Friday, August 29, 2014

Three Questions to Ask When Hiring

The interview process is the fastest and most efficient way to assess the skills and aptitude of a potential employee. This initial interaction is also essential to figuring out if the interviewee will fit with the vision, mission, and workplace culture of your business. Asking the right questions is especially important because it allows you to seek out the details about a person that may not be reflected on their resume. Here are three important questions to ask when hiring:

1. How do you think you would best contribute to this company?
-This question shows how much research the potential employee has done to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your company. Someone who has really done their research will have a genuine statement, others will scramble to give a generic answer.

2.What hobbies do you enjoy outside outside of your work?
-This question is a great way to get a great read on how this person would fit into your team. While it is important that everyone brings unique qualities to your workplace it is good that everyone has is reaching towards the same goals.

3.Where do you see yourself in five years?
-This will give you a look into the work ethic of the person being interviewed. The answer can also indicate ambition, goals, and organization skills of the potential employee.

Bonus: Don't forget to ask questions tailored to the position!

What questions do you ask in an interview? Comment below!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Small Biz Talk: Pros vs. Cons of Accepting Credit Cards

Advances in technology have made the the use of credit and debit cards even more important when it comes to small business commerce. If you are considering accepting credit or debit cards as a form of payment for your business, it is important to take a real look at the pros and cons first:

  • Debit and credit cards have quickly become the main form of payment. Behavioral studies have shown that consumers are more likely to spend at your establishment because of the convenience of not having to carry cash. 
  • It is also convenient for the business owner to accept card payment. Data from these purchases can be used as an effective accounting/inventory tool with the right software rather than having to record each transaction by hand.

  • Despite the laws and security measures put in place to protect business owners, card payments can come with an increased risk of fraud. Scammers that manage to get over on business owners can leave them responsible for all the loss of revenue. 
  • Accepting card payment will also result in small processing fees for your business. If your business accepts card payments for small purchases it could result in more fees than it is worth.
So, What Should You Do?
Small businesses accepting credit and debit cards as a form of payment that have a huge number of transactions can definitely benefit from this expansion. This decision will initially cost your business money and take a little more time for business operations but the payoff is definitely worth it!

What suggestions do you have for owners accepting card payments? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

BBB Office Update: How We Use Chromebooks and Chromeboxes to Improve Productivity

Your Better Business Bureau is always looking for innovative ways to make our office run as efficiently as possible. A good number of our staff telecommutes, making it difficult to find reliable systems that allow us to carry out day-to-day operations. We recently decided to bring 35 Google Chromebooks and Chromeboxes into the office and it's definitely made it easier to collaborate in a secure and timely manner. We're excited about finding new ways to make Google Chromebooks and Chromeboxes work for our business, the sky's the limit!

Read more about our efforts to improve office productivity here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Protecting Your Online Reputation

Rapidly developing tech trends have made it increasingly more important for business owners to maintain a presence online. From engaging with customers on Facebook to rewarding your most loyal patrons with specials on Foursquare; your online reputation can often make or break your business. Engaging with customers online requires the same calculated planning execution as every other part of managing your business. Corporations often hire communications firms often look at case studies and develop strategies for crisis management, but it can be somewhat expensive and is often not an option for small business. 

 Here are some tips for managing the online presence for your small business:

  1. Planning- It is very important to have very clear goals for engagement with your customers.  Look over your mission statement and make sure all media messages fall in line with it. Remember to always have the customer in mind when present on any social media outlet!
  2. Use listening tools- Most major social media outlets have made it very easy to monitor what your customers are saying online. This is a critical part of protecting your online reputation because it gives you the opportunity to address comments and concerns before they are no longer relevant. It can also helps you identify the most valuable parts of your brand for each potential customer. If you are opening a bakery in a new neighborhood, it might be beneficial to know that the local food blogger is gluten-free before you send her a dozen of your new triple chocolate cupcakes.
  3. Engage with all feedback (even the negative stuff)- taking control of your online reputation means highlighting the positive comments and reviews, and taking responsibility for every negative experience a customer may have with your business. This can be a daunting task, but there are ways to make resolving these kinds of issues without it being a major blow to your reputation. Working ahead of time to have a few prepared responses can be a tremendous help to engaging with customers in a timely manner.
What suggestions do you have to protect your small business online?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Benefits of Crowdsourcing to Help Build Your Brand

What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the use of social media outlets to identify what channels are best to target your content. If your business finds itself having to tighten its belt when it comes to spending, crowdsourcing can be a great tool. Here are a few benefits of using crowdsourcing to create content for your business:

1. Speeds up the process of content creation- Writing all the content for a business can be exhausting, inviting consumers the chance to do it every once in a while gives you free time to do other things.

2. Gets your customers and potential customers involved- Social media outlets are thriving because people are always willing to give their opinion. Let your consumers do some of the sales work for you by offering reviews of your product or service. Be sure to use a social media monitoring tool to help filter out spam!

3. Helps you narrow down your target demographic, and gets them involved- Giving potential customers the opportunity to voice their opinion gives them fifteen minutes of fame, and gives you the leverage of a newly invested customer. 

4. Helps shine light on a target audience you haven’t considered- Crowdsourcing gives you the opportunity to explore multiple target audiences without much consequence. The feedback is almost instantaneous and it might give you ideas about approaching markets you haven’t thought about!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Body Language in Business

Proper nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal etiquette when it comes to business. Your body language determines how people perceive you, and learning to fine tune these skills communicate confidence and honestly. Your nonverbal communication can determine how well you develop relationships and have an influence on your success. Here are the three body language traits that you should be aware of:

Posture- The way you stand has a direct affect on how your feel. Standing tall with your neck elongated and shoulders back helps to make you feel more confident.This stance also gives an outward appearance of strength and poise and can help set you apart from fellow employees. 

Eye Contact- Avoiding eye contact sends a message of presence and authority and in some cultures it can be perceived as disrespectful. Remember to keep your gaze when making presentations or speaking with your peers, as lack of confidence can communicate deception and looking down might suggest insecurity. During presentations, it might be easier to imagine the room in thirds. Devote an equal amount of time to each part and make eye contact with at least one person on each side.

Hand movements- Fidgeting with your hands or cell phone often communicates vulnerability. Keeping hands still and only making small gestures (when appropriate) sends a message of authority to your peers. It is important to keep these gestures below your shoulders.

What body language practices help you feel the most confident? Comment below!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Boosting your Productivity with iCloud

If you are one of the 85 million people in the US who owns an iPhone, then you know that iCloud is great for syncing between devices and storing backups of records kept on your device. If your office uses apple products for business, the cloud can do much more than hang on to that important presentation. Check out these ways the cloud can make your office more productive:

1. Share documents and files across Macs with iClouDrive
Apple has made it even more simple for you to get share files with its free iClouDrive app. This application makes it easy by creating a folder that syncs with the iCloud in your office. It then makes a copy of this folder on your desktop and continuously pushes information to that folder. As long as you are signed into the iCloud account, the data shows up in both places.

2. Integrate with compatible iOS and Mac apps
It can be somewhat time consuming to try and access information from a work desktop when you're on the go. Some applications solve this problem by allowing you to store your projects on the cloud to make it accessible from multiple devices. In some applications you can even stop working a specific spot and move to a different device and it will pick up right where you left off!

3. Collaborate using iWork and iCloud 
iWork for iCloud makes it possible to collaborate on a project by allowing its users to create, edit and save updates by simply logging in to their iCloud accounts. Apple is now offering their iWork suite for free, making it even easier to collaborate with multiple employees or at multiple locations.

Do you use iCloud for your office? Leave your tips in the comments section!