Friday, June 28, 2013

What to Consider Before You Outsource

Outsourcing task or getting products from an outsourced vendor can help small businesses grow by freeing up more time to do whatever is at the core of the business even more effectively. You might know exactly what you need to outsource and who you’re going to work with, or you may be in that crucial decision making process. If outsourcing is still a future plan, consider these aspects before you do so.

How established is the vendor or individual? Have they been around for a long time or are they just starting out? Is there track record for deadlines, quality, and customer service positive or shaky? The way this vendor runs their business will affect how you run yours, so do your research to make sure this affect is positive for you. Check references and contact some of their other clients to get a better idea of how they work.

How will you monitor the vendor’s impact? Develop a system for keeping track of what they are doing, how long key processes are taking, and evaluating whether you investment in this company is worth the time for your business. Another thing to think about is are your employees comfortable with this new vendor’s relationship with the company? Some positions may not be effected at all and others may be directly. Have you had a conversation about the upcoming changes while addressing their concerns?

Have you set expectations and goals for the vendor and communicated them? Both businesses need to know what is expected from the other to make this partnership run smoothly.  Be specific and get assurance that they are confident they can meet all of your needs and expectations before things are finalized. Finally, how will you communicate the ins and outs of your business with the vendor? What methods and schedules will you have for communication in general? Working this out ahead of time will save you stress down the road. They will need to be absorbed in the key knowledge of your business that impacts what they’ll be doing for you. Make it happen!

© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Friday, June 21, 2013

Needs and Benefits of Online Training

In recent years, more and more online training websites have developed. Many offer employers a membership which the entire team can access and lessons are free to watch once the company has joined. The courses are often very long, but broken down into short chapters that allow the employee to choose which ones are most relevant and complete the course at their own pace. Some even have practice files attached so that employees can interactively try out what they’ve learned.  A few popular ones include,, and It’s also fairly easy for a company to create its own online learning system through a Moodle account. Some focus on a particular area such as software programs or marketing, and others cover many subjects and employee might want to learn more about. Do your employees need to take online training courses and what are the benefits of these programs?

While an employee has to have a developed skill set to perform successfully, they can never run out of things to learn and should always be expanding their knowledge. If the company adopts new procedures or software programs, employees unfamiliar with them can get up to speed in a matter of hours. Most courses offer certificates of completion, which is good for the company reputation and the employee’s resume. If an employee gets promoted, they might need to brush up on some of the new skills they will be using, which can be possible through online training. If employees seek out these opportunities on their own, that shows their dedication to the company and to developing their career.  You may recommend or require your employees to complete short lessons during work time on a schedule or go through complete courses on their own time. Whatever you decide, always encourage continued learning, online or offline. The online versions can be a cost effective method of accomplishing this.

If you want to implement a program like this, start by researching different websites and choosing one to create an account with. Then introduce your team to the training through a brief meeting and provide them with the login credentials. Assure them that this is meant for personal growth, not an indication that their skills are not up to par. Then suggest or require a schedule of doing these and ask for updates regularly. Make it happen!

© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Should I Hire My Intern on Full Time?

An internship is a mutually beneficial experience for both the company and the intern.  As a small business owner, you get an eager individual ready to help out and learn. They receive great experience for their resume. The terms of internships vary greatly—they may be seasonal (during the school year or summer), temporary (3 to 6 months), very part time or nearly full time, and paid or unpaid. The bigger question is after an intern completes the internship, should you hire them on as a regular, full time employee?

The first thing to consider is before you hire an intern, choose someone who you can envision one day being an employee. While interns don’t always continue their career at that company, the best case scenario is that their position lines up perfectly with their career goals and they turn out to be a rock star that you would love to have as an employee. The worst that could happen is they fulfill a need for a short period of time and you go your separate ways. But it is much easier to fill an open full time position by promoting an intern that by hiring a totally new candidate. Even if they have to finish school before they can start, it could be well worth the wait for the right person for the job.

Another thing to remember is offer paid internships if at all possible. There are plenty of talented young people out there who just can’t afford to spend time in an unpaid internship, so you don’t want to miss out on potential talent by only offering college credit—although that is a good benefit. The most important thing is to provide them with a value equal to the time and responsibilities you are giving them. You also don’t want to be too flexible with the time frame. Give a firm start date, end date, number of hours per week, and when they can expect to be offered a full time position or not. You can offer a small bonus for completing their commitment to the company.

The bottom line? If an intern doesn’t offer the level of skills and personality you were hoping for, kindly send them on their way at the completion of the internship. But if you think they have the potential to grow with the company, consider offering the next open position to them.

© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC