Posts Tagged: "Business"

What to Consider When Hiring Your First Employee

- - Adam Kidan, Business

What TO Consider When Hiring Your First Employee By Adam KidanIf you’re a growing business, the time will eventually come that you need to start hiring employees to help you carry the weight and continue to grow.  But before you do this, you need to make sure that your business is ready for a new employee, and that the employee in-question is a good fit.  I recently read a post on the blog Young Upstarts that looks at what you should do before you finally decide to hire your first employees:

Review your finances: Employees, for all their benefits, cost money.  You might be able to pay an employee’s salary for one month, but you need to find out if you can afford the payroll for an extended period.  This goes beyond base salary; depending on your state, an employer will also be responsible for employment taxes workers’ compensation, and insurance.  One way to attract talent is by offering your employees various benefits, but those cost money too.  If you don’t have the finances to make all of this happen, then a freelancer might be the way to go. 

Legal: As an employer, you need to navigate all sorts of legal red tape, which varies depending on where you are.  So you don’t end up in court for any sort of oversight, consult a lawyer before you end up launching a new business; coughing up a couple hours’ worth of legal fees could save you a huge amount in the future.  

Find the right payroll system: While you obviously need to pay your employees, you also need to consider how to provide your staff with the appropriate information on their take-home pay, taxes, deductions, and contributions.  Make sure that you have a proper payroll system instated.  Do your homework, and find one that works with your budget.  

Identify your needs and expectations: By identifying the needs of your business, you can determine what kind of employee you should be hiring.  Assess which areas of the business require the most assistance.  Consider how an employee will affect your bottom-line as well.  

Making Your Meetings Productive

- - Adam Kidan, Business

making your meetings productive by adam kidanMeetings can be, and in many cases are, the very bane of a company’s existence.  They often drag on for hours and accomplish absolutely nothing.  What can you do to ensure that your meetings aren’t a waste of time?  Here are five strategies for getting the best value out of your meetings, taken from an article I read online:

Is it necessary? A physical meeting isn’t always necessary.  While it might seem more impersonal, a text or email will solve an issue much quicker than a meeting.  Before you find yourself making slides and setting off an hour in the conference room, ask yourself if it’s necessary.  

Plan the agenda: By creating an agenda for the meeting, it will be easier for everybody to prepare for the meeting, and also make sure that nobody gets sidetracked on a tangent.  It allows you to focus on the most important issues at hand, ensuring that you don’t waste anybody’s time.  Of course, people can still go off on tangents, but if you set up a clear agenda, you’ll be able to much more easily steer the meeting back to its proper course.  

Bring key players to the table: After you’ve figured out your agenda, think about who needs to be at this meeting.  If somebody doesn’t need to be at the meeting, then they’ll just bring down productivity.  

Think about the goal: Piggybacking on the second post, stay focused on the goal at hand, and avoid spending too much time on items outside the agenda.  One way to stay focused on the goal is to ask pointed questions to “teach” and guide participants.

Summarize the key points: If there isn’t any follow-up action, then a meeting might as well have been for nothing.  To make sure that your meetings are effective, you need to follow up.  Summarize key points, then distribute them to everybody in the meeting.  Make sure that every key player who should take an action after the meeting knows what they’re supposed to be doing.  

Growing Your Business

- - Adam Kidan, Business

growing your business by adam kidanRunning your business requires more than just walking through the day-to-day.  You need to keep a big picture in mind of where you want your business to be going.  Your vision.  The “where you see yourself X years from now”.  This will help inspire both you and your team.  It’s easy to lose track of your vision with the everyday challenges that come with running a business.  Yet there are some ways that you can keep track of your business’ vision, and help chart the course there, taken from a great article by Rich Allen that I read on the blog youngupstarts.com:

Start at the top: Imagine how you want your business to look like in 10 years.  Think of any and all particulars to make your vision as specific as possible.  Include the size of the business, your locations, what you’ll offer, your business structure, your customers, and your own involvement.  

Back up five years: When you’ve charted out your 10-year vision, back up about halfway.  It’s that cliched “where do you see yourself five years from now” question they always ask you during job interviews.  Cover the exact same details that you did when asking yourself where you’d be in 10 years.  Look at where you need to be to achieve your 10-year goals.  Then connect the dots to there.  

Back up another two more years: With a five- and 10-year vision clearly charted, back it up to where you want to be, or more appropriately need to be, three years from now.  Think about if this backs up your five-year plan.   

Back up to next year: Once this is all planned out, time travel once again to one year from now.  This offers you a ten-year perspective on how to get there.  Ask yourself where you need to be a year from now to be on track to reach your three-year vision, using the same criteria.  This allows you to set up your goalposts, so that you can structure your business for each benchmark.  

Branding on a Budget

- - Adam Kidan, Business

branding on a budget by adam kidanNot every business is going to have a giant budget, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to create a solid, far-reaching brand.  Branding doesn’t need to be expensive; if you’re willing to put in the hours, you can still brand your business successfully.  I recently read a blog post that shared some tips for creating your brand on a budget.  Here’s what they had to say:

Develop and understand a “buyer persona”: A buyer persona, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on a combination of market research and data about both your own competition and existing customers.  This lets you identify the needs, goals and behavior of potential customers, which in turn tell you how to convey your product or service.  While it might seem time-consuming and trivial, it sets you up to be able to attract valuable traffic in the future.

Find a confident and consistent voice: Once you’ve created an identity for your brand, then stick to it so your brand can truly take shape.  Establish a voice for your brand, one that’s consistent and always on message.  

Use social media: Most potential customers these days hang out on social media.  Find out which social channels your customers use the most, and then you’ll know where to dedicate the majority of your resources.  But using social media properly requires creativity and dedication; consider how your posts add value to your customers.  

Do customer service well: Few things hurt a brand quite like bad customer service.  It’s something that many business mess up, which can seriously damage the public persona of a brand.  But great customer service is a great way to turn your customers into advocates.  

Blog: Blogs are the most powerful weapons for building a brand.  They help you reach your target audience by creating informative and interesting content playing to their interests and problems.  So don’t just settle for mediocre content; make sure it’s good quality, relevant and being posted regularly.  Blogging is also a great way to populate your social media channels while also attracting visitors to your website.  

Using Facebook For Business

- - Adam Kidan

Using Facebook for business by Adam KidanFacebook might not be as “hip” as Instagram or Snapchat, but it can nonetheless help promote your business and attract new people to your site.  Yet to do that, you need to break through the white noise of Facebook and stand out on your followers’ news feeds.  Here are some do’s and don’ts of Facebook marketing, based off of an infographic I found on Hubspot:

DO

  • Use a recognizable profile picture: Being recognizable is an important part of getting found and liked.  Choose your profile picture wisely, because it’s going to be what people see most.
  • Coordinate your cover photos and posts: Your cover photo, pinned post and profile CTA are the three most visible parts of your Facebook page.  To make sure that you maximize the engagement with your marketing campaigns, make your messaging match across all of these.  
  • Tailor your organic posts: Facebook has various targeting tools that let you to segment your organic posts by such factors as age, gender and education.  Use these to make sure you engage with the right audience.  
  • Use tracking URLs and Facebook Insights: These metrics allow you to tailor your content strategy and focus more on what works.  
  • Post strategically: According to research, posts published between 1 and 4pm get the best clickthrough and share rates.  
  • Try using a paid budget: Get better ROI for your ads by promoting content that you already know works.  Strategic advertising lets you expand your reach and attract more people to your page.  

DON’T

  • Leave the “about” section blank: A preview of your “about” section can be found beneath your profile picture; it’s one of the first places people will look when they’re scanning your page.  
  • Use a “dummy account”: Apart from violating Facebook’s terms and conditions, dummy accounts just look bad.  
  • Post too often: If companies have less than 10,000 followers on Facebook, they’ll receive 60% fewer interactions when they post more than 60 times a month.  Instead of overwhelming your customers with lots and lots of posts, try writing fewer, higher-quality Facebook posts.
  • Forget multimedia posts: Content can generate 94% more views by simply adding compelling visual elements and graphics.  Visual content in Facebook campaigns generates 65% more engagement after just one month.  
  • Be slow to respond: 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a 60-minute response time.  Whether they’re complaining about your product or praising it, you don’t want to ignore any posts, lest you create anger or disappointment.  
  • Make assumptions: The last thing you want is for your posts to blend in with everything else on your followers’ news feed.  A strategy that works well for one company won’t always work well for the others.  

How To Recover From Failure

- - Adam Kidan

How To Recover From Failure by Adam KidanSetbacks, tough as they are, are a part of life.  The founder of Heinz was a failed horseradish salesman, and Steve Jobs was most famously fired from Apple.  According to the Small Business Administration, half of all new companies with employees won’t survive after five years.  But that doesn’t make failure any easier.  Here are some tips on emerging from failure and rejection with your confidence intact, based off an article I found online:

Wallow: Allow yourself to feel everything you need to feel.  Grieving and yearning for what was lost can help ease the suffering.  But don’t wallow for too long.  Take, for example, the story of Barbara Corcoran; initially passed over as a co-host on Shark Tank, she shame-spiraled and then got mad, writing an email to the show’s creator about what they would miss on without her.

Be honest: With clear eyes, map out what went wrong and why.  If you need to, call on somebody you trust to offer an outside perspective.  Acknowledging any mistakes you’ve made can be painful, but it’s essential to ensuring that they don’t happen again.  But more importantly, forgive yourself if you do make mistakes.  

Find what makes you happy: If you have a hobby you love, then embrace it.  Positive thoughts can ward off depressive tailspins during hard times.  Negative emotions can hinder the process of recovery, making it difficult to find broad solutions.  However, positive emotions can expand your horizons.  

Count your blessings: In the words of Monty Python, always look on the bright side of life.  Every day, write down what you’re grateful for.  If you face a setback, you have access to a stack of lists that prove how much is going right in your life.  And even if you’re likely to be pretty consumed by your setbacks, recall the successes that you have achieved.

Help somebody: In the wake of failure, look for ways to be helpful.  Thinking about helping reframes your thought process, and gets people more excited about working with you.  You should be focused more on helping than winning; if you play to win, you’ll feel worse when you do face setbacks, and probably won’t learn much on the way.

Look for the opportunity: Setbacks are stressful, but there are ways to cope.  To manage your stress, think about what opportunities are being created.  Finding that opportunity will help you move forward faster.

Think big: Some studies have shown that visualizing success allows you to “trick” your brain into helping you make something possible.  The next time you’re working toward something, it might not hurt to visualize that process to success.

Think small: There’s virtue in persistence, but you also don’t want to lose sight of other opportunities on the way.  Instead of a riskier bet, try on a smaller one; small steps can help you test and plan your way back to success by giving you a lot of small, information-rich experiences from which you can learn.

This too shall pass: Setbacks can feel personal, yet don’t personalize your loss and remind yourself that things will change.  Failure isn’t a black mark on your permanent record, and you’ll be more resilient if you know you can change your lot.

Be consistent: When you’re ready to get back into the swing of things, come up with a consistent, realistic game plan for networking.  Daily work toward your goal is key to building momentum, and making working toward your goal a habit will lessen the impact of individual setbacks.

Don’t isolate yourself: After a failure, you’ll want to be left alone, but being alone with your thoughts won’t help you get past anything.  Start small, spending time with your friends and family, then go to networking events to connect with new people.  

Try again: Just because you fail doesn’t mean you can’t try anything again.  When you do get a great idea you want to put aloft again, however, be prepared to explain how and why your new venture will be different.  

How Your Ego Can Hurt Your Business

- - Adam Kidan, Business

How Your ego can hurt your business by Adam KidanLet’s say that you’re a novice entrepreneur who gets lucky and makes it big.  Chances are that will go to your head.  I recently came across an article by the entrepreneur John Rampton, whose early success created an ego that damaged his later work.  While an ego can be a great confidence booster, it can also harm you.  He spoke of eight ways that his ego killed his business, which I’ve listed below:

You won’t realize you need to learn: A lot of leaders think they have every answer out there, and admitting they could improve by learning is a sign of weakness.  Don’t be afraid of being judged for asking stupid questions, and jump onto opportunities to learn from others.  

You’ll ignore opportunities: While you might think that ego makes you push towards greatness, but in reality it’s fairly complacent and resists change.  If you have a big ego, you don’t think you need to do anything new because you’re so great.  Yet this will prevent you from seizing innovative opportunities which could have helped your business move forward.  

You over-estimate your abilities: Business owners are expected to wear multiple hats, but nobody can wear every hat.  Self-confidence in your abilities is important, but you’re setting yourself up for disaster if you tell yourself that you’re a master at everything.  Learn enough to get started, but recognize when it’s necessary to hire a specialist.

You micromanage: Being the head honcho in charge is a lot of pressure, and you often feel like you have to control everything.  You want to care about the details regarding your business, but expectations won’t always be met.  Being overbearing and critical tells your team that you don’t trust them, which will hurt performance.

You won’t want to ask for help: Every great entrepreneur had assistance to get to where they are today.  You want to have a mentor that can teach you from their own experience.  Whether it’s bringing in a partner, seeking out a mentor or coach or polling your team, asking for help is essential for success.  

Every decision revolves around you: Your business should never be about you.  It’s about your customers and how you can enhance their lives.  If you aren’t thinking about your customers and what they want/need, they won’t continue to support your business.

You can’t back down: Your ego will always want you to be right, and if you get into a discussion, you won’t back down until you’ve gotten it your way.  True leaders understand when they’re wrong.  

You set impossible goals: Your ego will often lead to your setting impossible goals for yourself, and when you don’t reach those goals, you’ll just beat yourself up.  As a business owner, you need to set attainable and realistic goals.  You’ll accomplish less if your mind is crowded with unrealistic expectations.  

Using Social Media For Business

- - Adam Kidan

Using Social Media For Business by Adam KidanRegardless of how you feel about social media, it’s an essential aspect of a successful business in the modern digital age.  Figuring out what kind of social media platforms work best for your business can be hard, yet here are five important aspects to consider, based off an article I found online:

Broad audience platforms: There are two basic categories for when you’re deciding which social media platforms to use for your business: broad audience and niche platforms.  It’s a good idea to have an account on at least one broad audience platform, such as Facebook or Twitter.  There are also several advertising options, most of which are user-friendly.

Niche platforms: Once you’ve set up your Facebook and Twitter accounts, consider which other platforms would work well with your business.  For one, you need to make sure you have a firm grasp of your audience, which will let you determine which social media platforms are best for reaching them.  

Hire an expert: Small business owners and entrepreneurs often try to save money by doing everything themselves, which doesn’t always end well.  It’s a good idea to consider hiring somebody to manage your social media, who can frequently post high-quality content and attract new viewers.  

Develop meaningful content: Social media is filled with business profiles, and unique content is the best way to be heard over the white noise.  If all your posts are sales pitches, nobody will listen.  Yet if you post content that’s actually valuable to the reader, you’ll be able to improve your company’s image.  

Be persistent: You need to constantly be creating new content and finding additional ways to engage your audience.  Social media is constantly changing and evolving, so you’ll need to keep up with and adapt to the changes around you.

Why Your Employees Quit

- - Adam Kidan

Why Your Employees Quit by Adam KidanJust because somebody’s satisfied with their job doesn’t mean that they aren’t looking for new opportunities.  Therefore, it’s critical to keep up with your employees’ needs and continue to motivate and challenge them.  According to a report by Careerbuilder, 21 percent of workers plan to leave their current job this year.  Any employer knows how difficult and expensive it is to hire and train new employees.  Here are some reasons employees quit, and how you can resolve them, based off of an article I found online:

They are disrespected/undervalued: No matter how much you love your job, you’ll be more likely to quit if you feel underappreciated.  Recognizing the efforts of your employees will go a long way; even if you can’t give them raises, try organizing things like employee recognition luncheons or bonding activities such as games.  

Lack of upward mobility: The idea of doing the exact same thing for a long time is hardly appealing, and is something ambitious employees will dread.  Some employers favor family members and friends above somebody that’s more qualified.  That will create resentment among employees and encourage the best ones to leave.  If your employees don’t think they’ll be given equal access to promotions, they’ll start to look elsewhere.  Create opportunities within your organization to move up the ladder, and provide training and educational opportunities for them to upgrade their skills and network with others.

Lack of recognition or reward: Employees want to feel like you appreciate their hard work.  This can be shown in different ways, whether that’s a heartfelt thank you, a small bonus or a simple plaque.  Create opportunities to excel and be recognized and give bonuses of great work.

Discouraging employee input: Help employees feel like they’re an important part of the company by listening to what they have to say.  Otherwise, they may feel alienated and non-essential; hold weekly or bi-monthly meetings and include your employees in the decision-making process where possible.  

You don’t give them responsibilities: Employees need to know that you trust them enough to work on their own; micromanagement won’t promote any trust.  Excellent managers encourage their employees to be independent and take on extra responsibility.  

Low morale: To boost morale, encourage your employees to get involved in community projects.  Healthier employees tend to be happier as well, so offer them all sorts of health and wellness benefits.  

Sharapova’s Harvard Break

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Sharapova's harvard break by adam kidanAfter testing positive for the banned substance Meldonium at the Australian Open, tennis star Maria Sharapova received a ban set to last until Jan 26 2018.  Although Sharapova is in the midst of an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to shorten this ban, this isn’t the only thing she’s doing with her spare time.  Yesterday, she posted a photograph on social media of herself in front of a sign for Harvard Business School with a caption that read “can’t wait to start the program”.  According to Associated Press, this “program”, which takes place in the summer, is two weeks long and involves two courses.

This might not seem like much, but even a little bit of time at Harvard Business School can offer plenty of business insight.  Apart from her work as a tennis superstar and one of the highest-paid female athletes of 2016, Sharapova is the founder of the candy brand Sugarpova, so she may very well earn some valuable business skills to boost her company.  As of yet, it isn’t clear if Sharapova will earn any certification from the courses she takes, but adding the Harvard brand to her resume could help her re-enter the good graces of fans and companies; her doping scandal has already cost her promotional deals with both Nike and Porsche.  

Sharapova is hardly the first celebrity athlete to attend Harvard; in 2005 the school has developed a certificate program that’s geared towards professional football players to help them evaluate and learn potential business opportunities.  Some notable alumni include NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth and model Tyra Banks.