Breaking Down a Business Plan for Your Small Business

Breaking Down a Business Plan for Your Small Business

If you are new to the small business world, you may overwhelm yourself with the specifics of a business plan. Do you really need a business plan? The answer to this question highly depends on your line of work and how large your business is in the beginning. [Read more...]

Better Ways to Communicate With Employees

As a start-up owner or new entrepreneur, you may find it difficult to manage employees while running your company. Indeed, entrepreneurs work beyond overtime in this department, but there are several things you can do to make sure your employees are all on the same page. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open at all times so your employees feel appreciated and will work at their full capacity for you.

  • Keep an open door policy.
  • Reward accordingly.
  • Never be passive aggressive.

The best start-up owner has an open door policy with employees. This means he or she allows employees to come in and talk to them at any time about any matter. This is awesome because it gives autonomy to the employees to talk to you as they see fit. In most start-ups people are doing many jobs at once, so it’s integral to have employees that feel comfortable communicating with you over any issue, no matter how small.

Rewarding your team accordingly. Recognize those who take initiative and are willing to take risks with new ideas. Be open and honest about who is pulling their weight because it will motivate everyone on the team. Never be passive aggressive with employees. You never want to lose their respect because you aren’t saying what’s on your mind. Be direct, concise and honest. This will allow you to weed out anyone who isn’t on board with your vision and allow you to put your resources into someone who does.

How to Hire Smart Employees for Your Start-up

How to Hire Smart Employees for Your Start-up
The college degree doesn’t get you what it used to, in terms of a job or an employee. In the competitive job market, people apply for any and every job under the sun. When it comes to your start-up you need smart, innovative thinkers who are buzzing 24/7 for new ways to take your business to the next level. A college degree gives you enough information to know the person is efficient and dedicated enough to finish a degree, but there’s a lot more you need from an employee to see your business thrive.

Things to Look for in Potential Employees

  • Enthusiastic and driven.
  • Thinks outside of the box.
  • Is not afraid of giving or receiving critiques.

Look for people who are enthusiastic and driven and have the track record to show it. These people should have stellar references and be able to rattle off their accomplishments for previous employers. Everyone is enthusiastic and seems driven during an interview. Gauge the person’s attitude in emails, their cover-letter and any follow-up conversations you have to weed out those who are putting on a show versus those who are passionate and willing to put in the elbow grease too.

The interview should wow you. This potential employee should be willing to show that they think outside of the box, are open to new ideas and happy to try things that aren’t proven to work in the name of innovation. Every company needs an eccentric to keep things interesting.

The employee should be able to give and receive critiques easily. This is part of the start-up journey. A lot of the ideas you try will not work. You want a team of people who are honest and can go out on a limb to make things work for the long haul.

How to Wisely Invest Time on Social Media

How to Wisely Invest Time on Social Media
Social media is a fantastic tool for building your business, but if you aren’t well-versed in the subject you could end up spending far too much time on social media platforms. Social media should take up a good part of your time, but you want to use that time wisely so it’s working for you.

Be smart about the time allocated to social media. Especially in the beginning of building your online following, it will take a lot of time and research to cultivate a strong online personality. Ultimately, your social media profiles are the first thing many people see when they discover your business.

 

 Post Often

The number one rule of investing time on social media is to keep it regular. Once you get going, you don’t want to lose that momentum and become out of touch with what’s happening on that social media platform.

Start Small

You don’t have to be everywhere. Start with Facebook and Twitter. If your business and time allow, add tumblr, Pinterest or Google+ to the mix. Different platforms work for different businesses, but Facebook and Twitter are the two that convert the most consumers into dollars for your business.

Be Yourself

People don’t want a brand that’s all marketing and product-pushing. Instead, be yourself and give the public a peek into the wacky world of a start-up business. It isn’t conventional, but that’s what makes your feed unique. Be yourself, be honest and genuine with your audience.

How to Hire Productive People

How to Hire Productive People
For any small business or start-up you are looking for people who are smart, eager and hungry to help your business grow. It’s no mistake that many people will end up working with numerous start-ups over the course of their careers. This because for the creative types it takes to make a start-up take off, the wheels are always turning.

 Hire Those With Relevant Experience

Start-ups are cloudy at times because many people on the team will wear multiple hats. Hire people who have experience in the tasks you’re hiring them for. It’s easy to find someone who is super passionate about a project or idea during the interview process. You need someone who is going to channel that enthusiasm into their work on a day to day basis.

Hire Those With Drive

This is tough, but you must make a judgment call based on various things in order to hire a person with drive. Look at their past accomplishments. Quiz them on what they see being the best plan of action for your start-up. Give that person the opportunity to think out loud because this may be the place where you can see their tenacity.

 Test The Person First

The beauty of start-ups is you can almost always arrange to hire a person on a consultant or independent contractor basis. This means you can see what the person produces in three months or six months before committing. This gives you the chance to see just what this person will do for your company.

How to Foster a Strong Start-up Culture

How to Foster a Strong Start-up Culture
As a start-up begins its journey, it is essential for entrepreneurs and leaders to create a strong company culture. How people interact and management in the work place is changing. With a start-up or small business, you can control the environment and create the type of work culture that fosters creativity, teamwork and encourages employees to excel.

  • Allow autonomy.
  • Be open to ideas and criticism.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and learn from them.

Help Your Start-up Grow as a Team

Teamwork is vital for any start-up. In the beginning stages of any company, a person can wear many hats. The most important thing is to allow for autonomy from the people you hire. When you are a very small team, everyone must be able and willing to take on multiple responsibilities. It isn’t about time on the clock, as much as it’s about what’s done with that time. Allowing autonomy encourages people to make decisions and stay on top of responsibilities they’re delegated.

Allow your team to be open to ideas and criticism by displaying this practice yourself. Always open the floor for ideas and accept honest opinions from employees. Another set of eyes is always great for a start-up and you may not see what a new employee perceives. Lastly, acknowledge mistakes and learn from them with your team. If your team members see you doing this, they will do the same which means more productivity and better results in the long run.

How to Create Culture as a Start-up Entrepreneur

How to Create Culture as a Start-up Entrepreneur
We know start-ups rely heavily on culture, but how much of a rule does the start-up entrepreneur play in creating that culture? As it turns out, a lot. You are the face and voice of the brand to your employees. What you do is reflected in how your employees interact with each other and what they put into the job. Can you take a slacker and turn them into an overachiever? No, but you can foster a start-up culture that lets various types of people blend to create the best results for your company.

Demonstrate Your Core Values Regularly

Monkey see, monkey do. Your core values are reflected every day in how you interact with employees and clients. Your employees want to feel you’re a natural leader for this company and this will encourage them to work productively with the company’s greater goal in mind. Whatever you want from employees you need to be willing to demonstrate every day in the work place.

While you may not have a formula for creating the exact culture you want, you do have a hand in creating the environment in which that culture will organically occur. This includes a light, bright work space that will help employees feel motivated about work. The better a space looks, the more likely people enjoy being there.

Realize that you aren’t the only deciding factor in company culture, but as the start-up entrepreneur you do play a large role. Make the most of this and let it inspire and motivate employees and anyone who learns about your company.

How Entrepreneurs Can Learn to Connect

How Entrepreneurs Can Learn to Connect
There’s no doubt that as an entrepreneur, you must connect with everyone. Potential investors, your employees, new customers. It’s all about who you know in any business. Making a great first impression and learning how to connect with people counts in a major way when you’re getting your business off the ground or taking it to the next level. These are easy ways to connect with anyone you cross paths with.

  • Be genuine.
  • Help other people.
  • Pay attention.

Business Owners Learn to Connect

First and foremost, be genuine. Whether you’re learning about someone’s company or explaining your own, be genuine in all of your efforts to connect. People can smell a con artist a mile away, particularly investors and those who have worked with several start-ups. Over time, you begin to experience people who are just after you because of where you work or who you associate with. Make sure you smile, listen attentively when spoken to and ask questions.

Help people. Not everyone will ask, but if there’s something you can do to help someone out, make yourself available. Helping someone is the best way to make a lasting impression. You can’t guarantee they will help you in return, but that shouldn’t be the mentality going in. Look at it as an investment for your business and your place as an entrepreneur connecting with others in the industry.

Pay attention to what’s happening around you. You can connect people who might click or benefit from each other and for this, you could be handsomely rewarded. Paying attention allows you to see just how easy it is to connect with everyone interested in your project.

How Customer Recommendations Help Your Business

How Customer Recommendations Help Your Business
These days, the average consumer is more educated than ever. Many shoppers spend 2-6 hours researching a purchase. The number of hours spent researching a product increases by double when it comes to major purchases such as a vehicle. No matter what your product or service is, you want to be the first business people think of when your niche pops into the conversation.

Customer recommendations can be divided into the following categories:

  • Conversational.
  • Specific recommendations.
  • Honest opinions.

Conversational Recommendations

This is when your industry or niche comes up and someone recommends you on the spot. This is the least likely way to grow a business in the digital age, but it is a good thing to have on your side. If you are experienced with networking and know people in your field, this will be a more common form of recommendations. For most people, the conversational recommendation now comes through social media sites.

Specific Recommendations

On social media, these are more likely to occur. The specific recommendation will give a reason why you are the preferred product or brand for the demand. If someone says, “What is the next eye shadow I should try?” it may be followed with a specific recommendation such as, “Try ____! It is longwearing even on hot summer nights!”

 Honest Opinions

Honest opinions are also common on social media. This is when someone gives a verbal or written glowing review of your services or product. Honest opinions count a lot, especially on the web where people are sometimes wary of who exactly wrote what they’re reading. Some people love reviews and use them as the make or break in choosing a purchase.

How to Help Your Start-up Team Think Big

power meeting from above
Start-ups struggle from many angles, but one of the most important things is to help your team see the big picture. In order to do this, employees must be encouraged to think big. Some of this depends on the people you hire. As any good entrepreneur will tell you, go with your gut when choosing who is on your team to represent the brand or product. You want people who are motivated, excited about the brand or product and understand the big picture.

 

Help Your Start-up Team Think Outside of the Box

You want your employees and team members to think big, right? This means giving them the creative and intellectual freedom to think outside of the box. With new media and various social networking platforms, brands and companies are free to experiment with what they think works for their goals and their consumer or audience. Encourage your team to think outside of the box by accepting off the wall ideas and giving team members the autonomy to put these new ideas into play. You never know what wild idea may be a goldmine, which is why you want to create an environment where free thinking and zany tactics are welcomed.

  • Encourage brainstorming in pairs or groups.
  • Allow peer critiques.
  • Accept failure, learn from it and know when to move on to a better tactic.

These are just a few of the new ways businesses are allowing teams to think big. Whether you’re a creative enterprise or a business that’s all numbers, it’s essential to think outside of the box for a successful plan that excites your demographic.