Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘staff

Wanted: The best and the brightest

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canonical-ubuntu-help-wantedYou know how important good employees are to your organization. In fact, before you started your own business, it’s likely that you were a good employee to someone yourself.

On the flip side, adding a staff, or even starting a staff, is a very scary and expensive proposition. The employee sees the net on their paycheck and that’s how much they cost, right? Of course not. You have all those extras you have to pay for: self-employment tax, workspace expenses, benefits. The list goes on.

So, you need a staff, but you know that hiring the wrong people is a very expensive mistake to learn. What do you do to ensure that you minimize that risk?

Much of it depends on the type of position you are looking to fill. Is this a front line person that needs basic skills and needs to be dependable? Is this a manager that is going to generate leadership and drive a department? Is this someone that you might need as your right hand person with the possibility of having as a partner.

Ads in the paper for front line employees have become a very last-century activity. In fact, many papers are just a fraction of their former selves due to the acceptance of the Internet as a tool for job seekers and the lack of advertising/classified dollars. You have to post your position(s) where the most eyeballs will be. Monster and Careerbuilder are just two of the possible ways you can look to fill your positions. I’m a strong advocate of posting positions on your own website regardless of the level of the position. People who are really interested in your company are more valuable than those simply looking for a job.

It’s helpful to start to network to find a strong manager for your company. Talk to people you know and place feelers out there in your connected community. Let people know you’re interested. People that know people are often an excellent source of information about a candidate beyond what you might find on their resume.

But don’t let any of this work and expense be the reason for not adding to staff. If you’re growing your sole proprietorship, then you’re likely at the ceiling point where you might not be able to grow your business any further. Besides a second set of hands, new employees can also be an extra set of eyes and another prespective on problem solving.

Written by Jeff York

September 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Failure as an opportunity

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defeat“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” – Thomas Edison

Every been beaten down emotionally or professionally? I think every has. It’s not a pleasant experience. When in the throws of the aftermath, it can be difficult to find the silver lining in such a situation. However, to paraphrase the adage, it didn’t kill you, therefore you must be stronger.

So, what did you learn? Did you make a huge mistake? In the grand scheme of things, how big was it?  Did you or your company lose money? As a past manager, I’ve made my share of mistakes as has my staff. Each and every time, we’ve learned from the experience and used it to know what not to do next time. My staff might have cost us some money, but I write that off as the cost of education. As long as we don’t make that mistake again and truely learn from it, it was worth the negative.

Let’s take what I think is an excellent way to turn lemons and make some outstanding lemonade in a group setting.

The best run organizations run in an environment where members can feel free to make mistakes, admit to them in a group, and not feel like there will be dire consequences (within reason). It’s not easy to admit to a mistake. It’s far easier to try to sweep things under the carpet and pretend they don’t exists. However, think of all the damage done when members feel like it’s in their best interest to either deny or, worse yet, displace blame.

Embrace the mistake. “Yep, I screwed up. Here’s what I did. Here’s what I/we learned. Here’s what we’re going to do.”

In this current technological age, it’s pretty easy to set up an internal or restricted access Wiki. Put the information there for people to reference and learn from. There’s no need to make it personal. The information can be added such that no names are involved at all. Just the facts, ma’am. Now the organization that suffered from the mistake can now benefit from that cost.

What about personal failures? Even been fired? Ever file for bankrupcy? Opportunities! Both of them.

What did you do that got you into that situation? Are you going to do it again? Maybe it wasn’t anything you felt you did wrong, but went out on a limb to try something new and it “failed.” If that organization isn’t strong enough or savvy enough to try new things to grow, then maybe the lesson learned is to not associate with that type of organization again.

The key thing I’ll hope you remember, sometimes the biggest failures result in the biggest successes.

Stories you’d like to share? I think we could all benefit from hearing about how you turned a difficult situation around and learned from the experience.

Written by Jeff York

February 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm