kristymlopez

Archive for the ‘What You Need To Know About Small Business’ Category

Explaining the Processing Time for EB-5 Visas

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 22, 2019 at 1:13 pm

An EB-5 program is a visa program that has been created specifically for stimulating the economy of the United States by creating job and capital investments by foreigners. Any foreign investor interested in applying for permanent residence in the United States has the opportunity to apply for this program. The investor only needs to make a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise in the US which will lead to the creation of at least 10 permanent jobs for US workers.

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Getting Your Staff Up To Speed With Your Systems

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 22, 2019 at 11:56 am

Hiring new staff is an exciting process. It’s always nice to see fresh faces within your office, full of enthusiasm and the willingness to progress their careers. If hiring staff for the first time, this can serve as a very interesting milestone when crafting your business. However, no matter who you hire or how your hiring process is ran, at some point, you will need to acclimate said employee to your systems, and your means of conducting business.

Even someone with forty years experience in the industry might be at a certain loss for a week or so, as they figure their way around new computer programs or reporting indexes you use to keep track of progress. This is normal. Think of it as learning the layout of a new house, and the grounds surrounding it. In time, it will be natural, but there’s always that slight need for acclimation. You know how to drive a car, but driving a Mini is much different than driving a Range Rover.

So, let’s consider how you can adequately and thoroughly get your staff up to speed. Please, consider:

Develop An Orientation Program

There’s nothing worse for a new hire than to sit down at a desk and being told to get on with it. Even a comprehensive brief might not give them all the context they need to know about a certain job. It’s unlikely that they’ll start at the clean break between two projects, more like they will jump in just after one has started, or when one is about to end. This means that you might need to take them out of rotation for a couple of weeks, and instead give them full orientation. This might go through health and safety (extremely important), creating them a digital training program, helping them meet the team, showing them how various programs work and the expected file types that are standard in your firm, as well as the IT management solutions you use and might need to contact if you encounter any errors. This can give them that breath of fresh air.

Show Them What’s Acceptable

It might sound like you’re having to guide a pure novice around your building, with our following advice. But sometimes, despite how qualified they are, they can still be at a loss. For example, it might be that each morning, you have fresh bagels and coffee out for the entire office. That’s quite a kind thing to do. However, it might be that they feel because they are new, or because they aren’t part of the ‘right’ department, or simply because they haven’t been told they can – they will avoid this, perhaps purchasing their own coffee despite your high-quality offering. You need to tell them what they can use and if they are free to do so, be that using a locker space, where to park, or how many bagels they can tuck into before 9.30am. This helps them avoid their fear of looking rude or presumptive.

Give Them The Tour

Show them the place. Some offices are large – are sprawled over many floors or many buildings. You might even have a large campus. Even if your office is just one big room, it’s important for them to know who is who and where certain departments start and end. Show them around. Show them the facilities. Show them where they might smoke, or where they might eat lunch. A tour is important for getting them up to speed.

With this advice, your employee is sure to feel at home in your firm much faster than they might have.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How Do You Show Your Ethical Integrity?

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 21, 2019 at 2:57 pm

The other night I caught an episode of Law & Order SVU on TV. It was one of the newer episodes where Olivia was faced with some serious ethical dilemmas, one after the other it seemed. In each situation she had the option, and even others telling her, to do what wasn’t ethical, telling her that it won’t matter either way, that the ends justifies the means. And in each situation, she chose to live her ethical values, taking the road less traveled, but ultimately doing what is right. Sure, others were upset with her, but she took a stance that she believed in and didn’t compromise her ethical integrity.

I was reflecting on this and my life, my professional integrity, and how I conduct myself with my team, my company, my clients, my customers. I’ve found that it is quite easy to be strict about my ethical integrity, even if others around me aren’t – mostly because I won’t compromise on this.

One section of my Business Communications course that I teach is about ethics, but it seems like in every class there are at least one or two students who don’t really grasp what ethics is, or how to apply ethical integrity to everyday situations.

According to Google, the definition of ethics is:

  1. Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity
  2. The branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles

Making ethical decisions can help build strong relationships, earn you respect and develop trust, and keep you out of sometimes serious trouble. There are nine basic guidelines that will help guide you through challenging situations to the right thing to do. These are certainly not part of a formal code of conduct, but if adhered to, can help you maintain a high ethical standard.

Nine topics to remember

There are nine main areas I think about when communicating to make sure I’m communicating and acting ethically:

  1. Abide by the law – understand the laws in your industry and follow them.
  2. Tell the truth – ethical communicators don’t intentionally lie, fabricate information, or deceive others.
  3. Label opinions – ethical communicators understand the difference between opinions and facts and they don’t state opinion as a fact without substantiation.
  4. Give credit – ever heard the saying give credit where credit is due? It’s ethical to give credit to someone who helped you with a project, to document sources, and using quotation marks where appropriate.
  5. Be objective – ethical communicators don’t misrepresent or exaggerate information because of their own biases.
  6. Communicate clearly – ethical communicators will write and speak in a manner that the audience of the document or presentation can understand.
  7. Use inclusive language – the language used should be inclusive of all groups and should never discriminate against others on any basis.
  8. Take responsibility – ethical communicators will not only take credit for what they’ve accomplished, but also take responsibility for their mistakes.
  9. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – the Golden Rule.

 

Let your ethical integrity speak for you

I’ve had a few times in my career where I’ve had my ethical integrity put to the test. Throughout each of these situations, I have allowed my ethics to shine and prove who I am and what I stand for. For me, it is extremely important to remain loyal to my ethics, especially in the tough situations where the outcome doesn’t seem fair or adequate.

As a manager, I’ve been in situations where I receive information that is not for public consumption (at least not yet) and could impact someone’s job. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been asked to fudge numbers to make one person look better (on paper). I’ve been asked to cover for others, had the opportunity to take credit for other’s work, and to overlook certain actions or discussions. I can honestly say that in each of these situations I held my moral high ground and haven’t given in.

I’ve also been asked to explain my ethical stance to others. In one instance, I had someone come to me to ask about a specific situation they were in and for help not only deciding on what to do, but more importantly, how to handle the feelings and criticism that comes from choosing the ethical road, but still not seeing the desired results. When someone conducts their lives ethically, it doesn’t always bring the desired results, but it should always make the person choosing to remain ethical feel good in knowing they did what was right.

In another situation, I had to defend my ethical stance based on a situation I never thought I’d find myself in. While extremely disheartening, having gone through this has strengthened my resolve to ensure I continue leading ethically.

I will continue to let my ethical integrity show who I am and what I stand for in both my words and actions.

How do you show your ethical integrity?

How To Make Sure Your Auto Repair Business Will Always Be Successful

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 16, 2019 at 8:55 am

Being a mechanic is one job that will always remain important. Having your own auto repair shop is a sure-fire way to ensure you have financial comfort for the remainder of your working days.

Below we will take a look at a few ways to future proof your business and make sure your customers keep coming back year after year.

Technology

As a mechanic, you are highly skilled and for many years technology has never really been an issue. The issue as with most businesses now is that technology is playing a part in everything. 

When it comes to diagnosing a car, it’s no longer as simple as feeling around or listening for a certain noise. Cars now come fitted with very complex ECU’s and this can be very difficult when it comes to the diagnosis process.

Most mechanics have carried OBD reading systems with them for many years but as the car manufacturers like to have their ECU’s respond only to certain systems, this can pose a challenge for many mechanics.

The solution is rather a simple one. Having an up to date computer system with a fairly powerful CPU and access to the right diagnosis software should now be a must-have for any mechanic. The initial outlay for the software can be steep but it can mean the difference between keeping and losing a customer.

Deliveries

One thing that comes hand in hand with having technology at your fingertips is now having the ability to have anything at your disposal within 24 hours. Whether it be a brand new turbo or Gas Oil Drums should you be running low on your synthetic oil stock. It can all be with you before you know it.

Businesses used to thrive off each other and driving a few towns overused to be more than viable. Given the cost of living, the rate of inflation and the lack of closeness for everything you need, the internet has given us a way to help secure our businesses and enables us to get what we need whenever we need it. We can even get our lunch at the click of a button now.

Up To Date Methods

This is probably one of the most important things for any business. Keeping your methods and knowledge up to date is quintessential to the success of your auto repair shop. 

We live in an age that becomes increasingly more complicated day by day, especially when it comes to cars. Gone are the days of pulling out a choke and inserting an 8 track. We now have cars that park without assistance and if you are feeling lonely you can even have a conversation with your car nowadays.

Luckily enough there is an abundance of local and online education available in order to stay ahead of the curve. The time is near and electric cars are slowly filling our roads, now is the time to replenish your knowledge and allow your business to flourish even more.

This post may contain affiliate links.

5 Beneficial Ways To Recognize Good Employees And Boost Morale

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 12, 2019 at 8:37 am

Small businesses cannot underestimate the power of creating employee recognition programs to award their employees appropriately. With the struggle to reach the top in a productivity environment, employees can work tirelessly to reach the goals that have been set by their organizations. In fact, some people go above and beyond the norm every time that they walk through the doors of the workplace. They are also leaders that can help to assist management in helping others to meet the productivity targets set. Therefore, when you have a company that has a keen eye on how the employee’s motivation can be tied to the company going above and beyond, they can help to keep the momentum going so that everyone can achieve their best.

That said, this is one of the primary reasons why some companies place employee motivation and recommendation high on the list of achievements that must be done by the company itself. As for the small business, however, it is important to note that the only way to survive for the short term and long term is to implement employee recognition awards and motivation strategies that will make sure that all hard workers will get their due. To get started with some very good employee recognition and award programs, you should know that the five provided for you below are some options that business owners should pay close attention to when they devise their strategy to award and motivate their own employees.

1. Ask for Employee Input

If you really want to know how to recognize your employees in a small business, you need to make sure that you are actually talking to the employees that work for you. When employees feel motivated to provide these answers, they may give you a number of different great ways to recognize what their peers do. For instance, some people like the idea of setting a program that will recognize the employee of the month. The employee of the month does not have to be difficult but it will take a few days to get to the person that is on the top of the list of performers. Employees may also give the employer special type of ideas for more incentives including being given several days off to travel or relax. In either way, it is up to the employees and how motivated that they actually are to make sure everyone in the organization has a chance at working hard and attaining the employee of the month award.

2. Recognize Employees in Front of their Peers

When wanting other employees to follow the lead of the most productive employee in the organization, you need to make sure that you have a recognition program that requires the employer to recognize the employees in front of their peers. By using this method to recognize good employees, the results are often two-fold since the employee who is awarded a certificate or money for their work can feel satisfied and the other employees will begin to strive to win these awards too. This is also one of the best ways to boost your business while also giving hard-working employees a method to be awarded by the company for their special duties.

3. Big Projects — Immediate Recognition

If you really want to excite and motivate employees in a small business, you need to make sure that there is not a big delay in all of the hard work that had to be done and the end of the year annual celebrations. Simply put, do not wait so long that the employee themselves hardly know or recognize what the award is for. In fact, you want the person to tie their long hard nights with an award and recognition for what has been done.

4. People Do Like Money — Tie the Work to Financial Incentives

There is nothing wrong with picking up the check that is issued every week or twice monthly. In fact, many employees are very appreciative about simply having a job that they can be paid for. However, there are times when the extra money that comes from employee recognition can be just the thing that causes the employees to become a very loyal member of the company.

5. Boost Morale by Publishing the Best Employees’ Names

When you want to go the extra mile with your employees, you need a program to help boost morale. When hard work has been done, you can boost the employee’s morale by printing all of the project’s participants’ names as well as how and what they contributed to their operations and the company as a whole.

This post may contain affiliate links.