Knowing When it May Be Beneficial for Small Businesses to Outsource Work

Whilst it may appear as if your small business is saving money, handling multiple responsibilities in-house can be both time-consuming and extremely expensive. Granted, you’ve likely decided that the key to business success lies in developing good behaviour. As such, you may see your ability to assume multiple roles and responsibilities as an inherent strength. However, what do you do when those tasks become too much to handle? What do you do when some tasks become too costly to manage in-house? After all, you’re responsible for business development. Doesn’t it just make sense that you focus your efforts elsewhere, instead of rationalising your decision to go it alone? When faced with such a decision, it is important to understand the innumerable benefits of outsourcing. Regardless of whether it includes outsourcing IT, marketing or payroll, there are a number of immediate benefits to choosing an outside firm to handle these day-to-day tasks.

Free Up Valuable Resources: One of the first benefits of outsourcing is how it immediately frees up valuable internal resources. Whether that includes removing timely obstacles for yourself, or your employees, your business is bound to reduce its costs by outsourcing certain redundant and repetitive business functions. You’ll not only reduce your overhead, but you’ll be able to hand over these responsibilities knowing they’ll be managed properly. After all, you’re in the proverbial “driver’s seat.” You are now able to dictate terms of service with your chosen outsourcing firm.

Protect Business Knowledge and Know-How: Your business knowledge is an asset, one that can be stolen, used against you or simply copied. Whilst you may view your employees as loyal and committed to the cause, the reality is that information theft is a going concern for all enterprises. Outsourcing IT reduces the growing concern of theft by protecting confidential and critical data. You’ll be able to upgrade your service capabilities, protect your vital data, and provide remote desktop management to both internal and external customers. Whether that includes providing 24/7 support, or revamping your website with improved online order fulfilment capabilities, outsourcing IT is a cost saving solution that just makes sense.

Reduced Tax Burden: It’s amazing just how many enterprises must cover late, incorrect and incomplete tax filings. Whilst PAYE rules are clearly defined, small businesses still face yearly fines for not properly filling out their returns. However, your small business can immediately eliminate these fines by using an outsourcing firm. In fact, most firms will provide a guarantee that any fees will be reimbursed.

Don’t rationalise your decision to keep these aforementioned business functions in-house. There is an immediate savings to using outside firms, ones who assume full responsibility for a given business function. Reduce your costs and focus on growing your business. In the end, that will not only save you money, but make it easier to grow your enterprise.

Robert Dean has worked in the document shredding business for several years and believes in the importance of data security. He currently works for The Shredding Alliance.

What are the steps to start Your New Business with a Clean Credit Score

Many people dream of owning their personal business. However, before you give wings to your dream, it is very important to organize your personal finances. At this stage, you will be required to put in your own personal finances to get started with your business. However, to initiate successfully, it is very important that you use a ‘professional eye’ approach towards your personal finances.

Start-up expenses can be huge but it is advisable that you use your own personal finances to carry out the initial expenses. Avoid funding these expenses on credit or else you will end up with huge credit debt. You also have the option to go for a business loan. This is a better option as compared to credit card because it is a one-time loan with usually lower interest rates as compared to credit card.

However, there is a connection between your credit card and business loan that you must understand in order to successfully apply for a business loan. The relationship is that your credit card debt must be in order before you could apply for business loan. This means that you must maintain clear credit score if you wish to win the business loan without any hassle.

If you do not possess an organized business loan history, then lenders will look up to your personal credit score to negotiate loan terms. Do not let credit score problems affect your business set-up in its initial stages.

Your credit score is indeed a very important number for your personal business career. You will need to show it off for various purposes once you are running your own business. It works as the determining factors, especially for negotiating loan application and interest rates.

Three Steps to Set-Up Your Business with Clean Credit Score

As a new business owner, you must definitely look for lower interest rates on any credit finance or loan you acquire. This will give a solid base for your business to begin.

Step 1 – Pay Your Credit Card Debt

After identifying your credit weakness, take appropriate measures to improve your standing. The basic goal you will be working for is to eliminate any credit card debt you are liable to pay. At first this may not seem to be the best idea, but it is true, paying your debt faster can actually ease down your debt payment. It will also cause it to be less expensive eliminating the additional interest you will be required to pay otherwise.

The idea is to make double payments on the minimum balance of the debt with the highest interest liability. You can manage the rest of your credit liability with lower interest rates the way you like. By paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first; you can save yourself from paying the additional amount of the extra interest for a particular debt liability.

Once the highest is paid, move on the debt liability with the next highest interest rate and so on. Eventually, this will lead you to clear out your credit card debt maintaining a healthy credit score for you.

Step 2 – Study Your Credit Report

How often do you check your credit report? You must do it often in order to ensure there are no mistakes that are reflecting any negative effects on your credit score as well as your interest rates.

In case you find a mistake, you can seek assistance from the credit-reporting agency and dispute them. Your dispute will be responded within 30 days successfully. This is indeed worth trying since you have nothing to lose in this procedure, except for bad credit score.

Step 3 – Pay Bills

The negotiation over your business loan will not solely be based on your debt liability payment. You must also show that you are responsible when it comes to your bills and debt payments. You can do this by showing a good history of your rent, car payments, or utility bills. In short, keeping all the payables and debts in place and organized will help you achieve business loan with a lower interest rate.

About the Author: The article is provided by Rosette Summer. She thinks that good finances make successful business! But in case this does not persuade you, visit Consolidated Credit’s website for debt relief advice.

4 Tips for Understanding the Difference between Insolvency and Bankruptcy

Insolvency and bankruptcy are two entirely different things although the two are often confused. Insolvency is a state in which a business no longer has the means of paying debts on time. This occurs whenever liability or debt exceeds the company’s revenue or cash flow. Once a company is deemed insolvent, immediate action must be taken in order to settle or negotiate debts. Not effectively solving insolvency can lead to bankruptcy or a liquidation of all assets. Because insolvency and bankruptcy are often confused, it is helpful to know the differences in the two.

  1. Insolvency is defined as the inability to meet current financial obligations. In other words, your company is not currently making enough money to pay your debts. This can occur at any time if your business revenue falls below what you require to keep debts paid on time. Bankruptcy is often the end result of insolvency and involves liquidating assets in order to pay debtors. In some cases and depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, the business itself may not be required to pay the debts off but will likely end up closing due to lack of assets.
  2. Creditors have the ability to invoke additional rights if a business becomes insolvent. During a bankruptcy however, creditor rights are limited. Once your company is declared bankrupt you receive a bit of protection from your creditors. In the case of insolvency however, you have no such protection and creditors are legally allowed to collect their debts using a number of different means.
  3. Companies that become insolvent actually have a way out. Bonds can be sold that will help to raise needed cash to pay debtors. Once a business enters into a bankruptcy however, this leeway is no longer an option. If you are forced to file bankruptcy on your business you will have to follow through with the bankruptcy. Becoming insolvent can be turned around by simply accumulating more cash.
  4. Companies that are insolvent may be forced to become bankrupt or go into receivership. In some cases, you may be forced to liquidate assets in order to pay debts. Once you have found yourself insolvent you have a number of decisions to make regarding the future of your business. You can choose to attempt to raise additional revenue to keep your debts paid or find ways of refinancing that debt to lower your payments and/or bring your accounts current. Bankruptcy is normally the last result for small business owners who are insolvent and cannot find a way to bring their debts current.

Businesses can recover from insolvency and many have. There are a number of ways that you can raise capital to keep your business head above water while you build up customer bases and sales. Choosing to declare bankruptcy is a decision that should be considered carefully and again, this is often the last resort for small business owners. Understanding the differences between bankruptcy and insolvency is important as is choosing a qualified and experienced attorney should you decide that bankruptcy is in the best interest of your company.

Insolvency does not always lead to bankruptcy and all businesses that are insolvent are not bankrupt. However, all businesses that do file bankruptcy are considered to be insolvent because they have exhausted all means possible of paying debts and have found no viable solution for doing so.

About the Author: This article was written by Real Business Recovery, a team of award-winning insolvency practitioners specializing in Company Voluntary Arrangements or CVA. Visit us at http://www.realbusinessrecovery.co.uk for more information.

Increase your Brand Awareness with Banner Advertising

Banner advertising is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use to promote your business, event or product. Banner advertising has a number of advantages over more common forms of advertisement, and has become quite popular as a result.

The first advantage of banner advertising is its cost, as it is relatively inexpensive compared to the many other types of available advertising. Banners are able to be used until they are worn out, and you only have to pay for one banner at a time, giving you a value for money advertising system. Other forms of print advertising such as magazines and newspapers require you to pay for each time you want to advertise in every different issue. Television advertising holds the same problem.

Another advantage of banner advertising is its high visibility. Banners come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, including amongst others, tear drop banners and flag banners. This allows you to cater for the type of space or area in which you wish to advertise. Due to their large size, banners are instantly eye catching, especially when designed with large words and bright colours in order to make people take notice. Customised banners such as the tear drop and flag banner, allow you to place them in areas with high traffic, whether that be vehicle or pedestrian in nature. Banners are likely to be seen by thousands of people every day in some situations, and if they are effectively designed, they will give your message a lot of attention and greatly increase your brand awareness to the general public.

Banners are also able to be easily set up and transported. This allows you to take your advertising with you to a number of different areas and events to help spread your message in a wider area. Banners are easily portable in carry bags, and can be quickly set up and secured via the use of accessories such as pegs, stands and weights. This allows you to effectively and efficiently advertise in and move between multiple areas, using a variety of different banners available including tear drop banners, flag banners, sail banners, pop up banners and many more.

Banners have been proven to be an effective marketing tool in a variety of different situations. Whilst not everyone watches television, or reads newspapers and magazines, they will leave the house to travel to work shop or socialise, which gives indoor and outdoor banner advertising a great advantage over other more conventional advertising methods.

About the Author: Joseph Caley is a proficient blogger and reader always on the lookout for information on different ways of marketing and advertising, helps to add insight to the designers creating Tear Drop Banners, Advertising Banners and Banner Stands.

An Independent Local Bookstore Beats the Odds

Few industries have been overturned as violently by the information revolution as the book trade. Amazon.com has proven such an efficient, convenient, and comprehensive retailer of the printed word, that for years now observers have questioned whether it might mean the demise of the brick-and-mortar bookstore.

However, this does not tell the whole story. The bookstore business had already been decimated on a local level by the rise, first, of national chains within the once-thriving mall ecosystem (B. Dalton, Waldenbooks) and then of big-box stores (Barnes & Noble, Borders). The latter could offer a selection of inventory that most independents could not, but in turn they were roundly beaten at this game by the big yellow e-tailer, whose ability to retrieve what customers want to buy is slowly approaching infinity.

So when Borders went bankrupt last year, it might at first have seemed like the end of the physical bookstore. But away from the malls and main drags, all across America, a dwindling number of small, independent bookstores had long been hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

A case in point is Houston’s Brazos Bookstore. Founded in 1974 by local literary scenester Karl Killian, over the decades Brazos developed a reputation as one of the city’s artistic hotspots. Always first and foremost a labor of love, the store buckled under 21st -century financial pressures and nearly closed its doors before being rescued by a consortium of patrons of the arts in 2006.

brazos bookstore
Image by Liz and Gianna’s Adventure Bookland

Despite new ownership and management, the store continued to lose money and faced another crisis in 2011. The end looked nigh once more, but in a bold vote of confidence (nearly simultaneously with the Borders collapse!) the ownership elected to keep the store open and bring in new management again. Today’s manager, Jeremy Ellis, has overhauled both the image and the infrastructure of Brazos, bringing not only a palpable new vitality but a steady profit. I asked Mr. Ellis the keys to his success in this extremely challenging niche. Here are his answers:

1. A hyperlocal emphasis

One advantage Brazos has over competitors like Amazon and even Barnes & Noble is that it’s a genuine, unique part of the community. The store’s bulging Texana section and close relationships with area authors provide real assets that can’t be outmatched by the more impersonal online experience.

2. Aggressive social-media presence

In tandem with this community focus, Brazos has beefed up its online activity. Readings and other events are announced via Facebook, email newsletters, Twitter, and across multiple other platforms. In-store inventory is now visible on brazosbookstore.com, where they are also selling e-books. On an internal level, the office has streamlined its operations, going all-Google for mail, document collaboration, etc.

3. Personalized service

This spring the store launched an initiative called Inuchan, patterned on a Japanese retail concept Ellis had read about and become enamored with. Enrollees in this subscription program complete an interview with mysterious questions right out of a personality quiz (“Paris or New York?” “Dogs or cats?”) in order to determine what monthly books and gifts each customer will get. This high-end service complements the store’s existing book club, special-order policy, and savvy, approachable staff.

4. Quality over quantity

Along with the new manager came a new buyer, Danielle DuBois Dimond, a graduate of the University of Houston’s prestigious Creative Writing Program. Besides her extensive literary knowledge, Dimond brings a keen aesthetic eye, insisting that “customers do judge books by their covers and so I do too.” Indeed, the store almost gleams with colorful displays and its gorgeous out-facing art section. This is not mere frippery, says Dimond but another strategy of survival in the shadow of Amazon: “I treat my job like that of a curator, because that’s our competitive advantage: we can’t have everything, but we can have the best things.”

About the Author: Aniya Wells is a freelance blogger whose primary focus is writing about online degree programs. She also enjoys investigating trends in other niches, notably technology, traditional higher education, health, and small business. Aniya welcomes reader questions and comments at aniyawells@gmail.com.

The Value of Your Response on Social Media to Upset Customers

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • From my recent experiences as a customer who complained over social media
  • 5 tips on how to respond to angry customers who have lashed out at you over social media

One of the best ways to learn about social media marketing and the impact it can have for your customers is to use social media as the customer of some other business. You can learn a lot of valuable lessons on how to treat your customers, particularly angry customers, if you are first one yourself. Pay attention to how you are responded to and how that made you feel. Are you more or less likely to do business with the company based on how they responded to you through social media? I have personally had 2 instances in the last couple of weeks in which businesses earned my respect because of how they responded to my displeasure with their business.

Experience #1: I was instructed by my wife, on the morning of the last day of school, to go to McDonald’s and get a gift card for one of my kids teachers as an appreciation gift. This teacher loves McDonald’s. The morning was packed with things to be done and there really was no time to spare. I pull up to the drive up and ask for a gift card. Sadly, they tell me they are out. Okay, fair enough. I travel to the next closest McDonald’s and pull up there. I ask for a gift card and was told that they are out of gift cards. “Really”, I thought to myself? This is a monster chain restaurant. Can they all really be out of gift cards? I tweeted at them expressing my displeasure and end the tweet with the hash tag of #fail. Shortly after, I receive a tweet from someone on the McDonald’s Twitter customer service team. Did you know they have a whole team, website, etc. dedicated to providing customer service via Twitter? I didn’t either. We exchanged several tweets back and forth, which ended with a direct message asking if she could send me some gift cards directly. I was very impressed with how this was handled. They were very professional in their approach and very accommodating. Respect earned.

Experience #2: My wife called me to tell me that the local water park was closing down for the day because they were not making money. She had been there with my kids for the last 2 hours and they were now being kicked out so that they could close. It was a colder day, sure, but that is not why they closed. If the park had been packed they would have stayed open. They tried to claim on their Facebook page that they had closed for the “health and safety of their customers”. I took issue and commented on the post. Needless to say, I stirred a pot with others who “like” them on Facebook. Some supporting me, some saying that I should have my head examined for taking my kids to a water park on such a cold day. In some cases, it got personal. However, The local water park maintained a professional approach in their responses to my “calling them out”. They left my posts up on their Facebook page. They replied several times and was part of the conversation. I noticed that they did delete one post that was particularly personal against me. While I did not agree with their business decision to close the park that day, I gained some additional respect for them based on the fact that they did not shy away from the conversation and kept things respectful when I am sure it was not comfortable for them.

Business owners and marketing professionals everywhere need to learn the lessons of social media customer service. Here are some tips on how to respond and how not to respond to angry customers on social media.

  1. Pay attention! Someone needs to be monitoring the company’s social media accounts and what people are saying.
  2. Do not delete the post of an angry customer. This will only anger them more and send them on a longer rant, and potentially to other places to leave negative reviews.
  3. Address the post in “public”. Let others see your responsiveness and your professional customer service. This will shed good light on your customer service.
  4. If you need to go behind closed doors after first responding publicly, that is fine. In many cases you will want to do this to make sure you do not get a rash of fake complaints trying to get free stuff.
  5. Do not become personal, stay professional. Even if you do not gain them back as a customer, they will respect the fact that you stayed above board on the situation and they are less likely to talk negatively about you.

About the Author: Rick Hardman is an SEO manager at seo.com who loves to use social media personally as well as professionally.

Why is Internet fax the perfect faxing solution for SMEs?

When running a small business it is important to be able to communicate with clients in every possible way to meet their needs, but one channel that is often overlooked is fax.

Many people believe that faxing is a thing of the past and believe that they can get by with just email and telephone. But did you know that the contents of any email can be intercepted multiple times en route to its final destination? It is read and stored by ISPs, servers, firewalls, virus checkers and unscrupulous ‘bots’ that harvest email data.

This is just one reason why secure Internet faxing is so beneficial to small businesses, as it ensures that the sensitive data being sent and received is done so securely and that it is not going to be read or intercepted along the way.

Here are the main reasons why Internet faxing is a better option to manual faxing or emailing:

1. Cloud Computing

By embracing cloud computing and using Software as a Service, small businesses can benefit from numerous efficiencies without the need to buy, build and maintain IT infrastructure to support the technology.

Internet faxing allows businesses to access and send its documents via the Internet instead of installing and managing new software. This saves businesses both time and money whilst giving them the ability to automate processes, reduce risk, increase competitiveness and improve performance.

2. Time Saving

Time is a precious commodity for any small business and when using an Internet fax service, it’s possible to reduce any unnecessary time spent at the fax machine. Through this system, a fax number will be assigned to your business. But rather than receive faxes through traditional means, you’ll receive them to your inbox, just as you would an email.

3. Cost Reduction

Most Internet fax services cost just a small monthly fee, dependent on how often the service is used, but some can charge per fax sent, which could be a better option for those who do not regularly send faxes. Monthly charges range from as low as $2-10 upwards.

Faxing the old-fashioned way costs money on a regular basis: line rental, paper, ink and sending fees. Not to mention the time consuming nature of physically sending documents, especially if multiple documents need to be sent to multiple locations. And time is a cost in itself.

4. Eco efficiency

Online faxing helps companies eliminate paper and streamline business processes. This solution allows them to save on paper because instead of faxes being printed out automatically, you have the ability to select which documents need to be preserved on actual paper.

5. Security

One of the major benefits of Internet Fax  is the improved security this system offers. For example, some services give you the ability to restrict access to your faxes, track usage data, and protect your important documents from outside interference. A manual fax machine can never provide this level of service.

Unfortunately, many people have a preconceived perception of fax, which is based on memories of the 1980s. However, modern internet faxing is so hugely different from the previous version with more flexibility, accessibility than ever before, it must be tried to be believed.

About the Author: Written by Aleks Szymanski CEO, SecureCare Technologies, Inc. SecureCare has spent 10 years securely digitizing, processing and storing sensitive information to eliminate
 manual processes and paper. Today it provides a ‘double encrypted’ HIPAA-compliant Internet fax for the healthcare sector named Sfax.

Public Liability Insurance

There are a number of insurance types businesses are required to have and one of the latest ones is public liability insurance. This is not a legally required insurance but many businesses are finding they are missing out on business if they do not have this level of cover. Members of the general public in recent years have learned a lot about business insurance and as such are looking for proof of public liability insurance before they will hire trades people to complete work for them.

Public liability insurance, in its simplest terms, covers businesses against claims of damages and injury. Whether a customer’s property is damaged on the business premises or within the customer’s own home, or the customer themself is injured, the business will be covered against any claim put forward.

As with all insurance there are a number of aspects to look out for when buying public liability insurance. When looking at any policy it is important to keep a number of questions in mind: these include ‘what is included in the policy’ – does it cover every aspect of your business and the situations you work in? It is also important to check that the level of cover is enough for your business: if you do not take out the right level of cover you may find yourself having to pay out against claims that the policy does not cover.

Another important question to consider when looking for public liability insurance is if you can change your level of cover depending upon your needs. There is no point taking out a policy which won’t allow you to increase the level of cover as your business grows. Similarly, if your work is mainly seasonal you won’t want to be paying large amounts out on months where you aren’t getting much work in – look for a policy which can be flexible around your business needs.

5 Tools To Get Things DONE!

It is so hard to get yourself to work when you just don’t feel like doing it. From handling a deadline to working out or just cleaning your house, when you are feeling lazy it can be a real chore to get yourself started. Of course, once you get going you will probably find yourself breezing through it, which makes procrastination so pointless. But that doesn’t make the initial spark of activity any easier.

For the many people who find this to be the case, there is some help. No, it isn’t a swift boot in the behind, or some stupid platitude about picking yourself up by the belt loops and getting yourself in gear.

Instead, you can use these much more effective motivation tools that will help you get yourself moving and doing whatever is currently on the agenda.

1. Motivation Images

Motivation Images

This is a fun little Android app from the maker of House MD Quotes and WiFi Scanner. The idea is simple: having a few motivational, humorous images will go a long way to push you into doing what needs to be done. They have both common and rare motivationals with cats, weird pictures, laugh out loud observations and more. You can like/dislike select, add some to your favorites or share them with others on social networking sites synced with the app. He has so far started with more than 1,350 images, so you should be OK for awhile, until an update comes. It’s not practical, but its fun. Sometimes that is all you need to put your mind in the right place.

2. 8Tracks

8Tracks

If you haven’t found this site before, you will be in love by the time you finish your first browse of it. This is a place where you can make, share and listen to playlists with full songs. But this is more than just “good tunes for a good mood”. If you do a search for ‘motivation” or “motivational”, you will end up with hundreds of playlists. Some of these are up beat or inspiring songs, or even spoken word speeches, lectures and quotes. If you want something to help you while you work out, you can search for that. Or music to help you study or work. They have an iPhone/iPod app, so you can take them with you. Or just play them in your browser while you go about your business. It is my personal favorite music site, and one I use every day. Quick Tip: It can be annoying to search the site when you are signed in. Make sure you have selected the ‘Search All Mixes’ link for a broad search, or go by keyword to search your liked playlists. To make it really easy, sign out and search, then sign in if you want to like a playlist.

3. RoutineTaps

RoutineTaps

This is an extremely helpful app that you will be sure to love. It works by letting you set up questions about your own patterns and behavior. For example, how much time you spend working, exercising, sleeping or anything else. You save them on your profile, then answer it frequently. It recommends once a day, which will give you the most accurate results. It only takes a few minutes, so this shouldn’t inconvenience you. From there, it will create a graph of information so you can see all of your data in one place. It’s free to use and very helpful. It is surpris

ing to see how much you really do (or don’t do).

4. Don’t Break The Chain

RoutineTaps

The idea is a simple one based off of a motivation technique used by Jerry Seinfeld. It works by marking off the days you keep up with a single goal. The calender turns red on all the days you do what you are supposed to. The point is to not break the chain that results. It is a great motivator, effective in that it both gives a visual representation of your success, and keeps you focused on a single goal.

5. LazyMeter

LazyMeter

One of the biggest mistakes people make is forcing themselves to use endless to-do lists that leave them feeling horribly overwhelmed. This program works by focusing on daily goals only, and so keeping it all in scale. Instead of putting a goal far off, you get to see your success every day. There is nothing more motivating than success. It even has a reminder system that is really great.

Conclusion

Getting up and moving can take a lot more effort than you might have to spare. Laziness can gather and leave you feeling like your mind and body have been dipped in concrete and left to dry. But with the tools above, you can break through the apathy and get yourself going. So make sure to try them out, and see how easy it is.

Jess is a productivity geek and business writer for Dobovo, the free online tool for business travelers!

Getting Started: Hiring Your First Employee

You have started your own business recently and it has begun to pick up speed now. As the associated jobs grow more challenging and numerous, it is time for you to hire your first employees to share the burden. But things can go wrong drastically if you do not hire the right person with the right skills. Here are a few points to keep in mind before you hire your very first employee.

Outline the Job Description

Invest enough time in outlining the job description of your future employee based on the tasks that you need the most help with in running your business. Club the tasks that require similar skills to carry out and determine if short term training can equip a new employee to take on some more. This will help you shortlist applicants who have the kind of skills that will prove most useful to you. This job description can also be used to give the candidate a clear picture of the expectations that he/ she will need to fulfill.

employee hiring tips
Image: David Castillo Dominici

Use Referrals to Locate Good Employees

Advertising for the position is perhaps the only way to get the maximum number of applications for the post. However, giving first preference for referrals from friends or industry colleagues is a smart idea.

Also keep in mind that the candidates who are accustomed to working for a smaller concern are more likely to be flexible about taking on new roles or demonstrating initiative with the job. If such candidates come with referrals from trusted colleagues, they should definitely be given due weightage. Those who have experience with a multinational are more likely to work well when they have well established rules and processes to follow.

Background Checks

Once you have identified a few likely candidates, it is time to carry out the background checks. Never overlook this step because a talk with a previous employer can reveal a lot about your future employee’s work ethics, capabilities as well as weaknesses.

If you have asked for three or four references, take the time to check with each and every one of them. Remember that your time is well invested if the information you uncover helps you make a judicious choice of your first employees. Carry out a credit check too, if necessary, especially if the candidate will be handling jobs where financial transactions will be taking place on a regular basis.

Gain an Idea of Pay Scales

Before you start calling in your shortlisted candidates for an interview, it is important that you have a clear picture of what the industry standard is in terms of pay scales for the position you need to fill. Compare notes with peers or look through employment sites to get a good idea of what others are paying candidates for similar job descriptions. Allow yourself the flexibility to offer an enhanced paycheck to exceptional candidates.

Coming Face to Face

The interview is the time when you and your future employee come face to face for the very first time. Remember that your ’employee’ is forming his opinion of you and your business at this time too. Maintain a friendly yet completely professional approach all through so that he gets an idea of the kind of environment he can expect to work in if selected.

Ensure that your questions to him are designed so that you can gauge his industry knowledge, enthusiasm, respect for the employer, ethical values, commitment and passion for his work. It is impossible for you to accurately measure all of these at one go but you can always call shortlisted candidates for second interview too.

About the Author: Penny is an expert associated with Recruiterbox, an online applicant tracking system that helps companies manage their hiring in one place. Many companies previously using email and excel, reduced their hiring hassles by moving to Recruiterbox. Learn more about creative hiring practices and other interesting stories on the Recruiterbox blog.