Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tips to Help You Hire and Keep the Right Employees! Pt. 1

#SmallBiz #Hiring #BackgroundChecks

Hiring the Right Employee for Your Business 
is an important task. And while we believe that a quality background investigation is key, there are many other things you need to Consider.....

Running a background check on your potential new hires should be an important part of your hiring process. It will help You eliminate unsafe or unskilled applicants from consideration and ensure you are hiring the best candidate.

But that is not enough.  There are other things you should consider to help you both hire and keep top employees in your Small Business.

The first in this 2 part series will deal with How To Hire the Quality Talent You Need.  

These 5 tips will help you find that perfect candidate. It is important that you keep in mind the job itself, the candidate’s skills and goals, and your company environment.

5 Tips to Help You Hire Wisely:

 Understand the Position You are Trying to Fill  Determine what skills are needed in this position.  Do you need stellar “people skills”? Is advanced computer knowledge necessary? It is also important to understand what KIND of person would best do this job. What attributes must they possess? If possible, talk with a current employee who was, or IS, successful in this position. Learn from them what it really takes to do the job well!

Pool Current Employees for Recommendations
Do they know someone who would be perfect for the position?  Do this before advertising your job opening. Hiring this way creates an immediate sense of "team" among your current employees, and can yield you a perfect applicant!

Conduct a Phone Interview First
A phone interview can help eliminate some candidates and create a feeling of ease for those invited to the in-house interview.  Don't treat the phone interview lightly. Be ready with good questions and keep notes of their answers and your reactions to them. This will especially help if you offer them a further interview.

      Invite Selected Candidates To a Face-to-Face Interview
What to look for in the Face-to-Face:
Notice if they are comfortable (or at least reasonably so!).  
Do they maintain eye contact?  
Do they seem genuinely interested in the position:
Do they give well thought-out answers to your questions?
Do they know anything about YOUR BUSINESS?
Knowing something about what you do and how you do it shows an interest in your company and a 
desire to be prepared!

      Discover Their Career Goals Early in the 
Hiring Process  
Find out what job they see themselves doing in 5 years.  Look for an answer that shows drive and ambition. You may also want to consider whether your position would help them achieve this goal.

Using these tips can help you find a great new employee.  You will be able to hire and train someone that “fits in” and will bring enthusiasm and drive to the position.  In the end, both your company and your new hire will benefit!  Good luck!

Please Share This and Leave a Comment! We would love to hear from You!

Check out the next installment - Part2:  Keeping Your New Hire Interested and Invested in Your Business!

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For more information on Hiring and Background Checks for your Business, please Contact Us!  
You will find articles filled with tips to help you Succeed!
And to find out more about what we can do for you, check out our Hiring, Business Mentoring, Securityand About pages!  

Friday, September 14, 2012

What I Have Learned by Starting My Own Business!

My Journey into Becoming an Entrepreneur

I have to admit something up front, 
I had no idea 
what I was getting into when I 
started my own business!  

Yes, I knew it would be a lot of work but, at the time, I was more focused on finding a way to make money while my children were still young and in school.

My husband’s job was very time consuming. He was rarely able to get home early enough to attend the various games our children participated in or to even pick them up from an after-school practice. Forget about being able to volunteer for a party or to chaperone a field trip. And I wanted to do those things. 

So, what could be better than 
working at home 
in my own small business 

I could volunteer, see all my kid’s games, and earn a paycheck! It would be perfect! 

Are any of you laughing yet? 

I, along with two partners, incorporated our business in 1996. We decided on a Background Check Services company.  We all brought various skills to the table and jumped right in.  
We filled out and filed all the necessary government forms (of which there are many), wrote our procedures and developed the forms we would use, and “cold called” to get our first customers.

How does the saying go, 
“the best laid plans.....”?  

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early summer of 1997. The next months were filled with surgery, chemo, and radiation treatments. In between, and even in my hospital bed, I was still researching our client requests and generating sales proposals.

By 2004, I was running the business myself.  

It was daunting, but I looked at it as a challenge. I would now get to do things “my way”, and by this time I figured I had learned a lot about how things were being done and in what direction I wanted them to go.

I would also have to say that with age comes reflection. I am now in my 50's and I have found myself looking back and marveling at how much I have learned…and how far I still want to go!

Here is what I learned:

I am not infallible.  
I cannot do everything. I have to be willing to ask for help (in business and my personal life), delegate, and outsource when needed. The best decision I ever made was to outsource my taxes to a qualified accountant. I don’t do my own taxes, so why would I tackle my business taxes?

The Necessity to Focus.  
I have found that once I start a task, I need to see it through to completion. Let’s face it, something else is always going to come up. Procrastination is not an option! This one was hard for me. I tended to multi-task to the point that I was unsure anything was getting my “best”. Now, while I still multi-task, I try to give the really important jobs my undivided attention.

Any Small Business, especially when trying to establish itself, needs to keep ruthless track of expenses and invoices. You need to identify what you can afford and what you cannot.  Operating costs, including everything from utilities, internet, advertising, and even down to office supplies, need to be built into your budget. 

The importance of “Building Relationships” before “Selling”.  
With my venture into Social Media, this one has become even more important and, for me, the most rewarding. I truly enjoy building relationships with current and potential customers. This also goes hand in hand with great Customer Service. The more my clients trust me, the more they trust my service.

To Value my Time and Charge Accordingly.  
Probably one of the hardest things to put a true monetary value on is your time. Much of my business is time – the time it takes to do research, the time to contact and verify resume information, and the time necessary to generate reports. I have been able to find a way to take my time into consideration while still keeping in mind the economy and my client’s needs. It is a balancing act, but worth it. Discover more about how I learned to set our prices in "Find it Difficult to Set Your Prices? You are not Alone!".

To Never Be Satisfied.  
This does not mean I am not happy with my business, it just means that I am constantly in pursuit of new and better ways to do things. In that vein, I really dived into Social Media. I have a Facebook  and Google+ business page, joined groups on both LinkedIn and Facebook, and of course I have this blog. I even started Business Mentoring services. I think this re-energizes me and keeps things fresh!

I Need to Plan Downtime 
When you own your own business, the temptation is to always be “on the job”. This does not work. While there are times you will probably have to work long past regular business hours, you need to be able to take a break. I have found being able to take time and enjoy my family, read a book (I read every night before I go to sleep), and laugh with friends, enables me to tackle my work tasks with a better attitude. Find out more tips to help you get the downtime you need in "It's Vacation Time! Are You Ready to Break Away from Your Small Business?"!

I Learned to LOVE What I Do!  
For me, to really be successful, it is necessary to be invested and interested. By keeping in mind my goals and being willing to adjust and adapt, I am constantly challenged (in a good way) and proud of what I have accomplished. I covered this topic more in "I Know Why I do What I Do!".

So, what would I say to anyone thinking of starting a Small Business?  
Go For It!  
Like most things in life, 
if you wait for the “perfect” time, 
it will never happen.  
Take the plunge…and I think you will be happy you did!

Please Pay it Forward and Share This! Leave a comment too, we would love to hear your story!

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Why You Should Do Business with Small Business!

Promoting Small Business
We are heading towards a busy retail season and are faced with many choices of where to spend our money. But when it comes time to make that purchase, please don't forget about Small Businesses!

An article on the Small Business Association (SBA) website outline some interesting facts on small businesses in America, "
10 Interesting facts about American SmallBusinesses".  *Source1

The article got us thinking about what the real tangible benefits are to doing business with Small Business

Many times we hear the phrase “shop local”. It is touted as the next best way to keep money within your community and help keep small businesses operating. While this is certainly true, I believe there are even more reasons to “shop” small businesses.
5 Reasons Doing Business with Small

 Business Makes Sense:

1.        Customer Service – This had to make number 1 on the list. Small Businesses strive to treat their customers like their “community”. They are willing to go the extra mile to deliver personal service. Most importantly, when problems or issues do occur, your concerns are not answered by some automated system or string of customer relations “specialists”. The chain of command is much shorter and issues are dealt with by a real person that has the authority to really help solve your problem.

2.      Commitment to Quality – Small Business owners want and need you as a customer. Most do not have large, wide spread, customer bases. To put it in direct terms, they cannot afford to lose you or risk their hard-earned reputation. One lost customer can really make a difference to them.

3.      Pride – Owners of Small Businesses have a fundamental sense of pride and accomplishment in their “creation”. They believe in their product and service with a fierce passion. While this pride is not exclusive to small business, it is definitely is what drives the small business owner. 

4.      Building Community – Small Business Owners are willing, and perceive it as vital, to build local connections. They are committed to creating a reciprocal network with other small businesses. A Small Business Network strengthens existing small businesses and creates a welcoming environment to new ones.

5.      Niche Market – Many Small Businesses are able to fill a void left by larger companies. Ever been to a “quirky” clothing shop or a small bistro? How about an “eclectic” furniture store or local coffee shop? These small business owners identified a need, created a solution to that need, and launched a small business to meet that need. 

So, Is doing business with Small Business really “Smart Business”?  We think so!  

Remember, each time you use a small business to buy a product or use a service, you are not only aiding in their success, you are also enjoying some real benefits yourself! 

So, when it comes time to spend your hard earned money, make sure you

Please Pay it Forward and 
Pass it On!

Authored by

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Coming Soon to my Access Profiles Facebook Page…… “Motivation Monday” and “Fun Fact Friday”! (do I hear a drum roll?)

If you are anything like me, I have found that getting started on Mondays and unwinding on Fridays are hard.   

I recently came across an article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on whether being motivated is “wired” into you at birth or learned behavior:

Turns out it is a little of both.  So what do you do?

Come Monday morning, I am always struck by just how much I really have to do for the week.  I look at my trusty “to do” list and wonder how I will be able to keep up.  There are emails to answer, Social Media sites to attend to, my blog to write – and of course my “regular” work.  Now, I am not complaining – I love to stay busy – but sometimes getting started is the battle. 

I have found that “jumping right in” is my best plan of attack.  You may have found yours (if so, I would love to hear about it!).  But, I have also found that a little extra “motivation” can work wonders.

So every Monday I am planning on posting a quote to help you, and me, get started. 

Now Fridays are a different story!  When Friday rolls around, I am usually in search of a way to decompress and unwind.  I have usually spent the past week busy trying to clear my “to do” list (and I am sometimes successful!).  I have also had to deal with the inevitable things that come up unexpectedly that need my attention.

A post I read in a realbuzz.com  blog section on Healthy Active Living outlined 10 great tips on how to relax:

I especially liked the suggestions to Listen to Music and Have a Laugh!
To that end,   I will be posting a “Fun Fact” on Fridays.  Some will be business related, and I will post others “just because” I find them interesting! 

Starting the week of September 10, 2012, you can see my “Motivation Monday” and “Fun Fact Friday” posts.  I welcome any posts you care to share.  Just put them on my site!  Thanks to you all….and have a great week!