Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day: We Remember!

In honor of this Memorial Day, we once again Remember......
There can never be enough said about the ultimate sacrifice the men and women who died in service to our country, and their families, have made for us. Each of them gave their lives to fight for things we all believe in:
  • Belief in our Country as a Place of Opportunity
  • Belief in the Importance of Protecting our Rights and Freedoms 
  • Belief in the Right to Pursue our Dreams and Goals
It is these beliefs that are the bedrock of our nation. And by protecting them we can overcome any obstacles that come our way.

It is in times like these that these words from former President Bill Clinton have a deeper meaning than ever before, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” It is in this that we need to have faith.

At API, we believe that it is this outlook that drives us and many of our nation's small business owners. 
We operate with the hope and expectation that things will get better, no matter how difficult it may seem. But, most importantly, we are willing to work hard and do what is necessary to succeed.

Small Business Honors Those Who Serve! "Tweet This"

Small Business owners are extremely resilient. We will bounce back again and again in order to keep our dream alive. We believe it is an example we set for our children and a goal worth reaching for...and we are right.

It is in the spirit of Memorial Day that we, as Small Business owners, honor and respect what others have achieved before us and strive to continue the tradition.

So for this Memorial Day, and for many to come, we give our heartfelt thanks to all who have died for our country. They chose a hard path in order to allow us to live in a country of freedom, opportunity, and, most importantly, hope.....and it is in their sacrifice that we believe!
We conclude with these words from General George S. Patton:
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

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For more tips and informative articles to help you succeed in your Business, we invite you to visit our website here
Also, be sure to visit our "About" and "Services" pages to find out more about what API can do to help Your Business. Thanks!

Monday, May 20, 2013

You can Use Background Checks to Protect Your Family and Your Home ~ Find out How Here!

It is that time of year are off from school for the summer, vacations are planned, and home improvement projects are in the works. You may be considering sending your children to summer camps or having in-home care to help. Contractors may also be both in your house and on your property.
Do you know what you can do to keep your family safe?

Do Background Checks!
Background Checks are not just for Companies.  There are definite, "real life", ways you can use them to help protect your home and family. Take a look......
At a recent lunch, a fellow small business owner said she was intrigued by our business and wanted to know more about it. As we talked, I happened to mention how I was trying to expand my clients to include individuals, not just companies.

Her reaction? “I didn’t know people could hire background check companies!” She had always thought that only other companies would use our type of services.

When I started to mention the various ways people would benefit from using background checks, I could see that “light bulb” go off!

This got us thinking. Most likely, many others believed the same thing ~ and nothing could be farther from the truth. 

The reality is that Background Checks are a useful tool for anyone.

Background Checks are Not Just for Companies!  "Tweet This"

For one, Background Checks are a great way to protect your family. They can be used to determine whether a nanny or other in-home caregiver has a criminal record or other things in their past that could cause problems.

Most families that hire caregivers through an agency assume that background checks are already part of the package. Don't just take them at their word. You need to verify this and, even if the agency conducts screening, find out how this screening is done and what is checked.

If an online database is used, make sure the results are verified directly through the courts. 

Find out more about the limitations of online databases in "Don't Be Fooled ~ Why You Need to Know What is Missing from Your Online Search"!

Also question how far back the records searched go and if the courts in the caregiver's previous places of residence were also included. Any “red flag” as to the agency’s procedures and it may be best for you to get your own background check done. This is especially in the case of those caring for your children or an elderly parent ~ safety is key. 

Background Checks can also be used to vet contractors or repair companies you hire for home improvement.  

In this case, it is wise to go beyond criminal records and check the companies or contractors themselves. Look for any civil suits either filed against them or by them against former customers.

For more tips on how You can use background checks, check out , “The Top 6 People You Should Run a Background Check On

The bottom line is that Background Checks are a great way to make sure the people you hire to work in or on your home are as safe as possible.

We also suggest that anyone looking for a new job, or even seeking a promotion, consider getting a background check done on themselves.

Many companies run at least some sort of background check during their hiring process. The check will most likely look at past criminal behavior and may even include a “social media check” to see what may be posted online.

The more you know about what is “out there” about you before you apply, the more prepared you can be to explain or mitigate what the company may find. 

Discover what a personal background check should include hereAnd remember, a good Background Check company can help you with this! 

Contact Us Today to find out more!

As you can see, Background Checks are not only for companies. They can be a helpful, and sometimes necessary, tool for you too!
Have you ever used a Background Check to screen anyone who has worked in your home?  Would you consider it? We would love to hear what you think ~ leave a comment below!

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Take a moment and visit our
Background Investigation and Job Search Services and About Us pages to find out how API can help! Thanks!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Is it Time for You to “Unplug”?

The Big Question ~ Are we able, or willing, to “unplug” from our jobs or even Social Media?

With the Holiday season fast approaching, we all need to find ways to handle the added demands on our time. This is especially true of Small Business Owners!

All through the year, we often find ourselves pulled in many different directions, and that has been especially true in the past couple years. Pandemic restrictions, workforce challenges, and having to be creative to keep our businesses afloat, have all taken their toll.  And the fact that we are solely responsible for the ultimate success of our company is never far from our minds.

But, during the holidays, it is especially important that we find a way to simply enjoy!

Much has been written and discussed about the need to “unplug” from technology. There have been movements to shut off our televisions for a week, turn off our smart phones, or shut down our computers and tablets. Each is touted as a way to decompress and de-stress from our everyday demands.

But that is only a small part of what keeps us busy and driven. Many of us are absorbed by our work. We don’t recognize the concept of “9 to 5” or even a 5 day work week, and the move to working from home has only exacerbated this for many. That is wht we need to expand the “unplug” movement to our jobs.

Why Small Business Owners Need to Unplug!  "Tweet This"!

Are You able to take a break from your work? Is this something you can or want to do for a week, or even a weekend? Have you ever taken a “real vacation” from your job?

Many of us would answer “No”. We either don’t want to or don’t think we can really disconnect from our work. We will pay lip service to the notions that we need “downtime” but, in reality, we don’t think it is possible.

That is misguided and, potentially, unhealthy. Let me state for the record, I am a small business owner. It is me, and only me, that deals with my clients, does the billing, and runs every other aspect of my business. When I am “off”, my company is in virtual “shutdown”.

Despite that, I have come to realize that I am no good to myself or others if I never get the chance to “unplug”. One look at the infographic in this post by Geoffrey James in “Inc.”, and you can see the number of Business Owners who feel the same. Many fear that if they take time to themselves their business will suffer.

Running Your Small Business

The bottom line is, You need to Take Back Your Life. 

You are more than your business. You have family, friends, and interests that need to be nurtured and appreciated. In order to be your best self, you have to recognize that taking a break will allow you the time you need to regenerate and refresh. 
Even if it is only for a weekend, try these tips:

  • Take No Business Calls
  • Don’t Check Your Business Email or Business Social Media Accounts
  • Do Something You Enjoy - read a book, take a walk, etc.
The goal is to rejuvenate and relax. Of course there are times that emergencies or a big project can interfere. What is important is to make this the exception, not the rule.

For the past few weeks, I have made the concerted effort to follow this advice. I have Taken Back my Weekends. 

To accomplish this, I have found a few ways that make it easier for me. 

I pre-schedule my weekend social media posts. This way I can still keep up my social media presence without logging on. I also use Friday afternoon to update my calendar for the following week so I can jump right in on Monday morning.

I have found that with those things out of the way, I am able to really enjoy my weekends. I can reconnect with my family and I have time to do some of the things that I love.

Taking a break has also given me more energy and focus, in both my personal life and my business. (Read more about this in, "Productivity ~ Sometimes the Best Way to Achieve this is to Scale Back"!)

Give it a try for yourself. You may find that, when the “unplug” is over, you come back with a fresh perspective and new energy for your work.....and you can really look forward to your weekends again! Do you have any tips to share? Please comment below! 
Please Pay it Forward and Share this article with others you know that Need to Step Back! Thanks!

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API can Help You take the Stress out of Running Your Business with our Background Investigation and Business Mentoring Services. Contact Us Now to find out more! Thanks!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Small Business Spotlight - Sincerely Yours by Tracy!

This week my “Small Business Spotlight” is focused on Tracy Weslager and her company, Sincerely Yours by Tracy!

According to Tracy, she has “always had a passion for design, fashion, and staying in touch with friends and family”.  These interests came together in her business, the Sincerely Yours stationary company!

Founded in 2006, Sincerely Yours by Tracy is a specialty greeting card company.   They design customized, hand crafted cards perfect for your personal life and business.  Sincerely Yours by Tracy cards are truly unique.

Tracy’s focus is on “bringing back the hand written card into our crazy email, texting world”.  Her goal is to help you “WOW those important people in your life” by sending them a custom card!

Besides wonderful greeting cards, Sincerely Yours also sells unique Notecards,  personalized Notepads, and card tags.  There are many designs to choose from.

In addition, Sincerely Yours also offers a one-of-a-kind greeting card service called “Unforgettable Cards.”

When doing the initial testing of her products, Tracy had the opportunity to meet with some corporate professionals at a business event.  She found they all agreed on the importance of sending cards to family, friends, and their professional connections, but their hectic schedules often got in the way.

This is where Tracy’s service, “Unforgettable Cards” comes in!

"Unforgettable Cards" is a unique greeting card service that will keep track of your greeting card needs, all year long.  You provide them with some background information for each person on your list, and Sincerely Yours by Tracy will design a one-of-a-kind, high quality, greeting card for them. Tracy believes that is what makes this service so special.

Sincerely Yours will automatically send you each card prior to the event so you can include your own message.  Tracy even includes a stamped envelope for your convenience.  This way you will always have the perfect greeting card when you need it!
Sincerely Yours has also started a new GIVE BACK program in honor of our Military.  For every card you order from them, Sincerely Yours will send a card to an active member of our Armed Forces as a thanks for their service.  Each card will include your family or business name.  It is that simple!

Tracy invites you to visit the Sincerely Yours by Tracy website (  You can check out all her designs and find out more about the “Unforgettable Card” and “Give Back” programs!

You can also reach her on Twitter (@Sincerelyyours1) and on Facebook.

Keep up with the “Small Business Spotlight” Series in my blog and learn more about Small Business and Background Check news on my website,!  Thanks!

Monday, May 6, 2013

4 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need to Use Background Checks

Are You using Background Checks to Hire in Your Small Business?
If not, Why?
Maybe it is because as a small business owner you mostly hire “people you know”, or you think that Background Checks are just “too expensive” for your Small Business.

Neither of these arguments is true. Using Background Checks is actually a cost-effective and sound business strategy for any Small Business, and here is why......

4 Reasons Why Background Checks and Small Business make Great Partners:
  • Small Businesses have a Limited Budget for Hiring and Training 
Most Small Businesses operate on a tight budget. Resources are split among the many costs associated with running a business - payroll, insurance, utilities, and more.  

Wasting any of your funds on hiring and training the wrong candidate is simply bad business. Using a Background Check as part of the hiring process can help eliminate some of this waste.  

A good Background Check will help you in two basic ways. It will save you money and time. Advertising costs will be reduced by eliminating the need to re-post a position due to making an initial “bad hire”. You will also save the time it takes to train what turns out to be an unqualified or unsafe candidate.

  • The More "Intimate Setting" of a Small Business Requires Safer Hires
Many times, Small Businesses have their employees “wear many hats”. Employees may have their hand in many different aspects of the business. That puts them in contact with more co-workers and customers. This practice also gives these employees access to company funds and possibly sensitive company information.  

As a Small Business Owner, a Background Check will give you the tool you need to avoid a potential problem. You will know whether your new hire has a history of violent or abusive behavior. It can also forewarn you of past incidents of embezzlement or other crimes that could jeopardize the stability of your company.
  • Background Checks Help Small Businesses Avoid Litigation.  
Businesses are increasingly being sued due to the behavior and actions of their employees. There have been news stories of how employees have stalked a co-worker or stolen from a customer’s home.  

Remember...Your employees Represent Your Small Business.  "Tweet This"

You need to make sure that how they interact with your customers and their co-workers is as safe as possible. Background Checks can give you a “heads-up” to past behaviors that may put your company at risk.
  • Small Businesses Rely Heavily on their Reputation  
Your customers rely on your honesty and integrity, and will keep doing business with you because of it. Having unsafe employees can ruin that reputation. If your company is not taking the time to hire wisely, customers will notice. If your reputation is ruined or tainted by the actions of your employees, it is hard to bounce back. 
Small Businesses especially have to be vigilant in protecting the good reputation they have built.
By using Background Checks, Small Businesses can avoid making many of these missteps. 

A Background Check company can help. They will work with you to develop the sound and cost-effective hiring program you need. See our article on what to look for in a good Background Check company here.

The bottom line is this...being forewarned is being forearmed, and this is a good position to be in for any Small Business!

Authored by

Now you know.....Background Checks and Small Business make great partners! Find out for yourself and learn more about Background Checks and Small Business by visiting our website. You will find out more About Us and our Background Investigation Services too!