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How to Hire the Right People

interviewHiring the right people for your business is crucial, but equally important is being a good manager for your employees. According to an article on forbes.com entitled, The 7C’s: How to Find and Hire Great Employees, there are 7 C’s that you have to keep in mind during the hiring process.

The first C is for competent.  You should make sure that any person that you’re considering hiring is competent in your field of business. You don’t want to hire a networking person as a sales man.  The skills needed are too different.

The second C is capable. Is the person capable of working hard with little supervision?  The more people you hire that are capable the less you will have to worry about what they are doing while you’re out on business trips.

According to Forbes the third C is compatible. You should keep in mind the people that you currently have employed and how the potential candidate would fit in with those people.  Does the candidate seem to have the ability to fit in?  Would they easily talk to potential clients?

The fourth C is Commitment.  Does the potential candidate seem like they would be committed to the position? Do they have a history of floating from one job to another job? Make sure to inquire about their previous work history.  Ask about why they left their previous positions and why they are looking for new employment.

I have seen companies that put a required two years of employment in their contract, and if the employee quits before the two years are over they owe the company the cost of their training.  I’m not sure how I feel about clauses like this, but it seems to work for these institutions.

The fifth C is character.  Character and compatibility can almost fit together as one C.  The Character deals with how the potential employee handles themselves.  Does it seem that they can take criticism? Do they seem like an honest person?

Make sure to do background checks on each of your potential employees.  Also, use social media to your advantage.  What someone puts on their social media pages can tell you a lot about the person’s true character.

The sixth C is culture.  Forbe’s says that, “Workers who don’t reflect a company’s culture tend to be disruptive and difficult.” An office needs to run like an ecosystem, but a very delicate ecosystem similar to the barrier reef.  You don’t want to hire someone who seems like they are low energy and put them in your high energy ecosystem.

Another example is someone who is not a team player, and the rest of your employees are working marvelously as a team.  Bringing in a bad team player can wreck your business.

The final C is compensation.  You need to spend an appropriate amount of money on your employees.  It is so important that they feel valued and they aren’t looking for another job that has a better salary.  You want to keep your employees with you as long as possible because it takes a lot of money to recruit and train new employees.


Being in the Business of Small Businesses

Coaching chalkboard

It takes a lot of knowledge to be taken seriously in the world of business mentoring. How to run a successful business isn’t something that you can learn by attending classes. It is something you learn by having hands on experiences.

I graduated with my MBA from an Ivy League school. I was young and dumb and I thought the world was going to bow to my amazingness. I was wrong.  As it turns out, nobody really cared about me or my dreams.  I started my first business while I was still in college, it failed miserably.

I was okay with its failure.  I told myself, “You just haven’t finished your education yet; your next idea is going to be awesome.” Once I graduated I tried to start another business.  It also failed miserably.  After this failure my parents cut me off.  They refused to support any other business ventures that I tried to show them.

Initially I was hurt, but I picked myself up out of the woe-is-me pity party I was having, and tried again.  This time I started a software company.  I was determined not to fail, and now that my parents were no longer supporting me I had to work my bum off.  I had never been totally on my own before, but it really was the best thing that ever happened to me.

At the beginning of my software company there were a lot of sleepless nights. The building I rented had a tiny studio apartment above it and that’s where I slept. If this company failed, I would have nothing left.

I worked hard and hired the right people.  The success of any business really depends on the management/employee relationship.  You can’t be a bad manager and have talented employees continue to work for you.  At the same time, you can’t be a great boss, but be working with horrible employees.  Really, hiring the right people is crucial to any business.

My software company started to take off.  Soon we were getting orders from all around the world.  We almost ccouldn’tkeep up with the demand.  I had to quadruple my staff in the first two years, and we continued to grow from there. We expanded the sorts of products we offered and things were going great.

I was even able to hire someone to take my place in the everyday running of my business.  I only had to check in once a week to make sure everything was going well. Eventually, I received a huge offer from a competitor to buy us out. It was not a decision I took lightly, but who doesn’t want to retire at 35.  I accepted the offer and just took a few years off.

It turns out that one bad thing about retiring at 40 is the amount of boredom you experience.  Going from a busy business, to sitting around in a lounge chair on a beach was a huge change of pace, and something I wasn’t quite comfortable with.

That’s when I decided what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  I was going to mentor small businesses and use my knowledge of failure and success to help them grow. My favorite part of my own business wasn’t so much the success as the struggle getting there.

I have been mentoring businesses for 5 years now with great success.  I enjoy my job and my life very much.  Being involved with different amazing brand new products is so much fun.  Humans never fail to amaze me with their creativity.


How to Successfully Market Your Small Business

How to watch Netflix overseas

Hey there, new small business owner! You’re off to a great start. You’ve got a brand new idea with serious moneymaking potential. You’ve done the paperwork, mapped out a plan for progress, and got a few good people on board the brain trust. Now, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to market your company, because marketing can define the difference between dazzling success and crushing failure.

First things first: You must understand your customer base and how to communicate with them. Your customers are your cash, and how they respond to your company image is the yardstick by which your prosperity will be measured. Research the demographic, learn what they like, and form your company image to fit the niche you aim to fill.

Similarly, focus on marketing to and specifically to your customer base. Do not waste your energy on marketing to “everyone”. Failing to speak directly to your company’s unique customer demographic will cause your marketing efforts to feel insincere and impersonal to the people who would otherwise be loyal consumers. Identify who you want your customers to be, and put your efforts towards winning those people over.

If your business start-up hinges upon a highly innovative idea, don’t be quick to hinge your marketing strategies on traditional consumer values. New ideas require and deserve a new approach to how you choose to launch them into the public eye, and your efforts in this area can make or break your future triumph. A great example of this can be seen in the 2011 business documentary Something Ventured, which examines the lifetimes of some of the world’s most successful companies including Apple and Google, and can be streamed via Netflix. (International readers can learn how to view Netflix anywhere by going here.)

Creativity is good, but before you strike out on a quest of trailblazing, never-before-seen marketing, make sure you’ve personally formed a strong concept of precisely what not to do. Don’t be the company with the horrible website full of flash graphics, a DOS-themed layout, font in Comic Sans, and an 8-bit recording from 1997 playing in the background with no way for visitors to turn it off (come on, the year is 2014 and I shouldn’t have to explain this one). Don’t spam for “follows” or “likes” on social media, don’t buy into cheesy customer interaction gimmicks, and don’t make overblown claims about what your company can offer.

Those aforementioned “do’s and don’ts” warnings aside, learn how to use social media as a marketing tool. The entire globe is plugged into social media, and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine, and the endless plethora of others, have a potential reach that is, for all practical purposes, infinite. Learn how to attract your customer base using social media profiles and all the marketing tools they have to offer.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but make sure you have a worthwhile product to offer before you launch your business. Don’t launch a business for the sake of a business – have an item, a service, or an idea that you know people are going to want. If you don’t have your anchor, you’re just setting yourself adrift in a sea of wishy-washy business strategy and aimless marketing.

On the flip side of that coin: Push towards clearly defining your brand and your product, but don’t obsess over having something 100% clear-cut and perfect before you start working on actually making money. How you do initial business with your customers will help your brand evolve, help you refine your product, and help your company become something lasting and memorable. What I’m saying is that you don’t necessarily need to have the perfect company name and logo before you start doing real business. You make the brand; the brand doesn’t make you.

Finally, I’d like to say: Congratulations on your new business! I must caution you that your road to success won’t be an easy one, but hard work and ingenuity go quite a ways further in the world of business than just having a big budget for shiny tricks. Good luck to all you small business owners out there – I’ll be seeing you all in Forbes next year, I’m sure!