf. Besides eliminating the chances of fraud, outsourcing payroll can save you time, so you focus on areas that need your attention, like improving customer experiences.

Have an External Auditor Audit Your Firm

If you only depend on internal auditors to audit your business accounts, they may falsify figures to steal from you. So it’s always best to have an outsider conduct an audit from time to time.

Because an external auditor has no vested interest in the outcome of their audit, you can expect to get reliable audit results from them which can help you identify where you could be losing money.

Role Segregation prevents Payroll Fraud

While it’s possible to have some bad players in your business, chances are not all your employees are corruptible, which you could use to your advantage. For example, you can have several people handle different stages rather than having one person handle all payroll matters.

One can track the employees’ timesheets, the other writes the checks, and has another counter check to see everything is okay before you can sign. This way, one unscrupulous employee may not succeed in defrauding your business.

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How To Protect Your Business From Security Threats

With billions of internet/social media users worldwide, putting up your business online can effectively widen your market reach and potentially increase your sales and profits. And when you run an online business, you have the flexibility to present your products or services online, without the constraints of physical stores. Protecting yourself from security threats is very important.

Although taking your business online does indeed offer some advantages, it also increases your risk of scams and security threats. Some companies tend to think that they’ll never be a victim of a cyberattack, considering that there are over hundreds and thousands of other businesses online. But as more businesses are pursuing their endeavors online, hackers and cybercriminals are keeping up their pace, continuously upgrading their tools to access and steal data.   

Remember that a single cyberattack is more than enough to ruin your company and its reputation. Thus, as a business owner, you should do your part to protect your company from security threats. Read on to learn how.   

  • Set Up All The Protective Software

Security-Threats

Before officially launching your business online, you and your staff must have anti-spyware ad anti-virus software on all company devices. Better yet, set up firewalls and data encryption as well. These tools will provide extra protection to your devices so that no hackers will be able to get their hands on private data.   

If you don’t have in-house IT personnel in your company, you can outsource reputable IT services and find a cyber security company in Chicago or in your local area where your business is based. Partnering with a cyber security company will ensure your business stays updated with the latest security features. 

For instance, a cyber security company will implement an endpoint protection system to block unauthorized access and malware. Endpoints are entry points of end-user devices, such as mobile phones, desktops, and laptops. Endpoint security systems aim to keep these endpoints in the cloud or on a network safe from malicious activities. 

  • Educate Your Employees  

Security threats don’t always happen online. Sometimes, your very own staff can be your biggest security risk. If some of your employees are careless in handling your business data, you’ll still be at risk of security threats, including data breaches, phishing attacks, and password attacks—even with the most reliable cybersecurity software. 

So, to enhance your business security, ensure that all your employees are well-educated about the security protocols. For example, use various strong passwords for your business accounts and social media platforms. Then limit access to authorized employees only. 

Another security practice is to use only company devices when accessing your business-related social media/online accounts. No employee should use their personal devices when doing or performing work-related tasks to prevent the risk of hackers finding their way to sensitive data through unprotected devices.  

But if your employees use their personal devices for work, emphasize which data they’re only allowed to access. The less data they can access, the safer and more secure your business data shall be. 

  • Backup Your Data 

Backing up all your data is an effective way to protect your business from security issues too. This step is crucial, especially if you haven’t set up any security protection on your devices yet. In case you encounter a cyber incident or some computer problems, you can still access your backup data from your cloud storage, external device, or portable device like a USB stick.  

If you’re backing up your data with cloud security storage, make it a habit to check and update it regularly. A cloud storage solution will use encryption to store or transfer data and provide multi-factor authentication for access. 

Meanwhile, if you back up your data using portable devices, such as the USB, make sure you don’t leave it connected to any laptop or computer when you’re not around. Most importantly, avoid connecting your USB to random computers, as viruses could infect it.  

  • Prepare A Response Plan 

Although no one would want to assume the worst, which is having a cyberattack harming their business, it’s still recommended that you prepare a response plan in advance. A response plan will ensure you and your employees know exactly what to do in case of security incidents, like data leak, loss of sensitive information, or ransomware attack. The more prepared your staff is, the easier it’ll be to contain the damage since everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.  

  • Consider Cybersecurity Insurance 

Typically, your general liability insurance won’t cover the damages and losses you’ve incurred from a cyberattack. However, the damages from a cyberattack can be just as devastating as robbery or fire accidents. Hence, consider getting cybersecurity insurance for your business’s protection. 

Dealing with a cyberattack could lead to significant financial loss or even bankruptcy. But when you have cyber liability insurance, all the costs your business may incur to recover from the cyberattack will be covered. 

  • Perform Regular Audits 

Security-Threats

One of the common cybersecurity mistakes some business owners make is that they automatically assume that drafting comprehensive cyber policies, training employees, and setting up security precautions will be enough to deter hackers. Unfortunately, cybercriminals continue to find ways to invade online systems and hack business data. 

Therefore, it’s recommended that you perform regular audits of your cybersecurity methods to check if they’re still capable of protecting your business in the event of any new type of attack. Moreover, you should continue to monitor, revise, or improve your current perimeter protection, such as your multi-factor authentication solutions, virtual private network, and intrusion detection systems.  

It’s also helpful to keep yourself in the loop with the latest types of cybersecurity threats, so you’ll know what to change or upgrade with your current cybersecurity methods. 

  • Protect Your Customers 

One of the most critical data you should protect is your customers’ information. Otherwise, if your customers’ data get lost, hacked, or compromised in any way, you could face legal consequences, and your business reputation will be permanently damaged. So, find ways to protect your customers and their data at all times, especially when they do transactions with your company.  

For example, you may invest in a secured online platform where they can do transactions with you. If you accept online payments, determine which payment gateway provider is the most secure or reliable to prevent online payment fraud. 

  • Perform Background Checks On Your Employees  

Some may think this step is unnecessary, but remember that security attacks can also happen from the inside. So, even if you think you know all your employees very well, it’s still advisable to perform background checks to determine whether they have any past criminal records or are associated with any cybercriminals. 

Conclusion on Security Threats

As security threats increase, businesses must stay proactive in continuously improving and tightening their security measures to protect themselves and their customers from malicious attacks. With these tips, along with the help of a reputable cyber security company, you’ll be able to prepare a strong cyber security plan and devise effective protocols.

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13 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should Have a Pitch Deck

pitch-deck

Every entrepreneur should consider a pitch deck as they approach the fundraising process. There are many tangible and intangible benefits to pitching your ideas, and it is not difficult to create one. If you have been putting off creating a pitch deck because you don’t know where to start, worry no more! The following article will provide some guidance on how best to structure your pitch deck and what to include in it. 

1. A pitch deck will help you organize your thoughts and ideas.

When you sit down to write a business plan, the process can seem daunting. There are so many aspects of running a business that it can be difficult to know where to start. However, when you create a pitch deck, you will have already outlined the most important aspects of your business. This will make it easier to write a business plan and to get your ideas across to potential investors. 

2. It is an effective tool for communicating with investors.

When you are raising money from investors, it is important to be able to communicate your ideas effectively. A pitch will help you do just that. Investors will be able to quickly understand what your business is all about and the potential returns they could see. 

3. It can help you get feedback from investors.

Not everyone who views your pitch will be an investor. You may also want to get feedback from people in the industry who can give you valuable insights. By sharing your pitch with others, you will get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. This can help you improve your chances of getting funded. 

4. A pitch deck is a great way to test the waters.

When you are starting a new business, it can be difficult to know whether or not people are actually interested in what you are selling. A pitch deck can help you determine this. By sending your pitch to potential customers, you will get a better idea of the level of interest there is in your product or service. 

5. It can help you raise money faster.

If you have a well-crafted pitch, it will help you raise money faster than if you were to approach investors without one. This is because potential investors will have a better understanding of what your business is and the potential returns they could see. 

6. A pitch deck can help you build credibility.

pitch-deck

When you are trying to raise money from investors, it is important to build credibility. A well-crafted pitch deck will help you do just that. By showing that you have put in the time and effort to create a good presentation, potential investors will be more likely to take you seriously. 

7. It can help you get feedback from potential customers.

As mentioned earlier, not everyone who views your pitch will be an investor. You may also want to get feedback from people in the industry who can give you valuable insights. By sharing your pitch presentation with others, you will get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. This can help you improve your chances of getting funded. 

8. A pitch deck is a great way to get your business in front of potential investors.

One of the best things about a presentation deck is that it can help you get your business in front of potential investors. By sending your pitch deck to people who may be interested in funding your business, you will have a better chance of getting them on board. 

9. It is a great way to get your business off the ground.

When you are starting a new business, it can be difficult to know where to start. A pitch deck can help you get started by providing a template for you to follow. This will make it easier to communicate your ideas and to raise money from investors. 

10. A pitch deck is a great way to make your business more attractive to investors.

When you are trying to raise money from investors, it is important to make your business as attractive as possible. A well-crafted pitch deck will help you do just that. By showing potential investors what your business is all about, you will increase the chances of getting funded. 

11. A pitch deck is a great way to practice your pitching skills.

When you are trying to raise money from investors, it is important to have well-practiced pitching skills. A pitch deck can help you hone your skills by giving you a chance to practice in front of potential investors. This will help you be more prepared when it comes time to actually make your pitch. 

12. A pitch deck can help you track your progress.

As you work on your pitch, you will likely make changes and additions along the way. This is normal! A pitch deck can help you track your progress by allowing you to see how far you have come. This can be a great motivator when you are feeling stuck. 

13. It can help you find a co-founder.

If you are having trouble finding a co-founder for your business, a pitch can be a great way to do it. By sharing your pitch presentation with potential co-founders, you will have a better chance of finding someone who is interested in working with you.

One great tip to make effective pitch decks is to use Venngage—a free infographic maker that offers a wide range of pitch deck designs for everyone. Here are some pitch deck examples from their website! 

Final Thoughts

A pitch deck is an essential tool for any business that is looking to raise money from investors. By communicating your ideas effectively, you will be able to get the funding you need to grow your business. In addition, a pitch deck can help you build credibility with potential investors and get feedback from people in the industry. If you are starting a new business, a this is a must-have. Check out some of the best pitch decks here.

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5 Ways to Transform Dissatisfied Customers Into Priceless Assets

customers

No matter how trained and honest your customer service reps are, there are instances where some customers may feel dissatisfied with your product or services. No matter the cause of the dissatisfaction, you have to take steps to remedy the situation to gain the loyalty of the clients who feel dissatisfied. The process of doing this may not be easy and, to some extent, embarrassing, but remember that one dissatisfied client can bring your company down.

Here are the five steps you can take to transform dissatisfied customers into priceless assets.

1. Build a Strong Reputation

When one of your customers is unhappy with your service, the first step is to find out the cause and extent of the dissatisfaction through a DSAT analysis. Once you get your facts right, invite the offended clients for a one-on-one discussion. If they can’t come physically, you can organize a phone conversation.

Tell them how sorry you are and the steps you have taken to remedy the situation. You can offer to replace the product or offer the service without charging them. When they agree to come for the product or service, let them get the best. This will instantly convert them into your loyal customers.

2. Listen to the Customers

customers

Dismissing a disgruntled client or failing to hear their side of the story can hurt your business. The customers will get more outraged and frustrated. Offering a listening ear to your clients makes them feel valued and respected. Sitting an angry client down and listening to them gives them a sense of satisfaction.

Remember that an unhappy client is always very honest. They’ll tell you everything they feel about your company and products. So don’t stop at listening. Let them know the steps you plan to take to prevent the recurrence of whatever they experienced.

3. Damage Control

Today, people have access to several communication channels. Once a customer is dissatisfied, they can instantly post the incident on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. And within no time, hundreds, if not thousands of people, will be sharing and discussing the issue. This can hurt your company’s reputation. When faced with such a situation, make sure you take damage control measures.
Have your customer representatives respond to the sentiments expressed on social media professionally and, if possible, explain the situation and offer apologies. You can also publish an official statement about the incident and the remedial measures taken on your company’s website. Try as much as possible to protect your company from negative comments.

4. Seize the Opportunity for Improvement

You and your employees should learn from unhappy customers. Once you listen to them, try to improve on the areas they mention. If it’s about customer service, you can invite an expert to train your team. If it’s about the product, make sure the customers’ suggestions are incorporated into your future production.

Once you make the changes, let the angry customers know what you’ve done.

5. Do Everything Possible to Please Angry Customers

Whatever happens, don’t let a customer leave your premises when they are still unhappy. Try as much as you can to make the customer feel special, even if it means giving them more than they asked for. By going above and beyond what they expected, you can win them back.

Let them know how much you value and respect them before they leave your premises.

Conclusion 

Converting an unsatisfied customer into a company asset can positively impact your business. Some customers may indeed overreact, but it’s upon you to cool things down and let the customer feel like they’ve won. When you handle an angry customer well until they agree to work with you again, you will have found a loyal partner

Client

Hiring a Tenant Representation Broker

Perhaps it’s always been your dream to start a business, and now you’re finally ready, or you wish to expand because profits have increased. Running a business is no easy feat- there are various aspects to consider and financial dealings to conduct. For instance, consider renting a commercial property to carry out your business affairs and manage your team. Finding an office, retail, or warehouse space while being unfamiliar with the area or market conditions can be expensive and time-consuming. If you’re trying to get the best deal available, you should hire a professional who will keep your best interests in mind. Keep reading as we explain why you should hire a tenant representation broker.

1. Properties Are Listed in Different Places

Navigating your way through listing sites won’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a clear picture of available properties. You might encounter the following problems:

2. Incomplete Information

Leasing firms’ websites for property search are usually up to date regarding all the details on commercial buildings. However, they’re not without their disadvantages. It takes a lot of effort and time to jump from site to site and compare all the building spaces for sale. It will distract you from investing in other essential business aspects and hinder your long-term plans. 

3. Out of Date Information

There’s no doubt that going through listing forums and websites is a great way to gauge where the real estate sector stands and estimate how parameters like area, demand, and size can affect prices. Unfortunately, if you’ve been accessing free listing sites, you should keep in mind that many brokerage firms rarely ensure that their listings are up to date. 

With a tenant rep broker by your side, you’ll get a hold of numerous resources that can help you solve the problems mentioned above and secure a list of quality real estate options. 

4. Industry Connections and Complete Listings

There’s a good chance your representation broker has a well-established network, enabling them to quickly get updated on which buildings or areas have offers available. They’re known to maintain professional links with both landlords and leasing brokers, gaining access to comprehensive listing databases.

5. Off-Market Opportunities

Because of their solid connections, these professionals may also have access to information regarding options that have not yet been placed on the market. These include companies looking to sublease some or all of their property. 

Your tenant rep will go the extra mile to find you listings best suited to your preferences and needs, doing all the grunt work and negotiating with sellers to get you the best possible price.  

6. More Landlords Will Be Cooperative

tenant-representation-broker

The commercial real estate market has been experiencing major shifts in demand and supply, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no longer a walk in the park to find an office space alone; landlords rarely return calls. You can call numerous numbers you’ve written down from ‘For Lease’ signs, but it’s rare to hear back. Landlords are typically busy individuals who don’t bother answering every call they receive. 

It’s also possible that a landlord has hired their own landlord broker who prefers working with other brokers rather than clients themselves. A tenant rep has greater authority with landlords because their company and its reputation back them. Additionally, the leasing broker may already be working on projects with your tenant rep or has in the past, meaning there are greater chances of them accepting your broker’s call and considering your interest in their place. 

7. They’re Expert Negotiators 

Landlords can be vicious when negotiating the terms of your offer, quoting whatever terms or rates they deem fit. Meanwhile, you’re most likely clueless about the standard market conditions unless you’ve conducted thorough research beforehand. There are many things to negotiate, such as compliance fees, exclusivity use, renewal options, and much more. Working out a fair deal can be challenging if you don’t have prior real estate experience. 

You probably aren’t your tenant rep’s first client and certainly won’t be last. They’ve dedicated their careers to understanding commercial real estate and have carried out numerous negotiations in the past. A tenant rep will add value to your experience by helping your business attain the most appropriate lease terms without worrying about whether the proceedings are being conducted properly. 

This is why hiring a tenant rep broker is recommended because they can save you considerable hassle and money. They’re well-versed with which economic and non-economic factors are running the market and can walk you through the entire negotiation process. The best part is that you don’t need to pay them an out-of-pocket fee, meaning you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain from letting them negotiate your deal terms. 

 

8. More Time for Your Business 

With a tenant representation broker taking care of the real estate dealings, you can spend more time on your business goals. Whether it’s customer relations or managing supply chains, you should focus on handling these affairs as an entrepreneur. Even large corporations collaborate with tenant rep brokers because of their real estate market expertise. Finding a suitable location for yourself can take hours every day, and the search can hold you back for several months. Let a tenant rep take this burden off your shoulders. 

Consider a tenant rep to be your personal assistant, working to secure the ideal office space for your company without interfering with business operations. From financial analysis and final lease summary to needs assessments, they will look after everything and allow you to be as hands-on or off as convenient. Time is money, especially in the competitive corporate sector. 

Endnote on a Tenant Representation Broker

Real estate is a complex industry, even more so when dealing with the commercial side. You’ll need to know many legal details, market catches, and industry-specific terms. Unless you’ve been conducting matters in this industry for several years, you’ll find yourself at one crossroad or the other. If your business is a priority, it’s in your best interest to hire a tenant representation broker to help you settle on a space with the best lease terms and meets your requirements. Don’t hesitate to contact tenant representation services and let them take the reins on your commercial property search. There are many options to choose from, so make sure to do your research.

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Finding and Training Great Employees for Your Company

finding and training employees

The people you hire to work for your business can be your biggest assets and your biggest headaches; finding and training great employees can be a challenge. They can support and help you to achieve the vision you have for your company – but they can also prevent you from reaching that vision.

Finding and Training Great Employees

Too many businesses overlook the role of employee recruitment and retention when planning for the success of their organization. Staffing is an important exercise that needs to be purpose-driven and strategic, just like marketing.

Employees Think: What’s in it for Me?

It is vital to understand in today’s market that the relationship between employee and employer is a two-way street. Now, more than ever, employees have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude that extends beyond salary and benefits expectations into incentive and rewards programs. The days of simple compensation structures are over.

Now, this may sound like a big headache, but it’s actually a good thing! With some simple systems and open dialogue, you will be able to effectively create – and keep – your dream team.

The Power of Your Dream Team

How much of your own personal time has human resources – staff hiring, firing, issues management, etc. – taken this year? No doubt staff recruitment and retention is one of the biggest challenges facing any business owner today.

The truth is, if you spent half as much time on human resources as you do on marketing, I guarantee your sales would increase dramatically.

Employees Treat Customers Exactly the Way You Treat Them

Customers know the difference between happy employees and disgruntled ones, and it makes a difference when it comes to purchasing decisions. I’ve heard it said that your employees will treat your customers exactly the same way that you treat them. Would you rather have your car serviced by a grumpy mechanic who doesn’t feel his good work is rewarded or a pleasant one who just stepped out of a weekly team meeting?

A successful business owner has confidence in the people who work for him because he believes they are the best people for the job. Employees who know their employer believes in their skills and abilities will go over and above to get the job done, to make the sale.

Successful Business Owner Invest Time and Money in Employees

Successful business owners invest time and money in finding, keeping and training great employees. These are the people who share and support the collective vision of the company.

I’m not talking about a complicated formula or magic concoction. I’m talking about some careful thought and a proactive strategy that will make your business shine from the inside out.

finding and training great employees

Finding Your Dream Employees

Building a dream team starts by finding and hiring the right people for the job. Sounds simple enough. You post an ad, find someone who has the necessary qualifications and hire them on.

Not so fast. Recruitment is a complex process that can dramatically impact your business operations. Just like finding and securing the right customers, finding and hiring the right candidates requires pro-active planning and careful evaluation.

Create an Internal Recruitment System

If you currently work with a recruiting agency to build your team, now may be a good time to stop and evaluate the effectiveness of their service. While a recruiting agency can save you the time and hassle of working through the hiring process, it can also cost more money in the long run.

I always recommend creating an internal recruitment system, not because recruiting agencies do a bad job, but because no one knows your business like you do.

Create an Attractive Business Culture

If you want to attract and retain the highest quality clients, you must have a culture that is attractive and a future that is compelling. Developing an effective strategic plan and including your employees in the process is a good place to start. Determine where you are going, what your mission is and how your organization will treat others. Once you have established your vision, mission, and values, then you must deploy them throughout your organization to ensure that you “practice what you preach.”

An internal recruitment system ensures that the true essence of your business culture is communicated – from advertisement to interview. You also have the opportunity to communicate expectations from the outset, instead of relying on the recruiter to relay this information. The middleman’s thoughts and impressions are eliminated, leaving you to make decisions based on your impression of the candidate and no one else’s.

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Step One: Advertise the Opportunity

The first step in recruiting candidates is obviously letting potential candidates know about the opportunity with your company.

But before you pick up the phone to place a classified ad, remember that advertising for potential employees requires just as much consideration and planning as general advertising for your business.

Before You Place an ad ask yourself:

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  • Who is your ideal candidate?
  • What are their skills and qualifications?
  • What is their personality or demeanor?
  • What are they passionate about?
  • What are they looking for in a job?

Once you have a mental picture of your candidate, then you can begin to write an ad that will not only reach them but also inspire them to act (and submit an application).

When writing this ad, be as specific as possible and focus on the benefits of the job. Remember that potential candidates screen job postings with an eye for “what’s in it for me.” Tell them exactly that.

Here are a few sample job postings:

Are you the Marketing Assistant we need?

About You

You’re fun, friendly and have a keen eye for detail. You’re always two steps ahead of your colleagues, and eager to take on new and exciting challenges.

You’ll be the glue that keeps the marketing team operating in a seamless fashion, responsible for website updates, copywriting, event coordination and client relations. You’ll be punctual, responsible, and well put together.

You’ll ideally have an undergraduate degree in marketing or English, and some previous office experience, but a fast learner with a great attitude will also get our attention.

About Us

We are a collaborative team of young professionals. We offer a competitive salary, great benefits and performance incentives.

Think you fit the bill? Email your resume and cover letter to John Jones at [email protected] business.com by Friday at 5 pm.

Are Computers Your Life?

About You

You are smart, outgoing, and a wiz when it comes to computer programming. You’re on your friend’s speed dial for computer emergencies, large and small. Helping people understand the complex digital world is your passion.

You’ll be our Lead Computer Technician, managing our computer repair counter and five Junior Technicians. You’ll have great people skills, mounds of patience, and enjoy working as part of a dynamic team.

About Us

We operate Anytown’s leading computer repair store and are known across the region for our customer service. We work hard, play hard, and offer a competitive benefits package to our employees.

Tell us why this job is for you. Email your resume and cover letter to [email protected] by Thursday, September 23.

Both of these job postings speak directly to a very targeted audience. They’re friendly, colloquial, and communicate the job requirements in an informal way.

Every job posting should:

finding and training employees

  • Be written in the way that you talk
  • Be specific
  • Describe benefits
  • Include skills, qualifications, duties and job title
  • Be written in the present tense
  • Have a great headline
  • Call the reader to action
  • Be simple – in word choice and sentence structure
  • Be more exciting than the competition

Now that you have a great ad to post, you need to decide where you are going to publish it. This depends on the level of the job (junior to management) and on the specific type of candidate you are looking to recruit.

Here are the five major places to advertise your opportunity:

Government Employment Center

These are great places to find blue-collar or junior level employees. Candidates register with the center, which keeps their resumes on file. Be cautious with this route – it can produce a wide variety of candidates who are not qualified.

Indeed, Ziprecruiter, Etc

This is a great place to post junior to mid-level employment opportunities. You’re looking for basic qualifications from local applicants, perhaps even for part-time positions, with minimal cost.

Linkedin

Senior employment opportunities that require specific high-level qualifications are best advertised with a broad scope. This incurs a greater cost but will return a greater variety of candidates.

Online

This is a cheap way to tap into a massive database of job seekers. Post your ad online on sites like www.monster.com or www.workopolis.com and watch the resumes come flooding in. A large number of highly qualified job seekers who do not wish to register with a recruitment agency will use these services.

Referrals

The most ideal way to find candidates is through your existing network – including associates, colleagues, employees, friends and family. These candidates come to you already vetted by a trusted source. You may also wish to consider giving your staff an incentive to refer their qualified friends and associates to you.

Other Niche Areas

You should also brainstorm a list of any other niche areas that your target market may look for a job. Consider vocational schools, colleges, industry publications, industry associations, small publications, etc.

Once you’ve posted your ad, your next step is to manage the inquiries that come flooding in. These are just a few steps in the process of finding and training great employees.

Screen and Interview Candidates

Screen and interview candidates is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the recruitment process, so you will need to work out a system to manage the response to your job posting.

Screen and interview candidates is a system that will also ensure you ask all potential candidates the same questions, and provide them with the same information about the role as well as about your company.

1. Decide whether all inquiries will be handled by one person or several.

To screen and interview employees whether it will be handled by one person or several, depends on your staff resources and capacity. A system will allow multiple employees to assist in the process.

For example, if your candidates have been instructed to submit their resume and cover letter to you through email, designate a single email address and inbox to receiving and responding. This way you or another staff member will not be bombarded by emails and can designate an hour of time each day to managing the inquiries. If your candidates are calling in, designate a unique phone number or answering machine for this purpose.

2. Decide how inquiries will be responded to.

This can be as simple as an email acknowledging receipt of the resume, or specific instructions on an answering machine. Ensure everyone receives the same information, and that you receive the same level of information from all candidates (resume, cover letter, portfolio, references, and other relevant information.).

If you have asked candidates to call you instead of submitting their resumes through email, create a standard checklist of questions to ask them, as well as of information to provide them with. You may wish to create a script. Some questions might include:

  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • Why do you think you would be well suited to this position?
  • Tell me a bit about yourself.
  • What makes you interested in our company?

Use this opportunity to get a feel for the applicant’s personality, and trust your initial impression. Create a form on which to record this information, and file it with their resume when you receive it.

3. Devise a process for reviewing resumes or applications.

The easiest and most time-efficient way to do this is in a single session, after the stated deadline, and not as you receive them. You may wish to enlist the assistance of a senior colleague to provide a second opinion.

Review the resumes and application materials, and divide the applications into three piles: interview, no interview, and maybe. From here you can begin to call candidates and set up the first interview.

It is also a good idea to be in touch with unsuccessful candidates, and politely let them know that you will not be asking them in for an interview. If you anticipate your response rate will be overwhelming, you may wish to consider stating in your advertisement that only successful applicants will be called.

Step Three: First Interview

The first interview is also a screening interview; your objective is to develop a first impression of the candidate as a person and to determine if they are qualified for the position. If you feel you have found an ideal candidate, this is also your opportunity to convince them to choose your company over any others they may be considering. Good people don’t stay in the market long.

Interview Candidate Structure

You will need to decide on a structure, or system, for the interview process as well. Will you be conducting the first interviews, or will another manager? Will the interviews be conducted one-on-one, or will several employees participate? If you are replacing an employee, you may want to consider inviting that employee into the interview to provide insight into the role.

finding and training employees

Interview Candidate Materials

Just as you are asking the potential candidate to come prepared to the interview, you must be as well.

  • Have an outline prepared for what you would like to cover? Topics include company history, job description, interview questions, compensation structure, availability, and room for advancement.
  • Bring two copies of a typed job description. Include all tasks the candidate will be responsible for completing or assisting with.
  • A company profile or overview document (other marketing collateral will also work here).

Interview Candidate Attitude

Begin to build a relationship with each applicant. The purpose of the interview is not just to discuss the job description, or for the applicant to get all the interview questions “right.” It is to determine if this person has the right attitude for the job, and whether or not they will fit in with the company’s culture and its employees.

Keep the interview professional, but make sure the applicant is comfortable. Interviews test our ability to perform under pressure, but you will want to gain an understanding of the applicant’s true nature. Remember that even if the applicant is not well suited to the role they have applied for, they may be suited to a future opportunity with the company.

Interview Candidate Questions

The questions you decide to ask the candidate are highly specific to your company and the role you are hiring for. Take some time to brainstorm what you really need to know about each person, and what questions you can ask to get that information.

Keep in mind that part of the objective of the first interview is to get a sense of the candidate’s personality. You will want to ask questions about their responses and begin to establish a real relationship with them.

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Here are some starter interview questions to get you going:

  • Tell me a little bit about your background.
  • What has been your first impression of our company/product/services?
  • Tell me about a time when…[insert a likely scenario they will encounter in the position]. How did it make you feel? How did you handle the situation?
  • What advantages do you feel you have over the other candidates?
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Tell me about an achievement you’re proud of.
  • Why did you leave your last position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • …and so on.

Make sure you take good notes or ask a junior member of your team to take notes for you. Also, record your impression of the candidate after each interview. You will want to be able to reflect on each interview before inviting the candidate to the next phase of the selection process.

When the first interviews have been completed, review your notes and discuss your first impressions with other employees involved in the process. Then, decide who you would like to invite back for a second interview, and let the unsuccessful candidates know they are not right for this particular role.

Step Four: Second Interview + Reference Check

The second interview is used to confirm your impressions of the applicants you believe are well suited to the job. It can also be used to get more information, or to more closely compare two solid candidates.

Make sure you only offer a second interview to those you are considering hiring. If you are on the fence about a candidate, chances are your instincts are right, and bringing them in for a second interview is a waste of their time and yours.

Callbacks

When you call a candidate to invite them to come in for a second interview, remain professional and don’t make any allusions to a job offer. If your impression of the candidate changes during the second interview, you do not want to have to go back on something you said. Let them know what you thought of them based on the first interview, and ask if they would be interested in meeting with you a second time.

Give yourself and the candidate at day or two between interviews to reflect on the first interview and prepare for the second.

Interviewers Can Change

You may wish to change the person or team of people who conducted the first interview. Usually, the second interview is conducted with more senior team members at the table.

Interview Candidates Questions

While the second interview is often less structured than the first – a relationship has already begun to be established – you should still prepare a list of questions for the candidate.

These questions should focus on the specific tasks related to the job, and on providing more information about the culture, systems, and values of the company. You can also use the second interview to ask questions you may not have had the chance to in the first interview.

Office Tour + Introductions

Once you have determined that you have found the candidate for the job, take them on a tour of your office or business, and introduce them to your staff members. This is a good way of gaining an initial understanding of how the candidate might interact with your existing staff members.

Calling References

This is the final – arguably most important – step to make before offering the job to the candidate. You should ask your candidate for at least three employment references, and perhaps one character reference.

Call each reference contact, and explain who you are and why you are calling. Then ask if they have a few moments to answer some questions about the candidate. You will want to find out information about punctuality, professionalism, skills, and their reason for leaving. Cross-reference this information with your interview notes to ensure consistency between the candidate and their reference.

Step Five: Hire Your Employee

Provided their references are solid, now is the time to make them an offer of employment.

Call the candidate personally to offer them the job. Make sure you congratulate them and express your enthusiasm in welcoming them into your team. You will also need to follow up your conversation with a letter or email that includes the job offer document or contract.

In the case a candidate declines the job offer, you may wish to do a reference check on your second pick candidate and make them an offer.

Training Your Dream Employees

Once you have landed your dream employees through a rigorous recruitment process, it is essential that you continue to invest in your decision by putting them through a thorough training process. Training great employees makes them a great asset and grow professionally, and this makes them stay in your company.

finding and training employees

Training is Important for Employee Retention

Training an employee is actually an element of recruitment. A new employee’s orientation and training set the tone for their entire employment; this includes their impression of your business, its systems, and respect for its leaders. This has an impact on your ability to retain good people and avoid unnecessary or redundant recruitment processes.

Too often, businesses rely on junior employees to train new ones without any guidelines or ‘curriculum.’ New employees are thrown into the deep end without clear expectations or an understanding of ‘how things are done around here.’

Your Leaders’ Involvement in the Training Process

These elements affect how an employee perceives their own required level of effort or performance. A business that doesn’t give much thought to planning, expectations, and preparation will end up showing a new employee that the same lack of attention is expected from them.

Here are some things to ensure you implement when you create your comprehensive training system:

Prior Learning / Existing Knowledge

Acknowledge your new employee’s prior learning, and don’t overestimate or underestimate their existing knowledge.

Choice of Trainer

Investing time and effort in training employees, make sure the person or people who will be training the new employee are sufficiently qualified and experienced. If an administrator is leading a salesperson’s training and orientation, consider asking another salesperson or more senior team member to assist on specific days or sessions.

Training Materials

Have all the required training materials handy. This includes company manuals, industry guidebooks, common reference materials, work samples and anything else that will aid in the training efforts.

Training Tools

Also, ensure you have the tools available to train your new recruit. Will the training be held at their workstation or another workstation? Do you have all the software you need? All the equipment required? Doing so will ensure the training runs smoothly and the time provided will be used effectively.

Time for Training

Provide more than ample time for training – including time for questions and elaboration. Rushing training benefits no one, including your profits.

Testing to Ensure Mastery

Consider including some ‘tests’ or checks to ensure the new recruit understands each component of the training. Ask the trainer and the trainee to sign-off on each section.

Employees’ Part in the Big Picture

Each team member’s role is part of a larger picture: the company as a whole. Ensure that the trainee understands how their role contributes to the big picture on each level. If they are a junior member of a department, they should understand how their job contributes to the department, as well as how the department contributes to the entire company.

Encourage Employee Feedback

The trainee should be able to ask questions and review information at any time – including after the training process. Create an environment that encourages open dialogue and encourages employees to ask questions when they are unsure of a task.

The other common mistake that many companies make is ending training after the first few weeks of a new recruit’s employment.

Ongoing Employee Training

Training our employees is an ongoing process for every single member of your team, and there should be a system or structure in place to ensure that staff training and development happens on a regular basis. This can include cross-training, employee development, and new systems orientation.

Benefits of Regular Training

Regular training not only benefits your staff and improves their performance, but it allows you – the business owner – to:

  • Implement new policies + procedures
  • Invest in your staff, thereby improving confidence and morale
  • Evaluate staff performance at an individual and team level
  • Reward staff based on performance improvements
  • Provide a regular arena for feedback and discussion, including positive and negative experiences and issues

One-on-One Training + Evaluation

An effective system of ongoing training for employees is by weekly, monthly, or quarterly staff reviews. When conducted one-on-one, this provides a forum for regular communication with employees to review performance and identify areas for improvement. A one-on-one environment will encourage more open and honest dialogue than if the session were conducted as part of a team.

As a business owner, these sessions are valuable sources of information and insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and motivations of your team.

Senior Staff Mentoring Junior Staff

If you have a large staff, consider pairing junior staff with senior staff and establishing mentorship relationships. This is a powerful way to build the synergy of your team and frees you up from weekly meetings with each staff member. Instead, each senior staff member can report back to you on the results of their regular training sessions, and you only need to conduct these sessions with your senior staff.

Team Training Events

Team training events are great team builders and provide insight into how your team interacts as a whole. These can take the form of “lunch and learns”, where senior staff or guest speakers conduct an hour-long session with staff members or more social team-building exercises with a less formal program.

Team training exercises will shed light on the leaders and followers in an organization and bring together employees who may work outside of the office. These can be especially helpful if you and your senior staff do not see the team ‘in action’ on a daily basis.

Keeping Your Dream Employees

Now that you have spent hours of time and potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars recruiting and training your staff, your human resource job is done, right?

I suppose you’ve done what you’ve set out to do: get the right people working for you. But what happens when those people get bored? Or stolen by another company? Or feel they’ve “done all they can do” at your company?

The final step in the overall recruitment process is employee retention. This includes keeping your employees happy, supporting their development, and giving them an incentive to continuously improve their performance.

Your Work Environment

The environment you create for your staff has a huge impact on your employee retention rates. This includes the interior design and layout of your office or business, the lighting, plants, and kitchen amenities available. It also includes the culture of the company – what is the general working atmosphere? Are most people loud? Quiet? Is there a buzz or hum to the office space?

The bottom line is that employees should enjoy and feel comfortable coming to their workplace – they do spend most of their waking hours there.

Spending a little more on comfortable office furniture and amenities like coffee, tea, snacks, and social spaces will go a long way toward keeping your employees happy at work.

Recognition, Rewards, and Incentive Programs

finding and training employees

Did you know that many employees place more value on positive public recognition for a job well done than they do on salary?

Recognition and rewards are powerful tools when it comes to keeping employees happy. Positive feedback from those in more senior positions has a higher perceived value than a 3-5% salary increase – and it costs the business little to nothing to implement.

Retaining Your Employees

Incentive programs are a formalized way of rewarding employees for their achievements and successes. Clear targets and milestones are identified, and when an individual or team reach those milestones they are rewarded with bonuses or prizes.

Recognition, rewards, and incentive programs are an important part of employee retention, as well as team building. They will be discussed in further detail in the Team Building chapter.

Professional Development Programs

Another common reason employees choose to leave their positions is professional development. Many feel they need to move to another company in order to develop their careers or gain more responsibility. They may not necessarily dislike their current role, but become bored or stagnated and believe they have ‘done all they can do’ at that particular company.

Keeping good people means providing opportunities for growth and advancement within your company. This benefits the company because you can hire from within, and save money and time on recruiting and training new staff. It also benefits your employee and increases their loyalty toward your business.

Staff Retention

Professional development programs are an important part of staff retention – but they are also an important part of business growth and development. A company with staff who are always increasing their knowledge and improving their skills will stay on the ‘cutting edge’ of their industry and have an advantage over the competition.

Ongoing training and development should be a primary focus for any growing business. Here’s why:

  • Increases productivity
  • Increases staff retention
  • Increases workplace safety and morale
  • Increases customer service
  • Increases sales

Professional development programs typically focus on the big picture ambitions of the company and its staff members. The longer-term goals and career ambitions are recorded and taken into consideration.

Professional development can be easily worked into your ongoing one-on-one training systems. Keep a folder or binder for each staff member that outlines current role responsibilities, short and long term goals, and areas for improvement, and review it during your weekly or monthly meetings. Identify specific areas for growth, and develop plans of action for that growth.

For example, if your marketing assistant wants to grow into a marketing coordinator or manager role, and needs to improve her people management skills, consider putting her through a management course.

Simple System Tools for Employee Retention

Maintaining this program doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. With some simple system tools and a commitment to regularly scheduled meetings, you can have a clear and effective program for your staff.

  • Evolving job description documents to monitor roles, responsibilities, and tasks
  • Regular performance evaluations
  • Goal planning worksheets
  • Continuing education programs at local business schools
  • Regular meetings between staff and supervisors
  • Rewards and incentives
  • Difficult to re-organize
  • Best for smaller lists

Conclusion

Finding and training employees is one of the most challenging issues that small business owners are facing. Implement these practices and see your business take on a life of its own!

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