p2w2 SBL: Small Business Secrets to Hiring

A month after a young lad had been hired, he was called into the manager’s office.
“What’s this?” the manager asked. “When you interviewed with us, you told us you had five years experience. Now we found out this is your first job!”

“Well,” the young man explained, “in your ad you said you wanted someone with imagination.”

Small business hiring - make them jump into your company

Get to the right advice. Small business hiring is not that difficult

Hiring in startups and small businesses is not easy either. You have no brand, no money, no perks, nothing.
What’s in it for the new recruit? Why should she join you? Even if she wants to should you hire her? There are many questions that a small business faces. But there are few implementable answers out there.
“Hire great talent,” does not tell you how to do it.
Excuse me. I certainly want to. But how do I ‘hire great talent’? Where will I find them? How do I tell if THAT person is “great talent” or not?
Sadly, there are very few good answers. Very few. That’s why I thought I will do a post on this topic. This is a p2w2 Small Business Links (p2w2 SBL) post that brings the power of great articles to you.

Offer responsibility, access to management and flexibility

Employees of large companies crave for what small businesses can offer. “By offering prospective employees real responsibility, access to management, and work schedule flexibility, your small business can compete in today’s competitive hiring market.”

Tap your network, attend conferences, and post on your website

For a start up or small business, the best way to reach out is through your own personal network. Ask friends and relatives who might know the person or who may have friends in the target network (like if you want a software developer, then a community of software developers) you are looking for.
Second, attend conferences and meetings where your target recruits network. Posting in social networking websites where your target recruits network is also a good idea.
Third, something that most overlook, post the job description of the jobs you are trying to hire for on your website. Those who want to join your company, look at your website. Are you there to pick it up?

Realize that hiring is all about probabilities

“Hiring is all about probabilities. When we evaluate a candidate, we are basically just trying to predict whether that candidate will be a success in the position being filled. We’re trying to know the future, but we have no prophets and no Oracle. So, we use various indicators that we believe will be correlated with future success. But there are no certainties. Sometimes all our indicators are positive, but the employee just doesn’t work out.” Eric Sink

If you own a butcher shop, don’t hire vegetarians. Hire people with passion for your mission

“Hire people with a passion for

your mission,” says Robert Kiyosaki
“One of the reasons Steve Jobs is the entrepreneur of the era is because he has missionaries inside his company as well as outside–Apple Computer’s customers are missionaries, too. Jobs is successful because he is true to his personal mission and demands the same from his staff. Jobs’ mission is at the core of Apple Computer.”

Hire better than yourself. Hire infected people

Guy Kawasaki says:

Hire better than yourself
“I have come to believe that we were wrong–A players hire A+ players, not merely A players. It takes self-confidence and self-awarness, but it’s the only way to build a great team.”
Hire infected people
“Is the candidate infected with a love of your product? Because all the education and work experience in the world doesn’t matter if the candidate doesn’t “get it” and love it.”
Apply the Shopping Center Test
“Suppose you’re at a shopping center, and you see the candidate. He is fifty feet away and has not seen you. You have three choices: (1) beeline it over to him and say hello; (2) say to yourself, “This shopping center isn’t that big; if I bump into him, then I’ll say hello, if not, that’s okay too;” (3) get in your car and go to another shopping center. My contention is that unless the candidate elicits the first response, you shouldn’t hire him.”

Date before you marry

“Try before you buy” says Dharmesh Shah. “You should make it a practice to have people work for the company before you hire them. Though hiring an employee you don’t know is not quite as big a commitment as getting married, it can often be almost as risky from a startup’s perspective. (Apologies for the metaphor, it is almost 2:00 a.m. here in Boston and I can’t think of anything better). In this model, potential employees (especially those in the technical ranks) are considered to be in a “probationary” period (what I would call the “dating” period) for some length of time. During this period (which was usually 60-90 days in my case), either party has the ability to declare that the relationship is just not working out and move on – with no misgivings on either side. This is made clear very early in the process.”
There are implementation issues but the concept makes sense. You can use ‘probationary’ period more effectively. I suggest you read not only the article but also the comments below it because they give you a perspective of differing views on this topic.
There’s enough juice in all these articles to think about. Do think about it and pen your thoughts in the comments.
Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcogomes/

No kidding! Your accountant is your wife in office. Choose her carefully.

Choosing the right accountantHave you heard about an accountant who visited the Natural History museum, where, when he spotted a dinosaur he said: “This is exactly two billion years, and ten months old.”

“How did you figure that out?” gushed an incredulous neighbor.

“I was here ten months ago, and the guide told me that the dinosaur is two billion years old.” he declared.

Now if that sounds like the accountant you hired, you are in big trouble.

Your relationship with your accountant is like that between a husband and wife; it matters a lot and what happens between them is private and confidential.

Your Accountant must be intimately informed of your financial affairs and you must be able to trust her. If she is not trustworthy, don’t touch her with a barge pole!

Accountant is more than just a bean-counter

The right accountant can do much more than prepare your yearly taxes. Are you planning to invest in new options but want a second opinion? Cash-flow crisis? or inventory pricing problem? Your accountant is the person you must turn to for advice. He or she can advise on management decisions, business growth strategy, payroll management, and investments.

I, for instance, sounded off my accountant on capital structuring and tax issues and keep him aware of important developments in the company. Over time, we have worked on our relationship, where I trust him enough to actively analyze, interpret and convert data into actionable business intelligence inputs.

The wrong person on the other hand can cost you money, can cause trouble with tax and other government agencies and can cost you many missed opportunities.

A relationship with an Accountant is about compatibility and long-term

Just like a husband-wife relationship, this too boils down to compatibility. Check out all the facets of compatibility with your accountant as well. Here’s a good to-do.


  • Conduct a careful search. Seek referrals from professionals you already use and trust, such as bankers, insurance agents, or lawyers, or from companies in similar lines of business.
  • Verify credentials. Experience has taught me that some prospects claiming to be working as bookkeepers or accountants have no formal license or education in the business. Ask for references from his top three clients. If they happen to be in the same business as you, it’s a good sign.
  • Double check references. He or she must be listed somewhere. Perhaps she’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the state CPA society, and/or the National Association of Black Accountants. Verify.
  • Look for the right chemistry. Make sure you are comfortable with your accountant. It is important that the two of you are generally on the same page. How do you determine whether you have an ideal ‘values’ fit with your accountant?
    Bear in mind the following issues when you quiz your prospect:

    • Does she understand you, your business goals and your long-term objectives?
    • Is she the kind who will be proactive in looking out for newer opportunities for you?
    • Are you more important to her than her fee?
    • Is she transparent with you about her work? Will she add value to your business? And
    • Do you trust his/her judgment?

    By all means be choosy and selective. You can make a good decision only after you have tested the market and spoken to a few hopefuls. Pick the one who best aligns with your work style and values.

  • Factor in your special needs. If you have unusual accounting problems, you should look for someone specialized in that field. For instance, if you need an audit for your company, additional designations such as CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) could be helpful.
  • Best is not necessarily the most

    suitable. No point in hiring the best consultant in town; if he/she has no time for you. In such a case, it’s better to go for someone with a small and sound practice, who has adequate time and interest to help your business.

  • Seasoned is good. Keeping in mind the changing tax laws and complex accounting rules, a minimum of five years in an industry is a good benchmark to go by.
  • Finally, Don’t be afraid to switch. There is no point suffering a bad marriage. The problem could range from simple incompetence to a case of bad chemistry. Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to look for a replacement. An accountant is important to your success for you to compromise.

Take your time, get the right Accountant
If you are in a hurry to choose an accountant, you might be making a mistake. This is not one of those activities that can be done in a hurry. You have to take your time. Getting references, talking to them, talking to multiple prospects, and figuring out who suits you, all these activities take time. Give the time it needs so you can get benefited from the long-term relationship.

Remember the old adage? “No pain, no gain.” Happy hunting!

Picture Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/hendry/

Link Building to create massive traffic to your website:


Link Building to create massive traffic to your website:Link Building

  1. Cutting Edge Link Building Tactics
    “Persuading other web sites to link to your own could be one of the cleverest pieces of marketing you do – it’s low cost, highly effective at driving traffic and it can have a dramatic effect on your search engine ranking. Links are one of the most popular ways for people to find new sites and so the more quality sites that link to you the better.”
    I Prefer the PowerPoint that came along with the article.
  2. How to Get Piles of Links, Subscribers and Comments
    Skellie discusses 18 good ways to get links.

Picture credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

How to Lock-in Your Clients – 1: Listen to them

Many small businesses face this issue.

Listening skills for small business

“I want my customer to stay with me and not go to the competition. How do I do that?”

Many small businesses think that making their clients stay is difficult and complex. Nothing can be farther from truth. It’s simple, easy and, best of all, does not cost anything.

Most [means all :-)] people have a need-the need to feel important; the need to be acknowledged and understood; the need to feel valued and cared for. When you deliver a service, the above needs come to the fore. When a client’s need for feeling important is not satisfied, it hurts him/her and feel neglected. They complain – “service is poor.”

How do you make the client feel important and cared for? There is one simple way.
Listen to your client well. It’s as simple as it sounds. And it’s easy to implement.

How do you listen better? The first thing to do is to start with YOU. You must develop a desire to listen to your client.

DESIRE to listen

You must develop a desire to listen to your client. What does she have to say? Listen patiently and wait until he/she is finished. If something is not clear, ask him/her at the logical moment. The desire to listen must be as a receiver of information- not as a critic. The desire is to understand the client and not to make her agree to something or to change her opinion.

If you get this, the rest are all details. It’s just a matter of time you will be able to listen better. If you don’t it’s unlikely that you will improve. So I suggest that you check for yourself if you have the desire.

Once you have the desire, it is time to go beyond understand the how to listen better. I recommend these good resources that give you very good grounding on how to improve your listening skills.

1. How to be a good listener

2. Practicing listening skills

3. Eight barriers to effective listening

In addition, the table below (Source: Active listening: Skills Associated with Empathy ) summarizes what you should do.

It breaks down listening skill into detailed tasks. It’s a good check list of activities that you can do to improve your listening skills.

What you should do

What it means

Attending, acknowledging

Providing verbal or non-verbal awareness of


other, i.e. eye contact

Restating, paraphrasing

Responding to person’s basic verbal message


Reflecting feelings, experiences, or content

that has been heard or perceived through cues


Offering a tentative interpretation about the

other’s feelings, desires, or meanings

Summarizing, synthesizing

Bringing together in some way feelings and

experiences; providing a focus


Questioning in a supportive way that requests more

information or that attempts to clear up confusions

Giving feedback

Sharing perceptions of the other’s ideas or feelings;

disclosing relevant personal information


Showing warmth and caring in one’s own individual way

Checking perceptions

Finding out if interpretations and perceptions

are valid and accurate

Being quiet

Giving the client time to think as well as to talk

Your clients will love you if you develop listening skills. That’s because they don’t have good professionals – those who care for them and value them-and so are looking for them. If you can show them that you are ‘good’ and are willing to listen to them, they will give you more business.

Before I close this post, I would like to tell you that having listening skills alone will not cut it. You have to perform. You have to deliver what the client wants. You have to do what the client is paying you to do. But you can expect better loyalty from them because you’ve listened better.

I hope you will be able to imbibe listening skills and delight your clients!

About the author: Chaitanya Sagar is an expert in small businesses and is the CEO of www.p2w2.com, an online marketplace for services like writing, business consulting, research, software, online-tutoring etc. You can find good service providers and collaborate with them on p2w2. He blogs at www.p2w2.com/blog. You can Subscribe to RSS feed here.

Picture: LifeDynamix