Running a successful company, is not a solo activity. It takes building a team that can execute the delivery of the company's solutions. However, for the business owner, it can still be lonely at the top. There is a tendency for manyleaders to draw inward and make the important decisions by themselves. However, the most promising companies actually seek advice from many sources before they make four types of decisions.
1. Hiring employees. One of the company's most competitive resources is their employees. The activity of hiring effective people is a critical activity that should not be done alone. Where to find help:
Other employees: If the company has a good core team already built, ask them (and pay a bonus) to refer other people that may want to work at the company. People typically hang out with people like themselves and this also provides a better chance of this new employee fitting into the team. Also make sure to include them in the interview and hiring decisions.
The Internet: The best reference checking is now online. Google any new candidates. Check all the popular social media sites to see the pictures and comments they post, and most importantly how they interact with others.
Your Board of Advisors: When hiring for a senior level position, it is appropriate to run your plans by your board.
2. Firing employees. When the employee's goals match company goals, employees will stay, and prosper. But when they deviate and become unbalanced, this is the time they should seek employment elsewhere. A popular saying is that every leader needs to be "slow to hire and quick to fire". Most leaders are...
Helping Business Grow
Funding Targets "Rural" Areas
By Marissa Berg, Grant and Contract Funding Consultant
One of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most successful grant programs could get needed funds into your hands and help grow your business to what you have always desired it to be. It’s called the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance and help develop small and emergingbusiness. It also assists in the development of distance learning networks and adult education programs that will increase employment. However, small business cannot go at it alone. Strong partnerships among several businesses are the key to success in a project like this. The funder wants to see a coalition of businesses in a rural area working together in a common goal. There is no maximum level of grant funding available. Generally, grants range from $10,000 to $500,000 and smaller projects are given higher priority.
An RBEG program can be used for the acquisition of development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings, plants, machinery, equipment, access streets and roads, parking areas, utilities; pollution control and abatement; capitalization of revolving loan funds including funds that will make loans for start ups and working capital; training and technical assistance; distance adult learning for job training and advancement; rural transportation improvement; and project planning. All projects must benefit small and emerging private businesses, which are considered as businesses that will employ less than 50 employees and have less than $1 million in gross revenue.
Marketing used to be much simpler in past decades. The choices for advertising and promotion were much more limited. Today, however, the selections are vast and constantly changing concerning the sundry choices available to market your wares or services effectively. One of the newest and best-received technologies for use in marketing is the creative integration of Quick Response Codes, more commonly known as QR Codes.
QR Codes, and their considerable applications, are quickly starting to dominate the marketing arena. As today’s world increasing relies heavily on hand-held devices that...
Chances are you have heard of the so-called free money that is being given out on any given day, but for some reason you don’t know one person or you only know a few people that have been the benefactors of grants. Grant giving is the process of giving money to an organization or person by another entity like the federal, state, local government, university, or foundation to fulfill an agenda (like improving literacy, beautification projects, cleaning up toxic sites, etc.). Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations make up the largest number of grant recipients and generally they are the most competitive at receiving them. However, for-profits also receive grants.
The recession spared few U.S. cities, wiping out 9.4 million jobs between November 2007 and August 2009. Many will never return, and those that do you probably won’t find on the East or West Coast. For the most active areas of job creation (and lower costs of doing business) you have to go to the heartland, home to 80% of the top 25 regions on Forbes.com list of Best Places for Business.
In most of these hot hubs you’ll find a strong university or two, providing rich cultural life and the kind of technology transfer that sparks entrepreneurial activity—giving that educated population lots of reasons to stick around.
Social media, Facebook, a blog: all are important marketing elements and they share a common goal, to drive people to your website - your ultimate online presence. One of the basic components in any marketing plan is your website and specifically your website's ranking in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Market competitiveness dictates that your website and it's SEO ranking are the single most important building block in your online strategy.
Statistics show that online searchers seldom go below the fold (the screen they first see when they conduct their search), so every savvy business wants to do their best to get above the fold and to the top of the page. How you move yourself up in those rankings and get to the top of the page is the magic that is search engine optimization… and while it sometimes feels like wizardry and magic, what it really takes is diligence and research, and focusing on Keywords - that dreaded term that all website managers hate to hear.
Letting Social Media Shift Your Business Principles
We've spent the past three newsletters discussing some of the very basic ideas and nuts andbolts behind social media marketing. So why, now, would we suggest that you throw out the concept of marketing? Isn't that counter-intuitive? Are we crazy? Have we gone all peace and love and karma on you?
No. We haven't. What we're going to tell you in this article is how to follow both the newest and oldest trend in growing your small business.
STEDCO's Spring Learning Series on Business Finances will continue next Thursday, May 19th, at City Hall at City Limits. The emphasis of this series is about identifying key fiscal health indicators and using them to strengthen your business. The luncheon presentation from 11:30 AM – 1 PM will provide practical information on managing the financial condition of your business through analyzing and interpreting financial statements, and using financial ratios and trending in business forecasting.
Here’s some of what you will learn on May 19th...