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Five Critical Tips to Hiring

We know. Hiring new employees can be a very time-consuming and resource-draining process for any business. However, it can be particularly challenging for small businesses with limited means. For a small company, each new hiree has a significant impact on the business, whether it be negative and positive. As a result, it’s critical for small business owners to have the right approach to hiring in order to avoid mistakes.

If you are looking to take the right steps when hiring, consider the following pointers from our Corporate Business Solutions experts.

Be Very Candid

The first step to ensuring that potential hires are truly ready to take on the duties is to be as clear as possible. You’ll want to inform them of the day-to-day tasks and share the company’s goals as well. Furthermore, it’s important to include details regarding salary and benefits. In addition, be candid about any challenges that he/she might face. Being as candid as possible about the position helps you hire the right people who will last a long time.

Use Connections

You might be able to find great candidates by contacting people you already know in your field. For example, calling or emailing business colleagues and/or creating LinkedIn posts is an effective way to let people know you’re hiring.

Establish Your Company Culture

As mentioned, each employee has a significant impact on the culture of a small business. Remember, you can teach skills, but not personality or a tireless work ethic. Take time to establish company values and the look for these qualities in your candidates. You’ll want to address your company’s values during the interview and also gear questions related to those values.

Measure Commitment

You’re really going to want to understand whether or not a potential hiree is truly committed to working for you before you put that offer on the table. Focus on little gestures during the interview and try to understand how enthusiastic the candidate really is about the job opportunity.

Implement a Trial Period

It’s important to implement a trial period prior to making a full commitment. You might want to consider having new employees sign a short-term contract or hiring them as freelancers. Ultimately, this will help you determine if he/she is the ideal candidate for the job before you make any long-term commitments. Furthermore, an effective trial period can be a great way to give both new employees and employers the right amount of time in order to make informed decisions.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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6 Tips for Bootstrapping a Startup

With any startup company, obtaining proper funding is usually the biggest challenge. Having said that, there is a myriad of routes that small businesses can take outside of venture capital.

For the best approaches to fundraising, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following six tips for bootstrapping a startup. Keeping these tips in mind will put you in great standing.

Find Mentors 

Seeking out mentors that can advise you on your journey is super beneficial. In doing so, be sure not to limit yourself to where you look. A mentor can be anyone from a friend or family member to even a co-worker. Ultimately, you want to find people who have more expertise than you do.

Establish a Business Plan 

You always want to think things through and have a vision. Creating an actionable business plan and following through with it will land you in a great place. Having a business plan will allow you to reach both short and long-term goals.

Track Expenses 

When you first launch your business, you want to be as frugal as possible without cutting necessities. You won’t learn the financial ropes and understand the costs that are associated with running your business. You also want to consider re-investing the money you make to continue to grow the business.

Key In On Operations

 Getting into the nitty-gritty details of your business is essential. You want to be able to lay the groundwork in order to get to where you want to be. Take the time to focus on marketing, accounting, and human resources.

Do It Yourself (What You Can)

 Yes, of course, you’ll want to outsource when you have to. Having said that, during the onset of your startup you’ll want to complete as many tasks as you can on your own. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also learn the indispensable ins and outs of your business so you can properly train people later. Trust us when we tell you that doing things on your own (initially) will benefit you so much later on.

Assemble an All-Star Team 

As a new small business, you’re going to want to surround yourself with great employees who share a similar passion and vision. You want to hire people who buy into your mission and understand the importance of multi-tasking. Ultimately, your team is the component that will take you to the promised land. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com

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Understanding the Intricacies of Leads

Are you on cloud nine after obtaining leads from your last event? Do you feel really good about yourself and you’re ready to take the sales world by storm? Fantastic! But don’t get ahead of yourself. The most critical aspect of attaining a lead is ensuring it becomes an opportunity. So the question becomes, how can you enhance the quality of leads?

That’s right – do your research.

Corporate Business Solutions experts understand how using marketing automation solution and a CRM can help you understand your leads and grow your business. Ultimately, you’ll want to discern the ins and outs of your leads in order to make effective business decisions. Here are three reasons as to why knowing your leads can really help.

Understand Your Customer

When you know your leads, such as where they’re located and what they’re interested in, you can ensure that leads passed down to you fit your ideal profile.

Tip: consider CRM integration.

With the right CRM, your marketing department can efficiently create newsletters, ebooks, and white papers to keep up with the demands of business. Strong marketing efforts will create a high volume of leads, where prospects can fill out forms in order to access content.

You might also want to utilize Pardot, a marketing automation solution that helps you see your leads as they progress through the prospect journey.

Grab Hold of the Right Leads

Have you ever heard of “lead grading”. If not, now’s the time.

Lead grading lets you literally “grade” your lead on a scale of A to F so you can determine who the most qualified candidates are based on the attributes of a lead’s profile. These characteristics include job title, company size, or industry.

Ultimately, you want quality leads. Lead grading allows you to access that.

Track and Nurture Your Leads

Similar to many small sales teams who wear marketing hats, it’s important to manually nurture leads. You should do this even if you’re not sure whether or not it will turn into an opportunity.

With a concrete process within your marketing automation solution, you’ll be able to nurture in an impactful way to help your sales counterpart.

It’s not necessary to play a guessing game with your leads. With the correct data and procedures, you’ll be able to understand the intricacies of your leads in no time. This will help you secure more sales and grow your business.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Google’s Approach to Establishing a Strong Team

 

Surprise, surprise. Google loves data.

Isn’t this something we knew? Maybe, maybe not.

What you likely didn’t know, however, is that Google often puts a great deal of effort into helping YOUR business operate at an optimal level. In doing so, Google has assembled some pertinent information on behalf of what is essentially their HR team. They sought to address the question of what makes a Google team successful.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this.

The Research

In seeking to understand why certain teams excelled and others did not Google examined more than 180 teams. They also conducted interviews and compared a myriad of characteristics/attributes between the high-rising teams and the ones that were falling short.

Conclusively, Google determined that the individual make-up of each team mattered much less than the person-to-person interaction and the composition of their work.

Ultimately, they determined that there are four critical components that separate the good teams from the great ones:

  • Psychological Safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure and Clarity
  • Meaning

While all of the elements are important, Google found that psychological safety played the largest role.

Psychological Safety

Essentially, this comes to down to one critical question: as a team, can you take risks that won’t lead to insecurity or embarrassment?

While risk-taking may seem routine on the surface, it actually carries with it a tremendous amount of emotional weight. When employees don’t feel secure about asking a question or contributing to an idea, they are less likely to partake in creativity and innovation. This is due to the simple, albeit IMPORTANT, fact that they do not want to be perceived in a negative light.

Employees that feel safe are much more likely to embody a sense of empowerment and subsequently will take risks and innovate. This leads to better collaboration and greater effectiveness. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Dependability

As we know, nobody likes to work with an unreliable employee. This can lead to a myriad of issues. Thus, it’s critical that all members of the team submit their work on time and up to standard. Take the time to address the importance of dependability with your team.

Structure and Clarity

It’s essential for employees to understand exactly what their role is within the team at-large. If this is missing, people have a hard time pinpointing responsibility within the tasks. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to learn more.

Meaning of Work

As a team, you want to do your best to foster a sense of personal connection to the business and/or work that is being done. When this is the case, employees are more likely to deliver high-quality work.

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Small Businesses will be Affected by Facebook’s Newsfeed Change. Here’s What to Do About It.

Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook would be making some significant changes to how content is viewed on the platform’s Newsfeed. In a Facebook post on January 11, Zuckerberg specifically pointed to “public content,” which are posts from brands, businesses, and media, as “crowding out” personal posts. Facebook is making a major shift to mainly show posts from friends on the Newsfeed, as opposed to promotional material.

Small businesses can expect this change to hit them the hardest. Smaller brands are the most likely to promote Facebook posts. This year, this strategy will require drastic changes. Here are several tips suggested by CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants on how small businesses can get around the Newsfeed change:

Produce High-Quality Content—Facebook users are mostly annoyed by spam posts that are blatantly pitch products. To keep your posts on Facebook, start producing better quality content. Meaning content that is highly relevant, timely, and interesting to the target audience. Avoid clickbait and misleading headlines. Invest in articles or video that the target audience would genuinely be interested in.

Consider Paying for Facebook Ads—If Facebook is essential for marketing to your company’s target audience, then seriously consider paying for Facebook ads. The ads will be strategically displayed alongside the Newsfeed so the new change doesn’t affect ads.

Create Content based on Engagement Metrics—The content that is most likely to be successful on Facebook is the type of content with the highest engagement rating. If the videos your company is posting on Facebook is generating high engagement numbers, then it’s safe to continue producing the same type of content. Facebook issues an “engagement rate” for each post your business profile submits. Use this rate to measure which content is becoming popular on the platform, and the continue to make more of it.

Ask Users to Allow Posts—Facebook has a feature called “see it first” that allows users to prioritize content seen on Newsfeeds. Users can click on the “see it first” button for your brand’s profile so that the content you produce won’t be filtered out with the rest of the public content. So conduct a campaign to get Facebook followers to make this change.

There are also alternatives to Facebook marketing your small business can try. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to find out more.

 

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Everything Small Businesses Know about Hard Work is Wrong

Working hard is an idea that’s drilled into us from a young age. As the belief goes, if one works hard, they will be rewarded for their effort. The latest business research and insight is seriously challenging this notion of working hard. That is to say, does a business need hard-working employees? According to some companies, no.

Perhaps the most well-known company to challenge the notion of hard work was Netflix. Yes, the popular online streaming service made some serious changes to its internal culture after years of stumbling sales. Some of the reforms the company introduced include unlimited vacation times and flexible working hours. Netflix also let go of a good majority of its workforce. The intriguing part is exactly who was let go.

During the layoff period, Netflix didn’t keep its hardest working employees around while laying off the rest. Instead, the company separated employees into two groups: who was crucial to the business and who was not. It didn’t matter if the employees showed up to work on time and worked 10-hour days. If the employee was not considered essential to the business, they were let go.

Such an approach does not seem fair, or particularly smart. However, Netflix managed to turn its dismal finances around to become the premiere streaming service in the world. Why did the Netflix approach work? Read below for explanations from Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

It’s a Results-Based Approach – The Netflix method works because it’s a solely results-based method for running a business. Instead of evaluating employees by how long they spend at the office, the approach isolates employees who bring in results and have the most potential to contribute to the company. It works because those remaining can deliver when it comes to the company’s goals.

Reduce Stress for Necessary Employees – Removing employees who are not needed does reduce stress for employees who contribute to the core business. They don’t have to work with people who are unnecessary to the team.

Focus on Innovation – Ultimately, staffing the workforce is essential to employees who deliver results, allowing companies to innovate. Netflix succeeded because the brand returned as an innovative leader within the industry, not because it had the most hard-working employees.

It all comes down not to working hard, but to working smart. Small businesses that want to succeed must focus on increasing efficiency and productivity at the workplace. Invest in employees who drive innovation in a manner that makes the business more competitive. Avoiding the traditional corporate work environment and driving efficiency and innovation is the way to succeed in 2018. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Small Business Financial Responsibility Tips for 2018

It’s still the start of a brand new year, so now is the perfect time to start thinking about small business finances for the rest of the year. Most business owners do worry about how the market will fare as new year dawns. If the market suddenly took a turn for the worst, could your small business survive? There’s also a new federal tax plan that will surely affect small businesses when quarterly taxes are due. As new challenges await small businesses in 2018, CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants highly recommend adopting new ways to remain financially responsible. Here are some tips owners can easily follow:

Stop Relying on Banks for Funding – Is your business heavily funded through bank loans or other types of debt? Debt issues can be the main source of cash flow problems for small businesses. It’s common to see small business owners struggle to repay loans even when the business is actually doing fine otherwise. Business loans are hefty and often carry high interest rates, so regular cash flow may not suffice to repay loans and make payroll. Therefore, be cautious when borrowing. It’s recommended for small businesses to have a savings repository to use when the creditors come knocking.  But more importantly, business owners need to develop a positive cash management system that will allow them to pay their obligations without the need for borrowing.

Formulate a Sound Tax Strategy – The tax law has changed. Do you know how it may affect your business? Small businesses should seek out professional tax advice on how the new tax law will affect them.  At the same time, CBS-CBS.com consultants can perform an in-depth review of your small business to ensure that you are well positioned to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you in 2018, including the changes in the tax law.

Analyze the Revenue – A good amount of targeted marketing and promotions that your small business undertakes in 2018 will require data for justification. This data comes from analyzing your company’s overall cash flow and revenue. Design a highly effective marketing plan and engage in cost-effective projects by doing a proper analysis of the company’s revenue streams.

Start the New Year with a (responsible) bang by putting the above pieces of advice to practice.

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How a 350-Year Old Business Continues to Innovate

Do you think your small business would last 350 years?  For the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, that’s the reality. The company was founded in Tokyo in 1656 by a former samurai. Since then, MUFG has made remarkable strides in the financial industry. Though the business is a bank in practice, this has never stopped MUFG from innovating. Today, the company is a multinational business in a highly competitive international environment. So what lessons does this centuries’ old company have much newer small businesses?

MUFG’s head of transaction banking, Ranjana Clark, told media that the secret to the company’s continued success was a commitment to identifying customer pain points and eliminating them. MUFG doesn’t attract customers by offering various incentives but rather retains customers by making it a lot easier to do banking with MUFG rather than anywhere else.

This is a great tactic that your small business can also employ to obtain an advantage over the competition. Making sure that the end-to-end customer experience is seamless has proven to be more effective than offering customers deals, discounts or gifts. Here is how your small business can go about eliminating customer pain points:

Identify Pain Points First—obviously, your company needs to understand what obstacles customers face when interacting with your business. Don’t speculate here. Do one of our Corporate Business Solutions Reviews or an internal review to scientifically identify pain points.

Think Like Customers—Don’t approach the problem as a business executive would. Approach the problem like a customer. Viewing pain points from the customer’s perspective is all that matters when solving issues.

Come Up with Specific Solutions—don’t think there will be a “one size fits all” solution for the pain points identified. There won’t be. Therefore, the business will need to come up with specific solutions for each target group for each pain point.

Customer Feedback May Help—when developing solutions, it will be helpful to get input from customers as well. It’s part of “thinking like a customer” mentioned above.

Ultimately, aim to develop an emotional connection, like security and trust, with the customer. It has been shown over and over that emotional connections make customers return more than incentives. You can get in touch with a consultant at CBS-CBS.com to develop a comprehensive plan to address customer pain points.

 

Growth “Strategies” Small Businesses Must Avoid

Growing or scaling is one of the core aspects of running a small business. Most business owners CBS Corporate Business Solutions have come across invest a lot of time and money for their companies to grow. There are definitely legitimate growth strategies, and sometimes “hacks,” that small businesses can use to grow. Then there are certain tactics that our consultants strongly advise small business owners to avoid. Here is a list:

Signing up customers to email lists without their knowledge – If a customer is on a company mailing list, then that person should have signed up for it themselves. Some companies use a shady tactic where customers who provide their email address are signed up for mailing lists without their knowledge. While this is not technically illegal, it’s a horrible practice that should be avoided. The customers will not be happy about getting email newsletters they didn’t sign up for. It will, in fact, have the opposite effect. Instead of a customer being more attached to a business, the customer will very likely learn to avoid the business.  Moreover, Congress passed an anti-spam law which imposes certain requirements on businesses engaged in email marketing.  The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is a spam law that established the national standards for sending commercial email (which is different from transactional or relationship email) and providing guidelines for sending behavior, content and unsubscribe compliance. To follow the guidelines in place, you must include a visible and operational unsubscribe option in your commercial emails, a legitimate physical address of the company, accurate “From” information and subject lines, and you cannot send to harvested email addresses.

Adding customers to social media groups – This is a similar tactic to auto-signing up people for email lists. Don’t add customers to Facebook groups or similar social media networks without their explicit consent. People do not like getting random notifications. It may even lead the customers to complain about your company’s practices to social media site owners. That is definitely not a position a brand wants to be in.

Aggressive selling from the get go – If an interested person signs up for an email newsletter or like the brand’s Facebook profile, don’t target that person as a potential customer right away. Don’t start trying to push products on the potential customer. The interested party needs to get used to the brand and build a trustworthy connection before he or she buys a product. If the business starts to aggressively sell right away, this connection will be severed right away.

Posting fake statistics – Companies do get a lot of leeway when it comes to making marketing claims. However, don’t push it. While some exaggerations may be acceptable, don’t try to paint these exaggerations as actual fact. You may call your brand the number one in the field, but don’t make up statistics or studies to “prove” a claim like that. Don’t post fake statistics about customer satisfaction levels, various “scores” for products, and so on. These will only be lies and your long-term growth plan will only get hurt.  Moreover, using fake statistics is not considered harmless by state Attorney Generals who are charged with protecting consumers against businesses making false claims. Such claims are prohibited by consumer protections statutes against misleading advertising and also under general business statutes involving unfair business practices.   For legitimate techniques a small business can use to promote growth, consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert.

What to Do When Customers Bash Your Brand or Product on Social Media

Social media is essential for engaging with customers. Sometimes though, small businesses may wish customers were not so engaged on social media. If clients are taking to social media, not to praise your products, but to bitterly criticize, then your company will have a full-blown crisis on hand. Understandably, not all customers who engage with a brand post positive or neutral comments. The goal of a marketing strategy is to maximize positive engagement and minimize negative engagement down to near zero.

But what happens when the negatives end up overtaking the positives? How can a small business respond without spending too much or making the crisis worse?

Don’t Confront the Negative Posters – Being confrontational on a public platform like social media will never end well for a brand. Unless being confrontational is actually one of the traits the brand is trying to promote. Most brands, however, do not want this. If your team tries to confront the accusers, regardless of the merits of the claims, you risk a small argument from snowballing into a veritable social media spectacle. It takes years to build the reputation of a brand, and only minutes to destroy it beyond repair.

Take the High Road and Put the Matter to Rest Quickly – For example, learn about what happened to Iggy Azalea, a promising musician who damaged her brand permanently by relentlessly arguing with critics on Twitter. Keep in mind that the negative reviewers are not losing massive profits by arguing with a business. Therefore, the company should take the high road. Without sounding condescending or deceptive, put the matter to rest with a genial post. Keep it short and apologize if you have to. Don’t drag on an argument any longer than it needs to and let the news cycle move on.

Ask a Consultant What to Do – Marketing experts like the Corporate Business Solutions consultants can help your small business respond to a major PR crisis in a timely and sensitive manner. If your marketing team is inexperienced in responding to negative feedback that is making its way to media, hire the experts to manage the problem.

The main thing during a PR crisis is to avoid the problem from getting worse. Refer to CBS-CBS.com on how your small business can prepare for negative publicity in advance.