Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Know Why I Do What I Do!

#SmBiz #Entrepreneur 

Often we do not take the time to consider “Why”, we are simply too busy doing what needs to be done ~ both in our businesses and our lives.

Recently I shared an article titled; “Why Do You Do What You Do?”  written by John Murphy, John Murphy International and it really struck a chord. 

For quite awhile now I have know exactly "Why" I do what I do, and I believe that starts first with understanding your fundamental values and what really matters to you!

Want to Know Your "Why"~ Discover Your Core Values First!  "Tweet This"

I found the best way to do this was to really consider my core beliefs. That was where, I discovered my “Why”.
#SmBiz #Entrepreneur
By nature, I am a trusting person. I choose to believe the best of people and find myself disappointed when my expectations prove to be false. I also love to help people. Whether it is with advice, or simply by listening, if I can help, I will.

Many may think that this conflicts with the type of business I run, but I disagree.

I have discovered that by providing my clients with the quality Background Checks they need, my business is completely in line with my values and what is important to me. This is my “why”! 

First off, I am able to establish a sense of trust between my clients and their new employees. Proving to them that their applicant is truthful on their resume is instrumental in establishing that trust. While I firmly believe that most people are honest, my clients know it pays to check.

This speaks to my desire to build a trusting relationship with those around me. My clients trust me to provide them with quality information and I help them forward that trust on to their employees.

Secondly, my services protect my clients’ businesses. Each time I help them hire safe candidates, I know that I play my part. I also lessen the possibility of litigation due to non-compliant hiring practices.

By doing this, I am able to fulfill my wish to protect others from harm. Knowing my services are instrumental in achieving this is very gratifying.

Lastly, and most importantly, I find great satisfaction in being a partner in my client’s success. Each time they begin the hiring process, I am there to work through it with them. I can also be assured that by helping them build a strong work force, they will have a solid foundation on which to grow.

I am also cognizant of the challenges in running a business and am flexible and fair in dealing with my clients. I am honored to have created a relationship of mutual respect and loyalty with each of them. This is extremely important to me.

I have learned a lot about business, and especially about myself, in running my own company. 
I recognize that it is not possible for me to do everything. I understand the need for a good budget. I believe in the importance of building relationships before “selling”. And I know that I love what I do! Find out more in "What I have Learned by Starting my own Business!".

All this keeps the drive alive to do what I do. 
Running the type of Background Check business where I feel a sense of accomplishment and that speaks to my desire to help others has been a blessing.

That is why I can honestly say that I Do Know “Why” I Do What I do, and I am grateful. It has helped me focus on what is truly important and renewed my passion for the Background Check industry.

Knowing Your “Why” can do the same for you!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Background Checks and Online Databases - What You Need to Know!

No matter how many times we have shared our views on the cons of "instant" background checks, we still have employers ask "Why can't I just check my applicants out online?"!

This is what you need to know.....
Questions continue to swirl around the validity of using "online databases" in background checks. In our view, while they have a place, relying on this information alone results in error-filled reports that can hurt both the subject of the report and the hiring company. 

Online information is everywhere. You can virtually type any words in a search engine and a wave of links will instantly emerge on your screen.

There is an allure to this type of “instant gratification”. However, as with any information obtained online, it should not simply be taken at face value.

And nowhere does this matter more than in the world of Background Checks.

We are constantly approached by potential clients about the use of online databases in background checks. They contact us expecting that is how we obtain our information. Many are surprised by our answer.
Obtaining information directly from the source, not from an Online Database, is the most accurate way to find what you need! 

Online databases can be a great “jumping off” point in a Background Check investigation. By using one you can quickly find past addresses, names used, and possible criminal records.

But it is not the best way to obtain accurate and complete information. You can do better.

There are benefits to using an online database search as part of your Background Check process. The biggest “pro” is speed and area of coverage. Most criminal searches are conducted at a specific court. With a database, multiple sources are checked at once, and the results are often immediate.
By running this broad search, information can be discovered that would not have shown up in the narrower court search. This can be valuable in any background check.

However, that is where it should end. Now comes the time for the real investigation. It is crucial that any information obtained through a database search be verified. For a criminal record, this means verifying it through the court system. For education and employment searches, it is best to go to the source.

The fact is, Online Databases have errors.

You can find many articles illustrating how applicants have been denied jobs due to inaccurate database searches. There have also been instances where a criminal history is not discovered at all through these online searches; “Errors in Background Checks Cost Job Seekers” by Olivera Perkins, The Plain Dealer.

Common names like Jones, Smith, and Johnson are also very challenging when using online databases. Many databases do not contain the identifiers necessary to make sure the results match your subject. Date of birth and social security number are necessary to verify which, if any, records found during a search can be attributed to your subject.

There is also the misconception among many that there is a “National” Database. No nationwide repository exists that houses all data from all the nation’s courts.
Even the FBI database is not all inclusive. The FBI system is dependent upon the lower courts submitting their information for inclusion. This is often done sporadically, slowly, or not at all. Many of the cases that do make it to the FBI are not updated to contain the final disposition.

You can read more about the misconceptions about a National Database in this article by Angela Preston of Employee Screen IQ;
"National Background Checks: What's in a Database?".

Multi-state databases, although a valuable tool, should be used only as a starting point. 

They cannot replace the more reliable method of court records, education, and employment verifications done at the source.

The bottom line.....Relying on online databases as the sole basis of information during a background check is negligent. A combination of database records and direct source records provides the best, and most error-free, picture for any background check. And, in the end, it will help you make the best new hire!

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API can help you navigate the world of Background Checks for your business. Visit Us on our website to find out more. Be sure to leave your email and you will get new articles with information to help You and Your Company Succeed!

Visit our Contact page for links & Find out More about What We do on Our Background Investigation Page!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Find it Difficult Setting Prices in Your Small Business? You are Not Alone!

Created by Kimberly Kline, API
How Do You Set the Prices for Your Small Business?
Take a look at this quote.....

“Pricing is actually a pretty simple and straight forward thing. Customers will not pay literally a penny more than the true value of the product.”
               Ron Johnson

Still confused? So was I!
What does “true value” really mean? In our experience, determining that was not so “simple and straight forward”.

In the beginning, we were afraid of losing or scaring away potential clients by overpricing our servicesWe were also having a difficult time determining what a fair price really was .

For us, it was much harder deciding on prices because we sold “services”. Services are not tangible and, therefore, much more subjective than products. 

Over time, we learned this.... 
You need to find a way to set a price on your services based on your expertise, knowledge, and time. The more you believe in what you are selling, the easier it becomes to charge what it is worth.

The balance between Value and Price can be especially hard for women to achieve. 

Placing value in our own worth is sometimes difficult. Consequently, the prices we place on our services also suffer.

But we can overcome this dilemma!

First, it is essential that you believe in yourself. You know you are providing a quality service, so make no apologies. If you act with confidence, it will not be long before your clients believe in you too.

It is also important to consider these 3 things when setting prices on your Small Business Services.

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Setting Your Prices  "Tweet This"

  • What Does it Cost You to Provide Your Service?
Knowing what bills you need to cover, whether there are any out of pocket fees, and how long it takes you to complete your service is crucial. Each of these needs to be factored into your price.

  • What are Your Clients Really Paying For?
Think of what you provide that others in your market do not. What do you do better than them? Exceptional quality and true customer service are often more important than price.  

You can’t forget that your clients are paying for your expertise. It has taken you time to gather your knowledge and skills.  It can be what sets you apart. That needs to be factored into your prices.

  • Is What Your Competitors Charge Relevant?
The truth is that it may not matter. Proving that you are offering more “bang for their buck” will eliminate the response “but I can get the same thing for _____”.

Make sure what you are offering is not the “same thing”. Show how you are different, and you will make the sale regardless of your price.  

There is a perception that “you get what you pay for”
Don’t fall into the rut of setting or lowering your prices to the point that your perceived value plummets. It can be difficult to recover - and raising your prices afterwards can be hard to justify.

In this economy, that can be a hard line to take. What we have done is a little different. Instead of lowering our prices during these hard times, we have held them steady.

Our clients appreciate that we understand their own struggles to keep their businesses going. And they also realize that we are in the same boat. It has really helped us generate loyalty and the feeling that we are partners in each other’s success.

Through it all, our focus stays on the Value of our Services.  
That value goes beyond what we charge. It is a culmination of our knowledge in our field and the way we treat our clients.

When we began to truly Believe 
that we offered Quality, it showed.  
We found ourselves recognized in our market and able to build a reputation on it.

We know You can Do the Same!

Authored by  

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Monday, September 2, 2013

What Professional Women and Entrepreneurs can Learn from Football!

Let me start off by saying, I love football.

Every time I make the 4 hour drive to D.C., I listen to the NFL network.  Year round I get NFL stories and highlights emailed to me.  I “like” my favorite team and players on Facebook.  And every game day during football season, I watch my own team, and every other game I can get.

While I love most sports, football is my favorite.  And now that the season is getting in full swing, I look forward to every minute.

Besides the entertainment factor, I also believe that Small Business owners, and women especially, can learn a lot from team sports.  

The success you can find working as a unified group is one. While I am sure many would find others, I have broken it down into these Top 3: 

1.  Team Work
When watching a football play unfold, it is clear that all players have a choreographed role.  If any one of them is not fully committed to and completely executes the play, it is not successful.

Much is the same in a company.  All employees and managers must work together to ensure the company accomplishes its goals.  You need to recognize that everyone’s role is important and should be valued.

2.  How to Quarterback
A good quarterback knows the strengths and weaknesses of his team.  He must think quickly and react to any outside pressures and changes, while still scoring points.  A QB also knows that he cannot do it alone.  He needs his entire team to be working at their best.  My favorite quarterback does not point fingers or take all the praise.  That makes him a leader and a team player.3.

As the owner or manager of your company, You must do the same. An effective employer quickly realizes that it is impossible to do it all.  So you need to surround yourself with good, quality people and realize you are only as productive as those around you.  You need to act as a motivator and learn to lead by example.

3.  Prep Time
Football players use the off season to rehabilitate, reflect, and re-energize.  The best of them keep in shape by continuing to work out so they are able to jump right back in at the start of camp.

You can use these tactics in your business.  Companies also go through “down times” and periods of change.  What is important is to do it wisely.  Hone your skills, revamp your methods - whatever it takes to achieve your goals.

While football, really any team sport, can teach business owners a lot, it is especially valuable to women in business.

According to a June 18, 2013 press release from Ernst & Young, results of their recent survey solidify the “important role of sports in the development of leadership skills for female executives and their ability to motivate teams”.

I found particularly telling that 96% of women at the corporate level had played a team sport, 55% of them at a University level.  A majority of them (72%) also agreed that women who have participated in team sports, at any level, worked better and more productively within teams.

You can read the entire Ernst & Young press release here.

My Junior High Basketball Team
Women who have or still do play team sports know the value of team work.  They have seen first hand the bonding and success that comes from all working towards the same goal.

They also know the strength of will it takes to compete at a high level.  All this breeds self-confidence, determination, and the ability to motivate ~ each one of these are qualities of good leader.

No matter what team sport you are drawn to, take a moment and watch them play.  Learn to recognize what works and what doesn’t. You will find that the successful teams work as one to earn that win.

Then take what you see and use it to reach your goals.  Who knows, if you are lucky you may win your own “Super Bowl”!

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