November 17, 2018

It’s Time to Expand! Here’s How to Do It

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Your hard work and sleepless nights are starting to pay off as your business grows rapidly. The expansion stage can bring its own set of nightmares for many businesses. Here are some tips that you will want to keep in mind.

Choose the Right Location

Chances are that you need more warehouse space as your business is expanding. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of different locations before you move your business. Think about the supplies that come into your business and choose a location where you can get those supplies in a cost-effective and timely manner. Take a look at security to make sure that you are relocating to a good neighborhood. Different markets can be loyal to different companies, so be sure to consider if you can adequately compete in the market. Finally, look for local, state and federal incentives to move to different locations.

Equipment

You will need a variety of equipment in the new location. Consider which pieces you can move from your current place and which you will need to secure to make different locations work. One piece of machinery that you may not have thought about but which could be helpful with business automation is a conveyor belt. If your business specializes in products, then creating an efficient assembly system will go a long way to helping you keep up with the growth of your business. The more your business grows the more you will need to implement automation which will smooth the flow of work from production to packaging. While a conveyor belt needs to fit the size, weight, and type of product you produce, it also needs to be the right length and design to work in your new location. You may even want to consider hiring an industrial engineer to help you think through different aspects of making your business more productive.

Workforce

If you are moving to a new area where your current workforce is unlikely to follow, then it is vital that you think about the availability of a well-trained workforce. Moving near a college where there is an active program within your field often gives you an advantage as recent college graduates are often reluctant to move. See if you can partner with a community college to create classes in areas where you cannot find good employees.

Financing

If your company has investors or shareholders, then make sure to keep them in the loop about your thinking as your company expands. If they are experienced businessmen, then they may have valuable feedback on what has worked for them in the past. These people may also have friends or family who can lead you to the right location for your company’s expansion.

Congratulations on building a business that is ready for expansion. Focusing on these four factors will help you make the final decision on where expansion makes the most business sense. You may need to spend some time writing it all out in a business plan that embraces your company’s promising future.

If you’re looking to continue your expansion in other ways like branding, and website design and more, keep us in mind! We want to coach you through this growth and we want to help your business thrive, but also understand that sometimes a little extra help is needed to get you on your way!

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4 Hiring Principles Necessary to Build a Motivated Team

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The research is clear; high performing employees are the most motivated employees and out produce average employees by 4 to 1! What fundamental principles are necessary to build an effective hiring process that will staff your organization with high performers and motivated teams? The highest performing organizations have cracked this code and here is how they do it.

Determine What Capabilities Will Drive Your Company’s Success

Think about those brands that you admire. What is it that they are very good at doing? Walmart differentiates itself by their expertise in supply chain management while Nordstrom is known for their customer service. How does your company differentiate itself from the competition? What qualities do you admire in the employees you already have, and what are you going to be looking for in the new hires?

Determine What Skills are Aligned with Your Organizational Skills

Personal competencies are a person’s ability, skill, character, and knowledge that develop through life experiences. Personal competencies account for nearly 90% of successful performance on the job. A partial list of the 67 personal competencies from the Lominger organization include:

  •    Action Oriented
  •    Business Acumen
  •    Organizational Agility
  •    Customer Focus
  •    Timely Decision Making

Determine What Technical Skills are Required for a Specific Role

Technical competencies represent the skills and knowledge necessary to perform in a specific job role. The majority of hiring is done with a focus on technical competencies. It is important to note, however, that technical skills only account for 10% of successful job performance.

Establish Objectives for Interview and Screening Processes

First off, you need to have great managers.If you don’t have great managers, you will never have a high performing, highly motivated team. Period.

Most hiring managers make hiring decisions based on:

  •    Their “gut”
  •    The similarity in personalities with the candidate
  •    The degree to which they “like” the candidate

Pre-employment evaluations combined with structured interview processes are critical to the screening process as they remove the subjective human biases of the interviewers while screening all candidates using a common methodology.

High performers have the personal and technical competencies that align with the desired organizational capabilities of the company. If the screening process is built with these principles in mind, the result will be a highly successful organization. For more hiring techniques and advice, check out my blog!

 

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Bare Minimum Background Checks for Hiring on a Small Budget

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When you are running a small business with limited resources, you may consider foregoing background checks to cut employment costs. However, personal and professional references often don’t provide enough information about a person. Even simple background checks can make candidate selection decisions faster and easier. This is especially important for a small business that might lack the resources to address problems that can arise from poor hiring decisions.

Criminal Background Checks

Running a basic criminal background check on applicants before officially hiring them can keep a small business from becoming a victim of fraud. While many issues that might come up through a criminal background check may not be relevant to the individual’s ability to perform their job, crimes related to fraud or theft should be considered during a hiring decision. While large corporations can handle some losses, one wrong employment decision can drive a small business to close. For this reason, money spent on criminal background checks is an essential insurance policy for the overall security of your business.

Credit Reports

A credit report is another background check that can offer employers valuable information about applicants. However, small employers can afford to be more discriminating with which positions require credit checks. Applicants for jobs that require a high level of financial accountability or that will have access to business finances should be screened using a credit report. Be aware that the states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington have state laws prohibiting employers from using employee credit reports in hiring decisions.

Legal Considerations

For all types of background reports, employers must be careful to follow specific legal requirements. You may not run a criminal or credit check on an individual without their written consent. Most employees will ask applicants to sign a background check consent form at a later stage in the hiring process. After viewing a background check, you must send the employee a pre-adverse action disclosure, a copy of the report, and an explanation of their rights to dispute reports if you think you may not hire them based on the report. When you make the final decision to not hire them based on information in the report, you must send applicants an adverse action notice to let them know.

Vetting

Transparency in hiring, on the part of the employer and the employee, is essential to building trust. This transparency can be achieved through proper vetting processes. Vetting assures that potential employees are who they claim to be and have done what they claim to have done so that you can choose the best talent for your business with confidence. In order to establish trust with potential employees, your business can join the Clear Business Directory by completing an annual vetting process which shows your community and potential hires that your operations are reputable and trustworthy.

Small business owners should always run a criminal background check on potential applicants; doing so can save a lot of money in the long run.

 

References

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How to Handle Disagreements Between Coworkers in the Workplace

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Disagreements between employees are inevitable. If you are a business owner or manager, you will sometimes be responsible for handling these disagreements. Forbes explains thatthe ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict will serve you well as a leader – the inability to do so may well be your downfall.” So before you get involved with settling disputes, take a few moments to stop and think about the best strategies for fairly handling disagreements using the tips below as guidelines.

 

Understand What It’s Worth

Before your involve yourself in any kind of employee problem, stop to figure out what the problem is worth. Is this an issue that actually impacts the day-to-day operation of the business? If so, how far are you willing to go to solve the problem? Regardless of what’s going on, you need to be aware of what’s potentially at stake before you involve yourself at all. If the problem is entirely interpersonal and doesn’t impact anything else in the workplace, you might not need to be involved with the disagreement at all.

 

Know What’s Important

One of the most important things you can do is to distinguish between disagreements and illegal offenses. Just because there are disagreements or bad feelings between a boss and an employee or between coworkers does not mean illegal offenses have been committed. However, the Law Offices of Jeremy Pasternak specify that “harassment may involve: offensive comments, jokes or physical conduct that denigrates a protected class; requests for sexual favors to keep your job or get a promotion; unwanted leering, touching or physical contact.” Even if you don’t feel you should otherwise get involved, an illegal offense is something that your business must take seriously. After all, your lack of action could end up being read as supporting a hostile or illegal atmosphere, which could put your business at risk. It’s important that you put your personal feelings aside and figure out whether the disagreement has been caused by something that might be legally actionable.

 

Remain Impartial

It’s also important for you as the employer or manager to remain impartial in the disagreement. It doesn’t matter what history you have with either employee. What is the objective situation? In some cases, this might mean siding with an employee with whom you would not usually side. In others, it might mean not taking action even when you feel for one of the two parties. The most important thing you can do is to protect the long-term health of your business, and that means keeping your feelings out of the matter.

 

Cover Your Bases

Finally, make sure your bases are covered. If you have any company policies that dictate how disagreements are handled, make sure you follow those dictates to the letter. If you have a human resources department or legal department, make sure you run any potential issues by them first. While it might seem self-serving, it really is in everyone’s best interest to make sure that you make sure the company is covered before you begin to involve yourself in any employee disagreements. From there, you can start to make the hard decisions that will help to resolve the situation.

If there are disagreements between your employees, don’t go with the instinct to immediately interfere. Instead, stop, take stock of the situation, and figure out if action is either required of you or is best for the health of your company. If you do need to be involved, follow protocols and be as objective as possible. While you can’t make everyone happy, you can adjudicate disputes fairly. As a leader, you must be prepared to be an example and to guide your coworkers and employees to a peaceful resolution.

To learn more about creating agreements for results and collaborations, schedule time at www.meetme.so/ShannonGronich

 

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How to Keep Your Travel Expenses in Check During Your Business Trip

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The expenses of a business trip can add up very quickly. Many people use business trips as an opportunity to splurge on a few things and enjoy their travels while accomplishing work. This splurge places the stress on business owners to find sources to pay for the travels. With some creative thinking and a few solid plans, keeping business trip expenses down can be a simple task.

Rentals

With the advent of ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, it is not as necessary to have a business car rental. There are plenty of cases where a company should rent cars, but it is not as essential as it used to be. For example, if your employees fly to a city, they can travel throughout the town by using one of the ride-share services to go to their destinations.

If you do need to pay for a business car rental, arriving prepared with your car insurance can help lower the cost of a rental. Employees can also carpool with one another to reduce the number of vehicles that a business needs to rent. According to Avis, if you enroll in their Avis for Business program, you get access to exclusive service advantages and rewards from 30% off base rates to getting a free day for every 15 rental days. This is how many car rental agencies act.

Travel Rewards

Take advantage of the reward programs offered by any airlines and hotels that your business commonly uses. In exchange for your continued business, many airlines and hotels offer their customers discounts and free services. By remaining loyal to a select few companies, your business can reap rewards that will ultimately save you money.

You can receive miles from flying with specific airlines. Accruing points through particular car rental companies is also an option. It allows you to earn a return on the investment necessary to build your business and brand. Make the most of the opportunities for traveling that you have.

Virtual Meetings

During a business trip, your employees may not need to travel to as many destinations to get business done. Make a note of the clients that will not mind having a virtual meeting and have your employees conduct business with them virtually. This meeting will save a little on travel expenses, which adds up over time.

Conclusion

The key to keeping your business’s travel expenses in check is to eliminate small costs and progress towards more significant costs. However, your primary goal should be to decrease minor costs, as these can add up quickly without being detected. Make a list of all of your business’s travel expenses, then make a note of the largest ones. After you eliminate small and unnecessary costs, begin to develop a plan for decreasing your most substantial costs. Often you will find that, like low costs, your most significant costs can be eliminated too. Technology has created many new ways to conduct business without the need to travel.

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