Small Business Wisdom Contest Grand Prize Winners!

What a fantastic time we had during Small Business Week!

Sparta

Cathy Dilger of C3Workplace, Sparta Mayor Molly Whilesmith, & Margaret Kranz of Valley National Bank with a proclamation recognizing Small Business Week

Not only did we get the chance to recognize local small businesses and all the good they do for our communities, but we also had the chance to kick back and celebrate with our own C3Workplace community (our favorite part!). The spirit of collaboration was alive as our comarketers helped us to provide educational & networking events, with over 15 events throughout the week! We even helped Sparta’s Mayor, Molly Whilesmith, ring in Small Business Week for Sparta Township!

Of course, our success was due in large part to the participation of our C3Workplace Community! We had such an outstanding response to our events, especially our Small Business Wisdom Contest. With tons of great submissions, it was tough to single out only six for the grand prizes!

Here are the prizes they won:

  • Earn More Workshop tuition, courtesy of C3Workplace ($1,750 value)
  • Website SEO Review, courtesy of Paradigm Marketing & Design ($495 value)
  • QuickBooks 3 Week Class, courtesy of C3Workplace Accounting Division ($595 value)
  • Microsoft Windows Pro 8, courtesy of Constant Contact ($199 value)
  • Cross-cut Shredder, courtesy of Valley National Bank
  • Computer Accessories Gift Basket w/ $25 Gift Card, courtesy of Valley National Bank

Below is a list of our randomly selected Grand Prize Winners with their entries:

Richard Simmons – www.thealternativeboard.co.nz

In business, your personal belief is everything! If you believe you can’t, you will be proved correct. If you believe you can, then you are 80% of the way to achieving the outcome you seek. Believe to succeed!

(Marketing)

Laura Osborn – www.CrothersHRConsulting.com

HIRE SLOW, FIRE FAST

Determining what specifically your needs are and then interviewing for the right fit are often things that people do too quickly… or without enough thought. We often hear after the fact “I hired my friend, or I built the job around Susie”.

When figuring out job specs in a small company, think about what you (and your current employees) like to do best and are good at – then think about what pieces take longer than they should or those you dread doing. Those are potentially the tasks to put into the new job and find someone who Likes doing those things to be a compliment to the current office mix. Consider things like:

  • full time or part time (can it be filled with 2 part time people vs. 1 full-time, giving you back up?
  • can the person work from home or do they need to be in the office?
  • what is the market compensation for this job and how much can I afford to pay?
  • do they need any special skills, experience or certifications?

Then interview people for the job and make sure they fill the top requirements of the job, don’t settle quickly to have a warm body in the seat. Take your time to get the right person that will fill your needs and fit with the culture of your organization. ** We suggest you look for people who are used to working hard and willing to do whatever it takes – small companies don’t have the luxury of having narrowly defined roles.

Finally, if you have someone in a role that isn’t working out, make the break quickly. Many times we hear – “they’re my friend, they’re trying so hard, I just hate hurting people, they need this job”… all excuses for procrastinating a very hard conversation. In the end, our golden rules when firing are:

  1. Be honest, but brief about why it isn’t working
  2. Always treat the person with respect in a way that preserves their dignity.

Here are ways we suggest doing that when possible to help them feel valued and preserve dignity:

  • Allow them some control in the process:
  • discuss the situation with them directly when you realize there is a problem, so they have time to try and correct it
  • give them notice time to start interviewing,
  • if cordial, allow them to tell the rest of the team and stage their exit
  • give some severance compensation to tie them over for a little while and have them sign a release
  • Don’t pack them up and march them out the door, let them clean up and finish out the day/week and transition (this helps them feel they were valued, but it’s just not working).

(Human Resources)

Robin Gronsky – www.smallbusinesslawyernj.com

Create a team of advisors or an informal board of directors to give you advice on legal, tax, profitability, what steps to take to get your business to the next level, how to manage growth. Make it a mix of professionals and successful business owners.

(Operations)

Deborah Herr – www.deborahherr.com

Be Responsive! One of the biggest complaints customers have in dealing with large companies is that they can’t get a fast or a straight answer. Responsiveness is something that will differentiate your small business or service. When customers or potential customers make an inquiry or a complaint, get back to them and acknowledge the message as soon as you can. This is what smart phones are for – to keep up with your calls, messages and emails. If you don’t have an answer, say so. Tell them that you will respond soon with a definitive answer, price, or plan. People will notice and tell others how easy you are to work with.

(Operations)

Cathy Walker – www.sbconsultingnow.com

What is an Operations Manual and does a small business need one?

An Operations Manual is a written standard for your business. It is a reference manual that you and your employees can refer to when needed. Every business can benefit from having an Operations Manual. It doesn’t have to be large, just useful to your business.

Some items that should be covered in your manual are:
Checklist for your business-

  • Opening/closing procedures
  • Daily cleaning for the business.
  • How to answer the phone

Contact list –What if issues arise and the owner is not there?

  • Owner contact information
  • Contact information for all employees
  • Contact information for emergencies
  • Landlord contact if owner is not available

Policies –

  • Customer polices
  • Return polices
  • Payment methods
  • Dress Code if applicable
  • What to do if an employee needs to call in sick
  • Use of cell phones

The operations manual can give your business consistency and teach your employees how to give a consistent quality customer experience. An operations manual will result in better trained employees. Everyone will know what needs to be done and what is expected of them.

Operations Manuals should be updated at least twice a year, and will grow and change as your business grows and changes.

(Operations)

Andrea Ruchelman – www.runto1coaching.com

Find like-minded business owners and create joint ventures. As one you can do great things, but having collaborative partners with shared goals opens more opportunities than going at it alone.

(Marketing)

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you everyone for a successful Small Business Week!

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