New Year’s Resolutions for Your Small Business

k-120-name-1081With the holidays set to soon begin, most businesses will close or reduce their operations until the new year. Many of us will spend time celebrating and relaxing with family and friends, rather than worry about what needs to be done at the office. But the small business owners I speak to are always thinking about ways to improve their business, and they love to be prepared well in advance. That’s why I’d like to outline some new year’s resolutions to improve your small business, well in advance so that come January, you’ll have thoughts and ideas ready to go:

An IT Analysis

The start of the new year is as good a time as any to implement brand new processes and procedures that could make things run more smoothly. For small businesses in particular, a new software tool or production technique can do wonders towards improving your productivity. Particularly within operations and accounting, there are websites and software tools out there – even some that are available for free – that can make things faster and easier for you to manage. Now is the perfect time to review the tools that you’ve heard great things about, and have discussions with family and friends, so that you can implement a new secret weapon to get your business running faster than ever in 2018.

An HR Overhaul

It’s no secret that businesses across North America are being exposed as more hostile and unwelcoming than many would have ever thought. For many people, they had no idea that things were so bad for others. That’s why it’s so important to review your HR policies, and have an open conversation with your employees. This might be one of the only ways to expose issues that you didn’t necessarily recognize. But what’s just as likely is that you’ll come across small, simple changes that you can make to improve the culture and morale at your workplace. Change works best when it’s implemented from the top down, and it’s clear now that issues and concerns should be addressed head-on, to improve the workplace for everyone.

A New Social Media Approach

In 2018, it’s clear that utilizing social media is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of marketing your business. Just as you aim to improve the internal functioning of your business, you should aim to improve the external perception of your business. You may just be looking at the creation of a Facebook or Instagram account to share basic information and show off your products. Or, you might be looking at the development of an entirely new online strategy. Either way, web pages need time to accumulate page views and reviews to become more prominent and legitimate. That’s why the time is now to embrace social media, as it can only serve to broaden the audience who discovers and interacts with your business.

With the new year approaching, now is the perfect time to reflect on tools, policies and changes to make to ensure that 2018 is the best year yet for your small business. If you’d like to hear other recommendations, or talk to other local small business owners to bounce ideas, contact me today!

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How To Find and Keep the Right People: Part 1- Finding The Right People

pgAs a business owner, I’ve had my fair share of experience in on boarding and exiting staff. One of the biggest challenges in business is finding the right people to help your business succeed. No matter the size, industry or type of company you run, this has proved to be a common problem that many business owners experience everyday all around the globe.

Today, most job postings are online, but knowing if you are posting in the right places to target the types of candidates you are looking for, is key to your success. I have outlined below a few key locations you might want to consider for posting your job.

Social Media
Social media is a great method for posting job ads online. This is a cost effective method that is sure to reach a wide audience. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for either posting for free or taking advantage of their paid job-posting feature. LinkedIn is especially useful for attracting candidates who have an education and are searching for salaried careers rather than part time hourly work. If you are a B2C business you may also want to engage with your audience on Facebook or Twitter.

Indeed, Kijiji, Craigslist
Other forms of free online posting may include job boards like Indeed, Kijiji and Craigslist. These allow you to post to a wide range of audiences, but like social media you will have to filter through many irrelevant resumes of unqualified candidates before you find a qualified one.

University/College Career Sites
University and College Career sites are also another useful online option to consider. Your advertisements are sure to reach a variety of current students in a range of different studies. The downfall with posting in school career sites is in addition to those graduating students who are looking for full time work, you may also get students applying to full time positions when they still have years of their program to complete.

Placement Agency
There are currently a wide variety of placement or recruitment agencies, some of which even cater to specific industries. The good news is that they pre-screen, and interview your candidates so you are presented with only the best of the bunch. Downside is that this option can get very pricy.

Your Network
Think about all of your business contacts, colleagues, friends and even family. Cast your net and see if they know of anyone looking for the type of position you have available.

Business Website
Don’t forget to post on your own website in the careers section or a link on your contact us page to the job description. You have an audience, who is already familiar with your brand, let them know you are looking to hire new talent!

What it really comes down to is finding the best method that works for you and your business. Once you’ve found your method and are happy with your choice of potential candidates it is time to interview. How should you interview? What testing should you include in your recruitment process? Should you include testing? Stay tuned for part 2 of the How to Find and Keep the Right People blog series.


How Social Media Savvy Are You?

social-media-jigsaw-via-greyweedWith some platforms celebrating almost a decade in existence, it’s safe to say that Social Media is here to stay. Not only has it connected us to friends and family all over the world, it is now engrained in business practices and has become an essential part of connecting with our audiences.

How familiar are you with the different social platforms, either personally or professionally? Do you have a LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account? Do you post or search for videos on YouTube? Does your company post a corporate blog?

To have a little fun, and show us where the gaps in our understanding may lay when it comes to this new medium, try your hand at the quiz I’ve assembled that asks, How Social Media Savvy Are You?

  1. According to Business Insider, 5 million affluent investors are using social media to research financial decisions. True or False.
  2. Which day is the most popular day for tweets: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. (Choose one)
  3. What is the symbol for hashtag?
  4. You can use a hashtag to mention another user on Twitter. (True or False)
  5. What is the maximum amount of characters you can use in a Tweet?
  6. A live-tweet is the action of sending tweets in order to comment on an event happening live. (True or False)
  7. Google is the most popular search engine. What is the second most popular? Yahoo, YouTube, Bing or Vista. (Choose one)
  8. Which social media platform tops Google as the most trafficked site? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. (Choose one)
  9. A Facebook Page is a profile specifically made for businesses, brands and celebrities. (True or False)
  10. Someone who likes a Facebook Page is called a: Liker, Follower, Fan or Connection. (Choose one)
  11. You can permanently erase a social media post. (True or False)
  12. LinkedIn is NOT:
    • A) The leading online professional directory of individuals and companies
    • B) An online resume
    • C) A platform to share online photo albums
    • D) A networking tool

Quiz Answers:

  1. True
  2. Tuesday
  3. Symbol for hashtag is #
  4. False. Use their handle @User to mention another Twitter user
  5. 140
  6. True
  7. YouTube
  8. Facebook
  9. True
  10. Fan
  11. False
  12. C: You cannot share online photo albums on LinkedIn

How did you do?

If you didn’t do as well as you hoped, don’t write off your social media skills just yet! There are plenty of articles and YouTube videos out there that can take you through the ins and outs of each platform so that you can make use of each tool effectively. Ultimately, your engagement with these tools will support your brand’s online presence so that, at every touch point, your audience receives a consistent message.

If anything, the growth and prevalence of social media in business has shown us that our learning is never done – we must constantly be adding to our inventory of knowledge and adapting with the times, even if it is uncomfortable at first.

Has your business fully incorporated social media into your business strategy? Are you still struggling to see the value of social media to your business? I look forward to you thoughts below.