Hiring for Experience vs Hiring for Talent

Hiring for Experience vs Hiring for Talent

Many factors go into hiring, but one of the most important considerations is cost. Hiring for experience costs more than hiring for talent. That said, there are benefits to both experience-based and talent-based hiring strategies, including cost efficiency and more effective team dynamics. Here’s what you need to know about each approach.

Start with the job description

Small companies have little room for error in terms of poor hires. The more precisely you’ve defined the job position, the better your odds of hiring the right person. A well-defined job description will provide clues as to whether you should hire based on talent or experience.

Highly skilled positions and leadership positions benefit from having an experienced candidate fill the role. An inexperienced candidate is better suited for jobs that require non-specialized skills or creative thinking. 

Costs associated with talent and experience

Inexperienced talent may start at a lower compensation level, but they can be more expensive in the short term because they require more training and development. If an employee leaves before you’ve recouped the training costs, you’ll have to start all over with nothing gained from your investment. On the other hand, experienced people command a higher level of compensation, but they can be productive immediately. 

Finding the right mix for your business

Creating a balance of experienced and inexperienced workers allows you to maximize your staffing investment. A strong experienced leader can manage several inexperienced employees who possess the potential for learning new things. Those less experienced employees will grow into your future leaders and provide long-term stability for your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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How to Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities

How to Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities

When it comes to managing your employees, one of the most important things you can do is define roles and responsibilities. That way, everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and can get the training and support they need to succeed at their jobs.

Defining roles and responsibilities helps ensure that everyone isn’t responsible for doing everything. When there’s a crisis, you want your team members to pivot to an “all hands on deck” mindset. But every day should not be a crisis — it’s not efficient and it burns people out.

Defining roles also ensures everyone has an understanding of how their work contributes to the overall success of your organization. If each team member does their job well, the business runs smoothly.

To support team members, you also need to plan in advance to temporarily shift responsibilities when someone is out of the office. If your team members know there is a plan in place, they will feel confident they can meet the challenges that come with an absent team member. In addition, clearly defining roles and responsibilities can help you avoid confusion about responsibilities that can trigger conflicts among team members.

Identify Tasks

One of the first things I do when working with a new consulting client is to ask them to create a business task list. This is a comprehensive list of all activities required to run their business. Everything from top to bottom goes on this list, whether the task is performed in-house or outsourced: marketing, financial, recruiting, client services, scheduling, reception, and customer service.

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

When you’re assigning responsibilities to team members, avoid the temptation to list two people as primary for one task. If everyone owns a task, then no one owns it. 

It’s important that you honor the assigned roles and responsibilities for each of your team members. If you don’t set an example, your team members won’t follow the plan and the result is increased confusion over responsibilities.

If necessary, create new roles or modify existing ones to accommodate new responsibilities.

Create a Cross-Training Plan

In a small office, a cross-training plan is essential to ensure everyone on your team is well-versed in more than one role. Anyone listed with secondary responsibility for an activity should be trained for the role. The person who has primary responsibility is most often the most qualified person to train the secondary person.

Review and Revise Your Plan as Needed

You don’t need to get your roles and responsibilities defined perfectly the first time. As your business grows and changes, so too will the need for a new plan.

Setting up your team for success depends on each individual understanding what they are responsible for and knowing what other team members are responsible for. You’ll avoid overlaps and duplication and even more importantly prevent important tasks from falling through the cracks.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Overcome These 3 Common Obstacles When Starting a New Business

Overcome These 3 Common Obstacles When Starting a New Business

Are you starting a new business? Or have you been in business for a while and are thinking about expanding your offerings or services?

Either way, be prepared to overcome three common threats to the success of new ventures: lack of knowledge, self-doubt, and unrealistic expectations about how long it will take to become profitable.

1) Don’t let a lack of knowledge derail you

You don’t have to know everything to start or grow your business, but you do have to know when to seek advice and guidance. Before you launch your new venture, build a network of trusted advisors who either have direct experience doing what you’re trying to do, and/or have experience advising entrepreneurs and small business owners. Family and friends can be an enthusiastic and supportive audience for your dream, but they may not be able to fill the knowledge gaps necessary to make your dream a reality.

2) Believe in yourself

If you find yourself doubting you can do this, tackle those fears on two fronts. First, the more time you spend doing the work, the less time you’ll have to brood. Your daily accomplishments are proof of your capability. Second, if your lack of confidence stems from the realization you lack certain skills, work to acquire those skills. Get involved with a network of entrepreneurs and business owners who likely face issues similar to the ones you do. They can help you find the resources you need to fill your knowledge gaps.

3) Plan for long-term profitability, not overnight success

Many items go into making a new business successful, and they take time to establish. You can identify basic business needs in advance and anticipate the costs of some items, such as your marketing and staffing, but can’t accurately predict how fast your business will grow. Strong business planning skills and sound management practices are your best defense against the unpredictability of launching a new business.

These three obstacles to success in launching new businesses have a solution in common: build yourself a community of trusted advisors and fellow business owners who can share their knowledge and experience to help you grow your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Challenge Yourself to Elevate Your Marketing in 2023

Challenge Yourself to Elevate Your Marketing in 2023

Many of us start the new year with plans to make improvements in our personal lives and at work. Take advantage of the momentum this fresh start offers to commit to elevating your marketing efforts in 2023. I’m challenging you to try at least one new strategy or upgrade an existing one this year. Here are seven ways to help you get started.

1. Reach out and meet in person

All our digital tools provide fantastic support and they helped us through the pandemic, but don’t get in the habit of scheduling virtual meetings when you have an opportunity to talk to your customers, especially new customers, in person. When it’s possible, avoid this question: “Would you like to talk by phone or in person?” Instead, ask: “When would it be convenient for us to meet in person? It would be a great opportunity for us to catch up and dive deeper into your current needs.”

2. Ask for testimonials

One survey reports 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business. When you thank customers for their business, ask them to consider writing a testimonial and let them know how much reviews help your business. Create a dedicated page for testimonials on your website, and link to it from your home page. Another option is to direct customers to Google Reviews.

3. Improve your SEO

Hire a professional to audit your website and provide you with updated keywords. Having the right content on your website makes it easier for new customers to find you.

4. Take your business on an outing

Look for opportunities to put your business in front of people who might not notice you in other ways. This might be a booth at a community event or festival, a pop-up location, and speaking at live events.

5. Create a cross-over promotion

Work with another business to find fun, fresh ways to engage your respective customers together. Host events, share ad space, and offer discounts when customers buy at the partner.

6. Get reacquainted with your audience

Knowing your audience is fundamental to delivering the right sales message. We may think we know the demographics of our target audiences, but often we’re too busy to notice changes happening around us. Review the qualities of your ideal customers: Are their needs changing? Are their buying habits changing? Is their use of social media changing?

7. Up your community sponsorships

Renew your existing commitments and explore opportunities to add a new sponsorship to the mix and give people a reason to discover your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Looking Ahead to 2023 Business Trends

Looking Ahead to 2023 Business Trends

Although we’re still facing economic uncertainty, I’m excited about new opportunities in the year ahead. Here are five business trends I’ll be monitoring in 2023.

1. Hybrid work models aren’t going away

New trends in this area will be around incentives to get people to come back to the workplace.

2. AI-produced content goes mainstream

ChatGPT is good at creating content — so good some people can’t tell the results from human-produced content. Expect to see new platforms and apps that leverage AI to make content tasks easier for you.

3. Tik Tok is taking over social media

Tik Tok is fun, easy to use, and has a reported one billion-plus users.

Small businesses can no longer ignore the popularity of how-to videos on the platform. This is the year to consider how your product or service might lend itself to this medium. 

4. Operating in crisis mode is becoming more of a regular occurrence

Nearly every business experiences some kind of crisis at some point, but for many businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath was the first landscape-altering crisis to impact them. What was different about Covid than, say, a weather-related crisis, was the duration of the impact and the scope of the impact across many, if not all, industries — it wasn’t one thing, but many things simultaneously, that affected small businesses. COVID-19 will continue into 2023 and we’ll likely continue to experience new impacts.

5. Personal data and payment security innovations

New digital wallet technology will be introduced to keep user data and payment information more secure. Existing mobile payment platforms are already launching new steps to keep users and their money safer.

If you would like to learn how to leverage these trends for your business, let’s talk:

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4 Top Business Leadership Lessons from 2022

4 Top Business Leadership Lessons from 2022

To close out the year, here are four great leadership lessons from the past 12 months that you can apply to your business in 2023.

“I decided to build properties so cool that people would come to me,” she says. “The house itself — not the location — would be the destination.” — Kristie Wolfe, one of the most influential Airbnb proprietors in the world

People use Airbnb to find a place to stay once they’ve already decided where they want to go for a trip. Location is an Airbnb customer’s primary consideration for fulfilling their need. But Wolfe discovered a way to drive more business, provide greater value and differentiate herself from competing Airbnb hosts by offering one-of-a-kind properties. She exponentially expanded the market for what she offers from “people who needed a place to stay” to “people seeking a great experience.”

Lesson: Expanding your customers’ understanding of what you offer opens the way to new growth.

“The idea of radical transparency is not to be brutally truthful, it’s to share your thinking and make your thinking accessible to everybody.” Mark Bertolini, Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm

One of the guiding principles of the business culture at Bridgewater is that honest and immediate feedback in meetings results in better business decisions. To facilitate this process, they use an internal app in meetings for sharing feedback called the Dot Collector that enables people to express their thoughts and ideas and see their colleagues’ thoughts in real time.

Lesson: The app also allows users to rate one another’s comments. Bridgewater takes the idea of transparency to an extreme, but the basic principle of encouraging employees to share feedback promotes a positive workplace culture.

“Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula.” Melanie Perkins, Founder & CEO of Canva, a graphics design business 

Perkins and her partner Cliff Obrecht a business in her mother’s living room with the idea of helping schools design yearbooks because they thought the existing graphics design tools required an excessive amount of training. It wasn’t just high schools that needed a better way of creating graphics, however: the whole world needed an easier tool to create visual content, turning Canva into a $40B business.

Lesson: Focus on your customers’ needs and look for opportunities to expand your market.

“It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” Lionel Messi, champion soccer player

Messi made this statement back in 2004, but it’s just as apt this year as it was in 2004. It’s been 36 years since Argentina’s national soccer team won the World Cup.

Lesson: As long as you keep working, you’re working towards achieving your dream. Don’t pin your business hopes on being an overnight success; it’s great if it happens. But if it doesn’t happen, keep working so you can make it happen.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Here’s Your Year-End Business Checklist

Here’s Your Year-End Business Checklist

The end of the year is the perfect time to look back at what you’ve accomplished in the past twelve months. You and your team have put in a lot of hard work, and it’s time to give yourselves a pat on the back.

It’s also a good time to make sure you’ve taken care of everything to keep your business on track in the new year. Goal-setting is a big year-end task, of course, but there are many other important tasks that need to be done at least annually. I’ve created a checklist of items to help you get started.

Reconcile accounts receivable

Organize expenses

Analyze cash flow

Create end-of-year reports

Here are some key financial reports, and you may have others appropriate for your specific business:

  • Year-to-date actuals (actual numbers versus budget)
  • Year-to-date projections (what we think our actual numbers will be)
  • General ledger overview (a top-level look at all accounts)

Perform computer maintenance

Depending on your equipment, you may need to:

  • Run virus scans and anti-malware programs
  • Update operating system and software
  • Clean up your file directory on your computer

Update contact information

Verify you have current contact information for the following:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Advisors

Update website information

Update social media profile information

Conduct physical inventory of business assets and equipment

Schedule holiday closures for 2023 on your business calendar

Consider any charitable donations you may wish to make before the year’s end

I hope these ideas for closing out the year are helpful to you. If you’d like additional information about any of these items, please reach out. 

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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4 Leadership Decision-Making Styles: Which Is Yours?

4 Leadership Decision-Making Styles: Which Is Yours?

As a business leader, you’re faced with big and small decisions every day.

Leadership decision-making styles are all over the board, and it doesn’t help that there is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to making good decisions. Everyone has his or her own way of choosing a course of action, based on personality, experience and training or coaching.

Some leaders rely on their gut instincts to make a fast decision. Others prefer to mull it over and consult others for diverse input and support for their decisions. Still others serve as a facilitator, putting decisions into the hands of their team.

Understanding how you typically make decisions and what different styles of decision-making are most effective in a given situation will help you make better decisions.

Autocratic

Autocratic leaders take full control of decision-making, and their word is final. They avoid consulting others because they feel others don’t know as much as they do about the situation. This is an old-school approach to decision-making, but it may be useful in high-stress situations; for example, when an urgent decision must be made quickly and the decision-maker has all the necessary information.

Analytical

Analytical decision-makers look at the facts, data, and figures to make informed decisions. They “run the numbers,” taking into consideration the big picture and the impact on the entire organization. They look at future implications of the decision. This approach is useful when deciding to make large investments and when the consequences of a bad decision are high, but it can take time to gather numbers, conduct research and meet with advisors. Another drawback of this approach is that the focus on data can obscure the human factor.

Behavioral

Leaders who practice the behavioral style of decision-making are empathetic and often have high emotional intelligence. They rely on instinct and past experiences to inform their decision-making process, but they also prioritize relationships with their team. They are considerate of the impact their decision has on others and communicate this clearly, so everyone in the organization feels recognized. This decision-making style fosters a collaborative, harmonious business culture, and is useful in making decisions that are relevant to everyone in an organization and don’t require a specific expertise or knowledge.

Conceptual

Conceptual decision-makers are visionary thinkers and focus almost exclusively on the big picture. They work as facilitators, leading their team to brainstorm possibilities and arrive at consensus. This approach is useful in making long-term decisions about the direction of a business or tackling thorny problems where the solution isn’t obvious. It’s not an effective approach when immediate decisions are required or to address day-to-day operations.

These are just four of the many decision-making approaches leaders have. The key takeaway for today is that effective leaders have  a mix of decision-making approaches in their toolbox, because each will work better in certain situations.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Keys to Successfully Delegating Tasks in a Small Business

Keys to Successfully Delegating Tasks in a Small Business

Delegating tasks is an important leadership skill in all types of businesses, but especially for small business owners. In theory, it sounds easy: all you have to do is assign tasks to others.

For some business owners, however, delegating can be challenging. One common reason: it’s tough to let go of control when an owner feels no one else would ever be able to do the task as well as he or she can. Others put off delegating because they fear it will take too much time to train someone else to do the job right.

Investing time upfront to prepare to delegate tasks and providing critical support during the hand-off will save you time in the long run.

Identify tasks to delegate

Before you can delegate effectively, you must identify which tasks are best suited for others. Start with a self-audit of how you spend your working hours.

Tasks to consider delegating are ones that are simple, repetitive, and teachable, or tasks that are just too tedious for you. Also, there may be opportunities to divide a complicated task into two parts, where a team member does part of the task and you give it the finishing touches.

Choose the right person for the task

Know your team and their strengths. Have one-on-one meetings to get a better feel for those who might have an interest in taking on more tasks and learning new skills. You may discover that one of your team members is better suited for a task than you are.

Consider timing

When you delegate a task, make sure you have enough time to train the employee on how to do it and provide support during the learning curve.

Start with small steps on complicated tasks

Don’t give the employee more than they can handle at once. If given too much information or responsibility at once, they may be overwhelmed and not learn as quickly as they would otherwise.

Document process

If the task is complicated or requires specific resources, create a checklist or a reference guide for the employee taking on the task.

Give constructive feedback

Once the employee starts performing the task, meet regularly to discuss how things are going. Be sure to offer praise if deserved.

Remember, you can’t do everything yourself, and you don’t have to. Delegating tasks effectively frees up time for you to focus on important tasks that only you should manage.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Prepare to Unplug and Unwind During the Holidays

Prepare to Unplug and Unwind During the Holidays

Whether the holidays are the busiest or slowest time of the year for your business, plan ahead to give yourself and your employees time to relax, gather with family and friends, and celebrate the season. Here are some ways to ensure that everyone gets a chance to step away from work.

Make a list of routine and important tasks that you can get done ahead of the holidays.

It may mean extra work for your team now, but everyone will appreciate not having to face a mountain of overdue tasks when they return to work after the holidays.

Give employees important contact information.

If your employees will be working while you’re out of town, provide information and contacts for handling emergencies.

Be sure customers know how they can contact your business during the holidays.

If your business will be closed for specific days, let customers know well in advance so they aren’t expecting an email reply or a callback. Post an announcement on your website if that’s how people typically connect with you. Ask everyone on your team who receives external emails and calls on a company line to set out-of-office response messages for their days off. If appropriate, identify a designated point of contact during their absence.

On their days off, encourage your team members to ignore work-related electronic communications and, whenever possible, do the same yourself.

A real break will allow you to spend more time with family and friends and leave you feeling refreshed.

If you or your employees must work over the holidays, be sure to provide special treats for morale.

There are countless ways at every price level to show your appreciation to employees who are working during the holidays. Choose something you know will be valued.

Every business will have its own unique needs and challenges to address during the holiday season. Planning ahead and flexibility are two keys to reducing stress and providing time off for you and your employees.

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