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Posts Tagged ‘Workforce’

Friday Small Business Roundup: Customer Service and More

June 14th, 2013 ::

What Are Consumers Spending on This Summer—and How Can You Get Your Share? Read Karen Axelton’s post to find out.

Is a Talent Shortage Hurting Your Customer Service? Find out why small business owners still struggle to fill jobs in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

Are you scrimping on new technology? It could be hurting your business. Read Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post How Does Your Small Business’s IT Spending Measure Up? to learn whether you’re getting left behind.

Dan Zarrella’s new book has valuable lessons for small business owners. Get the scoop in Monika Jansen’s series, Top Takeaways From the Science of Marketing, Part 1, and Top Takeaways From the Science of Marketing, Part 2.

Is your customer service up to par? Find out if you’ve got The 4 Factors in Great Customer Service.

People Are Talking—About Your Customer Service, That Is. To make sure they’re saying nice things, read  Rieva Lesonsky’s advice.

Want to learn something new? Read Monika Jansen’s post 6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Graphic Design Skills.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Smarter Online Marketing and More

May 24th, 2013 ::

You’re sending out emails, but is anyone responding? If not, Monika Jansen has 9 Easy Ways to Improve Email Click-Through Rates.

What are customer personas and how can they help your marketing? Find out in 4 Easy Steps to Create Customer Personas, by Monika Jansen.

It doesn’t matter how many customers you attract to your business if they never come back a second time. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Is Your Business Driving Customers Crazy? to make sure you’re not driving customers away.

If you haven’t updated your business website since 1999, maybe it’s time to read Monika Jansen’s 8 Signs It’s Time for a New Website.

Hiring doesn’t have to mean the same old, same old. For Your Next Hire, Think Out of the Box, by Rieva Lesonsky, shows you some new ways to think about hiring.

Then expand your hiring horizons by reading Rieva Lesonsky’s How to Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates.

Do you own a restaurant? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to learn What Matters Most to Restaurant Customers.

How Are Your Employees Using Mobile Devices? See if you measure up in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

What Kind of Hire Is Right for Your Business?

May 3rd, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you need more help in your growing small business? That’s a nice problem to have. If you’re considering hiring someone to handle some of your workload, the first step is considering what kind of hire will fit best with your needs. Your options aren’t limited to full-time, permanent employees. Here are some possibilities and the pros and cons of each.

Permanent, full-time workers

Pros: Permanent employees tend to be more loyal because they typically receive benefits and perceive their jobs as having more opportunities for advancement. Time and money spent in training this type of employee in your processes and systems is typically well spent since they’ll be around for the long haul.

Cons: If you want to compete with bigger companies for permanent, full-time workers, you will need to offer benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plans and paid time off. The cost of benefits can add as much as 20 to 30 percent to a worker’s salary, making full-time employees expensive.

Part-time workers

Pros: Part-time workers can be a great solution if you don’t need or can’t afford a full-time employee. Because many part-time workers only want to work nights or weekend hours, they can enable you to fill time slots that traditional 9-to-5 employees don’t want. You typically won’t need to offer benefits, either, further saving on costs.

Cons: Because they often have busy schedules outside work (that’s why they want to work part-time), some part-time workers can be unreliable. They may lack the dedication and skills you need.

Temporary workers

Pros: Temporary workers are a good option to handle busy seasons in your company without having to staff up or down. You can get temporary workers on board quickly, and you don’t have to deal with payroll or legal issues—the temporary agency handles all that.

Cons: It still takes time to get temporary workers up to speed on your company’s systems and procedures, and they typically won’t be as committed as actual employees.

Outsourced contractors

Pros: By using outside contractors to handle projects in your business, you can gain access to very skilled workers without having to pay benefits or invest in training. As with temporary workers, you can use contractors to staff up or down as needed quickly.

Cons: “Independent” contractors means just that—you can’t control how the contractors work, and if they get a bigger project, they may put yours on the back burner. An unreliable or unresponsive contractor can leave you in the lurch.

None of these options is inherently better or worse than the other—it’s simply a matter of weighing the pros and cons for your specific situation and needs.

Image by Flickr user StockMonkeys.com (Creative Commons)



Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Plan for Disaster

April 25th, 2013 ::

With the tragedy of the Boston Marathon still fresh in everyone’s minds, it revives memories of other recent disasters that have misplaced citizens, families and businesses of all sizes. Even if your business is not located in a disaster-prone area, you never know what else could happen that would interrupt the normal operations of your company. Plan ahead by making sure your critical business information is backed up and stored offsite, diversify your suppliers in case something happens to their business and obtain business interruption insurance. Most important: Make a plan with employees to set up a chain of communication to make sure everyone is accounted for so you can let worried family members and coworkers know.

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Pets Best Insurance (Employee Benefit)

April 18th, 2013 ::

Pets Best Insurance

It might seem like a silly benefit to offer employees, but if you actually offered it you’d be surprised how many of your team would take you up on it—and be forever appreciative. According to Pets Best, pet insurance is one of the most-requested voluntary benefits in the U.S. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, since 62 percent of all U.S. households have pets—and you can be sure those pet owners are all too familiar with the high cost of veterinary procedures. Pets Best recently announced the launch of its new payroll deduction service for employees. The signup process is free and there are no minimum participation or employer contribution requirements. Plans start at less than $1 a day, with no age limits for pets.

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Sandler Training (Sales Training)

April 15th, 2013 ::

Sandler Training

You may be a natural-born salesperson (or have hired one), but everyone can use a refresher course now and then. Sandler Training has been around since 1967 and has grown into an international franchise with 200 locations worldwide, offering sales training in 27 different languages. Rather than a quick fix, Sandler approaches the sales process with reinforcement and constant coaching. From online tools to local training centers, Sandler offers many ways for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of their vast experience. Check out their blog for smart insights about sales and ask about customizable material for your sales staff.

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: TinderBox (Document Management)

April 11th, 2013 ::


Sharing and editing multiple documents online just got easier for you and your employees. With TinderBox users can collaborate on documents and marketing content without losing specific branding details. The tool contains a redlining feature that shows edits and comments; documents are housed in one central location so each department can see what exactly is being used during the sales process. Plus, you’ll get real-time analytics that show which marketing materials were successful (or not) in acquiring customers. Then TinderBox can help streamline the proposal and closing processes with e-signature features and group permissions.

Small Businesses’ Financial Outlook Falls

April 4th, 2013 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

How are small businesses across the country feeling about their financial futures? According to the latest Capital One Small Business Barometer, not too positive. The study asked small business owners about their opinion of the current economy and their financial and business projections for the next six months.


In the most recent survey, conducted at the end of 2012, small businesses’ concerns about the future had risen, with more than one-fourth (26 percent) of small businesses polled saying they believe economic conditions will decline over the next six months. That’s a 12-point increase from Q3 2012. In addition, more than one-fourth (27 percent) of small business owners said their company’s financial position was worse than a year ago, up 11 points from the same time in 2011 and up 4 points from Q3 2012.

Given these concerns, it’s not surprising that just one-fourth of small businesses say they plan to hire in the next six months. “Among the small businesses we’ve surveyed, we are still seeing significant caution about prospects for growth, as well as hesitancy about making investments,” said Jon Witter, President of Direct, Consumer and Small Business Banking at Capital One, in announcing the survey. “Looking ahead, confidence in the economic environment will be key.”

As to the overall economy, the outlook isn’t great. While 44 percent of the small businesses surveyed believe economic conditions are holding steady, that’s a drop of 7 points from the same time in 2011. Fewer than one- third (28 percent) expect economic conditions to improve in the next six months, and the same percentage expect conditions to get worse.

The national Small Business Outlook index, which ranks business prospects for the next six months on a scale of significantly worse (1) to significantly better (10), continued its downward trend throughout 2012, hitting 5.6 in the most recent survey. What factors matter most to small business owners’ outlooks? Price margins and profitability topped the list, followed by cash flow and fuel prices.

Small business owners are keeping a firm grip on their budgets, with just 13 percent planning to increase spending in the next six months—down from 20 percent who planned to increase spending at the end of 2011. In addition, the number planning to cut spending hit 25 percent—the highest it’s been in two years, and up 8 points from the Q3 2012 survey.

With limited plans to increase spending, it’s not surprising that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of entrepreneurs polled don’t plan to hire in the next six months, either.

How do these opinions relate to your own outlook, both for your business and for the economy as a whole?  

Image by Flickr user Michael David Pedersen (Creative Commons)

Big Companies Are Hiring. What Does It Mean to Your Business?

April 3rd, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Big corporations are beginning to hire again, data from a variety of sources show. What does this trend mean to your small business? Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that hiring seems to be on a steady upswing. After adding 236,000 workers in February, payrolls may add 216,000 new jobs in March, one expert cited predicts.

While job growth averaged 167,000 jobs per month in the second half of 2012, so far this year it’s reached about 200,000 per month. Another economist Bloomberg cites projects the U.S. will add 2.5 million jobs in 2013, up from 2.2 million last year.

Some other encouraging signs:

  • While the overall U.S. unemployment rate is currently 7.7, it’s steadily decreasing.
  • The number of unemployment claims is dropping, reaching 339,700 a week in the month ended March 16, for the lowest it’s been since February 2008.
  • Temporary-help-services payrolls hit 2.58 million in February, the highest they’ve been since August 2007 and an increase from 1.75 million when the recession officially ended in June 2009.
  • The housing market is finally strengthening, even in areas that were struggling long after the recession officially ended.

There are a range of reasons why companies are hiring, including:

  • Stronger demand for products and services
  • Need to replace employees who were laid off during the recession
  • Easier access to credit and business loans stimulating growth

Meanwhile, a couple factors could hinder the newfound growth:

The government budget cuts brought on by the sequester could lead to federal government layoffs and a drop in payrolls caused by loss of government jobs. Ultimately, cuts could trickle down to reduced demand for services and products from private businesses, hurting those jobs, too.

Businesses could be reluctant to hire if the Affordable Care Act turns out to raise health insurance costs prohibitively.

What does job growth mean for your business?

  • With large and midsized companies starting to ramp up, if you want to compete for qualified employees, now is the time to start thinking about hiring needs.
  • Consider hiring temporary employees if you’re leery of taking on full-time, permanent workers until the ACA’s effect on your business shakes out.
  • While companies of all sizes are having difficulty finding skilled, experienced workers, bigger companies are becoming more open to taking on less-skilled workers and providing on-the-job training. You may need to do the same.

Image by Flickr user bgottsab (Creative Commons)

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: ZOHO Projects (Project Management)

March 15th, 2013 ::

ZOHO Projects

Even for the smallest businesses, project management tools make keeping organized and on schedule a cinch. If you need to share progress or files with partners, employees or clients, an online project management program can help your team work together more efficiently. ZOHO Projects works with Google products like Gmail and Google Drive and also has a mobile app available. ZOHO Projects is free for one project and if you need less than 10MB of storage. The next level of subscription is $199 for a year with 5GB of storage and unlimited projects.