Skip navigation
2016

New small business owners often look for experience when hiring a new employee. When you are new to business and have a need, or a position that needs to be filled, it makes sense that you might initially look for someone who has done this kind of work before.

 

But the interesting thing is that after a few years in business, for most entrepreneurs, experience becomes much less important. Indeed, according to the latest Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, experience comes in at a distant second in terms of importance when looking to hire.

 

So, what is number one? I will get to that in a moment, but let’s first consider why seasoned small business owners find experience to be less than a great marker for a potentially great employee.

 

There are two things that are inherent drawbacks to hiring for experience:

 

  1. It limits your pool of applicants.
  2. And it pigeonholes the applicants you receive.

 

Sure, experience is helpful, but making that the focal point of a job search means that other things, for example, growth potential, cultural fit, skills and smarts are less important. It also means that you, as the recruiter, may miss out on some really good people; people who won’t apply because your post said, “3 years’ experience necessary” and they don’t have that (yet). Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Experience is nice, but limiting.

 

That’s why I wasn’t surprised to see that, according to the spring 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, the characteristic that is far more important in the hiring process for the business owners surveyed is “skill level”. According to the report:

 

  • 49% of the small business owners surveyed said that the most important thing they look for when hiring is someone’s skill level
  • 24% said it was fit with company culture, and
  • 24% said it was work experience

 

That certainly is true for small business owner Jamie Glassman. For Glassman, owner of JAZ Condominium & Property Management in Washington, D.C., personality is most important when looking to hire.

 

Glassman, one of the small business owners interviewed by Bank of America for the report, says that what he looks for are people who will be a great fit with his company; “people who are personable, smart, articulate and customer-service oriented.” Glassman says that those types of qualities are far more important than finding someone with a lot of experience and a long resume. “That’s not necessarily that important,” he goes on to say.

 

Why is it that small business owners like Glassman look for fit and skills instead of experience? The answer lies in what makes for a great business. Businesses are not monolithic. They are made up of people – people who do business with other people. As such, the best businesses tend to have employees who are versatile – folks who can not only do the job they were hired to do, but who can think on their feet, interact well with customers, take the initiative, and so on. Skills are transferable, and that is why experience in a particular job matters far less to these small business owners.

 

Find people who fit your culture and have transferable skills and you are set.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Early summer is the traditional time when we as a nation honor moms with Mother’s Day and dads with Father’s Day. However, in the small business world we know that if we were creating holidays, there would be one more person we would want to acknowledge: Spouses. Husbands. Wives. Girlfriends and boyfriends. Partners.

 

My dear old Dad was the first and best entrepreneur I ever knew. But he didn’t do it alone, just like you and I don’t do it alone. Dad had a great, and sometimes to outward appearances silent, partner: Mom. But I didn’t know it at the time. Back then, when I was growing up, I remember my Mom saying how she and my Dad had created that businesses and grew it together. Being young and arrogant, I always humored Mom when she said that. I knew it was really my Dad who built that business.

 

That is, of course, until I grew up.

 

I have this pet theory: I think every great cuisine has a ‘secret ingredient’ that gives that food its unique flavor. For Chinese food, it is sesame oil. Mexican food? Cilantro. What I didn't know when I was a young kid is that a spouse, be it a husband, wife, or significant other, is the secret ingredient in the recipe that makes for a great small business.

 

This is true for all sorts of reasons.

 

First of all, the vast majority of small businesses are run by intrepid solopreneur, self-employed people. These may be sole proprietors or freelancers, but whatever the case, it is usually a situation where one person wears a lot of hats, and that is where a mate comes in. If the good news about working alone is that there is no one to report to or to bug you, the bad news is that you end up in a vacuum where it is hard to get perspective. For many people, it is their spouse who becomes their trusted advisor and sounding board.

 

Another reason partners are so important to the small businessperson is that they can be more frank with you than probably anyone else. Is that idea as great as you think? Maybe, but maybe not, and certainly your spouse will tell you why. Additionally, the advice you get from th

em will likely be unique: While mates may not know your businesses as well as you do, that can also be a

Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png

blessing. By discussing business issues with a ‘layman’, you get a perspective that can at times be invaluable.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Additionally, needless to say, spouses also often help out in the business by picking up the slack, handing the books, shipping a package, and more.

 

Of course, your partner keeps the home fires burning too. We all know that starting and running a small business is a major commitment. Having a supportive teammate can make things easier by taking care of some extra household duties, especially in the first few years of the business when the time commitment to the business is usually the hardest.

 

Finally, a great mate can help boost morale when it is needed, and cheer you on when things are going well.

 

So, although my dear, sweet Mom is no longer with us, I would still like to say, “You were right, Mom. You did help build that business.” And to all of the great spouses and partners out there, we would like to thank you very, very much. We couldn't do it without you.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Employees are the lifeblood of every small business. An adroit loyal workforce can help small business owners build a successful enterprise efficiently and profitably. So it’s no surprise that acquiring and retaining the best talent is among the most important ongoing tasks for an entrepreneur. Earning a decent wage is a perpetual concern, but new issues have also become part of the employment negotiation, such as paid family leave and opportunities for employees to develop their skills. As you search for and try to hold onto top talent, consider these hiring strategies.

 

employees_02.jpg
employees_03.jpg
employees_04.jpg
employees_05.jpg
employees_06.jpg
employees_07.jpg
employees_08.jpg
employees_09.jpg
employees_10.jpg
employees_11.jpg
employees_12.jpg
Sources:
1. Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition—Recruitment and Screening. Society For Human Resource Management Survey. January 7, 2016.
https://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/pages/social-media-recruiting-screening-2015.aspx

 

2. Talent Acquisition: Recruitment and Selection. Society For Human Resource Management Survey. April 18, 2016.
https://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/pages/talent-acquisition-recruitment-and-selection.aspx

 

3. 5 Tips to Attract, Keep and Motivate Your Employees. Business Know-How.
http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/attractworkforce.htm

 

4. Employee Recruitment Strategies: How to Attract (& Retain) Top Talent. Huffington Post, December 29, 2015.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-jacoby/employee-recruitment-stra_1_b_8885714.html

 

5. Small business advice: How to attract and retain loyal millennials. The Washington Post, July 21, 2015.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-small-business/wp/2015/07/21/small-business-advice-how-to-attract-and-retain-loyal-millennials/

 

6. 5 Secrets to Retaining Great Employees. Small Business Trends, January 22, 2016.
http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/01/retaining-good-employees.html

 

7. What Attracts the Best Employees to a Company? Gallup, February 16, 2016.
http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/189212/attracts-best-employees-company.aspx

 

8. 7 Compensation Tactics To Help Retain Employees. CNBC, January 12, 2012.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/46045960

 

9. 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Attract and Retain Talent. SmallBizClub, July 26, 2013.
http://smallbizclub.com/run-and-grow/human-resources/5-ways-small-businesses-can-attract-and-retain-talent/

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only.
Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license.
The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc.
Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

ProductiveMeetings_Body.jpgBy Heather R. Johnson.

 

Of all the hours small business owners spend in meetings, how much of that time is productive? Late arrivals, tangent-talkers, and disorganized agendas can easily turn a 30-minute meeting into an hour-long discussion. Follow these tips to make your meetings more efficient for everyone.

 

Do you really need to meet?

Andrea Driessen, “Chief Boredom Buster” of No More Boring Meetings, says to meet only when there is a problem to solve. “This helps eliminate some of the standard meetings we get stuck in,” she says. If there isn’t a problem to solve during your regular Tuesday meeting, maybe you don’t need to meet.

 

Prioritize the agenda

Organize the agenda in order of priority, with the most important item first. “Everything else can follow,” says Driessen. Move lighter topics to the end, when people are more mentally fatigued and tend to watch the clock.

 

Streamline the agenda

Reasonably estimate how many topics you can cover in 30 to 60 minutes. “If it requires dialog, problem solving conversation, or negotiation, keep it on the agenda,” says Driessen. Otherwise, check it off the list.

 

ProductiveMeetings_PQ.jpgPrepare

Hosts and guests alike should arrive to the meeting prepared. Hosts and attendees can distribute reading material, background information, and reports in advance of the meeting. That way, you can use meeting time for questions and conversation rather than reviewing paperwork.

 

Arrive on time

Much to the irritation of the punctual, latecomers delay and disrupt a meeting. Respect your colleagues—arrive on time and start your meetings on time. If you have a habitually late guest, author Jon Petz suggests a game of “pass the pad.” Give the last person to arrive a notebook or electronic device and delegate them the meeting note-taker. If someone arrives later, the pad gets passed to him. “This results in quick behavior changes with little effort,” says Driessen.

 

Cut the tangents

Driessen suggests that meeting hosts designate a “tangent officer” that can politely interrupt the rambler. The tangent officer then offers to either add the topic to the end of the agenda or save it for another meeting.

 

Invite the right people—and keep them accountable

Only invite people that have a stake in the meeting topics, Driessen suggests. This naturally keeps the meeting to a reasonable size and helps to avoid tangents from people unfamiliar with the topics.

 

Often meetings involve lots of discussion but no action. To ensure that ideas move forward, Driessen suggests a Post Program Pair-Up. Match participants with an “accountability buddy.” Ask guests to record at least one goal related to the meeting that they can complete by a certain date. The accountability buddies check in with one another to make sure they meet their goals. This buddy system, or something similar, will help you get stronger results and measurable accountability from your meetings.

 

With advance planning, you and your colleagues can hold and attend productive meetings. With fewer, but more purposeful, meetings, you can create more space in your day and enhance your business’s productivity.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

One of the things I have enjoyed most about my ongoing partnership with Bank of America is getting to know the business of small business banking and lending so much better. Generally speaking, I think it is an area that a lot of small business people misunderstand, and this was certainly true for me when I started my first business. When I first started out, I initially used the Friends & Family Investment plan. Now I know that there are better, more professional options available.

 

Chief among the financial misunderstandings amongst most small business people is what it actually takes to get a bank loan for their business. I think the process intimidates many entrepreneurs.

 

It shouldn’t.

 

What I know now that I didn’t know then is that banks (like my friends at Bank of America) want to lend you money. That is their business, after all. It is our job therefore to make their job easier.

 

Here’s how:

 

1. Create a relationship with your banker: This was the big eye-opener for me. Before you ever go into the bank with your loan package, it Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.pngwould behoove you to have created a relationship with a small business banker beforehand. They are there, ready to help you prepare the strongest loan package you can. But that can only happen if you meet with them beforehand.

 

2. Figure out how much you need: This needs to be thought through very carefully. It’s like Goldilocks’ porridge – you don’t want to ask for too little (because that would result in a capital shortage quickly) and you don’t want to ask for too much (because the bank would question your judgment and business plan). You need to ask for an amount that is just right. Your banker can help you figure this out.

 

You also want to be sure that you are seeking funds for the right reasons. Getting a loan because you are consistently not turning a profit is a bad reason. Getting a loan to finance a necessary piece of equipment is a good reason.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

3. Get your personal credit in order: Not all loans require a personal guarantee on the part of the principal, but many do, so you need to be sure that your credit score is in line with what lenders are looking for. The business’ financials need to be in order as well. Lenders will look at:

 

  • Your credit score: Above 700 is desired.
  • Debt to income ratio: How much do you owe versus how much do you make?
  • Credit history: Do you pay debts back on time and in full?
  • Length of time in business: The longer the better.
  • Cash flow: More is better.

 

4. Prepare your loan package: Your package will include financials, projections, business plan, leases and relevant contracts, and personal financial information. The relationship you previously created with your small business banker can help here too as you can make your introductory letter more personal and he or she will already know you and your business.

 

5. Submit and wait: Depending upon the size of the loan, the bank’s decision may come in a few days or it may be a few weeks.

 

6. Repay: The secret to getting an even bigger and better loan (better rates and terms) is paying your loan back in full and on time. Paying it back early is even better. Do that and you will have established your business as not only credit-worthy, but also the type of business with a bank wants to do more business with.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

DontGiveTime_Body.jpgBy Heather R. Johnson.

 

Small business owners everywhere, regardless of profession or industry, will face the question soon enough: “Can I pick your brain about something?” Or, more vaguely, “Can we chat about business?” It’s flattering to know that you have knowledge to offer, and may genuinely want to help others, but business owners must value their time. Time spent dispensing free advice over coffee is time that could be spent growing the business.

 

When the question comes, it’s perfectly acceptable, even preferable, to politely decline. “I provide a valuable service, and it’s my business,” says Beth Donalds, a business coach based in northern New Jersey. “I afford my contacts the same courtesy that I give my clients. If you don’t value your services, how can any one else?”

 

Protect your investment

When contacts approach Donalds in a social setting, she responds with a version of the following: “Those are really good questions. I don’t think this is the place to discuss this, but I have a special pick-my-brain session for these situations that’s $90.” She hands them her card and asks them to schedule time with her. Many times, they don’t. But her response falls in line with her business values.

 

Protecting your time also applies to friends and family, but must be managed with care. Donalds recommends that business owners set a policy and stick with it. For example, a business owner may decide to charge everyone except his or her immediate family. “I tell clients to be true to themselves,” Donalds says. “I have best friends for 50 years that I charge, but I won’t charge my brother or my mother.”

 

In addition to a polite decline and a fee-based consulting offer, business owners can consider alternative ways to help colleagues with minimal time and effort. Regardless, remember to value your expertise:

 

DontGiveTime_PQ.jpgPick up the phone

Some business owners will agree to a 10-minute phone conversation. Donalds says that even this approach devalues your time. An exception applies when the business model includes a free 20-minute consultation. “Some business owners use this approach to vet potential clients,” she says. “That’s fine, because the business owner gets value from it.”

 

Offer referrals

Refer the contact to your blog or website, a trade publication, or a book that might be helpful.

 

Educate others

If you receive multiple requests for the same type of information, consider producing a webinar or hosting a workshop. The program could generate extra income for your business and answer those prevalent questions—for a fee.

 

Whatever route you choose, always protect and value your time. And remember, if the contact or client gets offended or angry, they probably aren’t the person to do business with.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Filter Article

By tag: