Hiring Your Weaknesses

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Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published on 07/01/17, www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive

Source: During most of their entrepreneurial journey, a small business owner will wear many hats when managing and taking to tasks the numerous duties required to operate their small local business enterprise. How does the small business owner become profitable, while freeing themselves from tasks that are necessary in the day to day running of their business, all while not neglecting areas of their business? They must focus on hiring their weaknesses.

As a new business owner, it may seem that you will be wearing many hats. Before you have a workforce to rely on, you are an army of one; in charge of every task and duty involved in operating your small business enterprise. You must go to work to get the work so you can go to work to make a profit.

In between all those things, you are the one who takes to task putting together the marketing and advertising, are the one in charge of networking with potential clients in your community, and are the one with the duties of stocking the shelves and maintaining a positive and clean appearing store front. At first it will seem very overwhelming to handle all these job responsibilities as they have many moving parts. A new business owner must come to terms with how many duties they can effectively handle, so that each task is done correctly, turning out positive results for their business.

Each business owner must come to terms with themselves, and be completely honest about what their strongest skills are that they have to contribute to their business and what their weaknesses are, which pose a determent to their own enterprise. It is only in this very humbling experience, can a business owner set aside ego and become teachable and open to delegating tasks to other people.

So how does a business owner know what their best skill sets are? There are methods that will help come to this conclusion. Start with a clean sheet of white paper, and make a list of all the reasons why you started your business. Then make another list of all the tasks and responsibilities you enjoy about operating your business. On another sheet of paper list all the tasks that you don’t enjoy or find rewarding within the day to day operations of the business, but yet are critical functions that must be addressed. Then think about this for a moment…the tasks that you do not enjoy doing, is it because you are not as well trained in these areas?

Take a moment to rank each task according to a scale of one through ten – one being the score given to a task that you are least confident in doing yourself, and are least educated or trained in, including tasks that you are not willing to become educated or trained in. This will help you in defining both your strongest skills and weaknesses, giving you a baseline of which jobs you can expect yourself to source out to an independent contractor or delegate to an employee.

So, what is the best use of the business owner’s time? Usually it is the business owner who is the leading sales representative for their business. Potential customers want to know the story and the message behind the scenes that makes the business stand out from others like it in the surrounding area. It’s the business owner, who is the founder that tells this story the best, including why the business owner decided to go down the self-employment track. The business owner needs to dedicate time to building relationships with multiple audiences. They will need to have positive relationships with other business owners, which sometimes become customers, with vendors and suppliers, with professionals (such as accountants or attorneys), with local community leaders, and with potential customers. This will require the business owner to set aside time to network with these different groups of people. The business owner needs to spend time researching new product or service offerings. This may require the business owner to take time out from the day to day operations of the business and travel to trade shows or attend events that showcase the latest innovations. The business owner also is at the lead in providing customer service.

A business owner must look at financial metrics of the best use of their time. There are several methods for calculating where the business and business owner’s time must be focused in order for the business to realize a profit. My approach is looking at the business and the vision in the bigger picture; then reverse engineering this model to put a plan in motion that will get the business owner to focus their best use of time on activities and goals that will help them arrive at their determined benchmarks.  All other tasks that don’t directly help the business and business owner achieve these goals can be delegated.

Tasks such as office or property maintenance, cleaning and stocking of store front shelves, or cleaning of tools, are all examples of minimum wage activities that take away the business owner from their core duties in making the business profitable. This is where a business owner can hire someone part-time to handle these jobs. This is considered a weakness for the business owner, because these tasks do not generate an income.

There are two methods on how a business owner can hire their weaknesses. The first method is hiring third parties to handle functions of their business, on a project by project basis, where these tasks do not require a full-time employee on site. A business owner may opt to hire a bookkeeper, accountant, and/or payroll service that are given the responsibilities for maintaining records of the financial transactions of the business, filing of taxes, and dealings with all the HR management aspects of the business’s workforce. A business owner might decide to farm out their marketing and advertising to a branding and marketing company, to handle the creation and development of the business’s marketing collateral, ad placement, social media and digital marketing campaigns, as well as develop a website and other public awareness campaigns. A business owner may also choose to hire a landscaper or janitorial service to maintain the business’s location or storefront.

The other method for hiring your weaknesses is to hire direct employees to work for your business. You may have a hair salon and you, yourself may be an expert hair stylist, but find it difficult to answer the phone, and book appointments for clients, while trying to provide service to the client right in front of you. If so, you can hire a receptionist that can handle and manage customer service over the phone. You might be experiencing growth and need additional people to help service your already successful flow of customers. Then you would be in search of employees that have similar skill sets to offer so they can assist in servicing your customers. Maybe your business is a retail business, and you need a stock clerk, in which that person can also be trained to be a cashier.

If you are not sure about hiring the person long term, however the potential employee has the skills you feel will help your business, you can offer to hire the person on a trial period. A trial period gives both the employer and the employee a way out if the relationship is not what each party expected without any hard animosity. If the potential employee performs to the standards and expectations set forth in the initial interview, then you can offer the option of full time long term employment to the new candidate. The potential employee also has the ability to hold open the doors of opportunity with other potential employers if the current employment situation is not a good fit.

Most small business operations do not have the capital to compete against corporate giants. Some perks a small business can offer is a flexible work schedule that is accommodating to both the business’s hours of operation and the schedule of the potential employee. Small businesses can provide performance bonuses or incentives for employees when they assist in the growth of the business. A small business can allow for an employee to telecommute when applicable; saving the employee commuting costs.

A small business can offer to pay for additional education or training, while on company time for their employees. Learn to earn programs have become very popular for small businesses. A business can promise to pay all or part of a tuition fee to higher learning or job training. The employee will agree to stay with the business for a term agreed upon by the business owner and the employee. Once the term has been fulfilled, the tuition is paid for or reimbursed to the employee by the business owner. If the employee leaves prematurely to the end of the agreed term, then the business owner would only have to cover a portion of the tuition, and the employee would be responsible for the rest. This helps the employee advance their career and the business to retain talent.

A small business can offer to help compensate the employee with commute cost reimbursement. Some employees must travel up to two hours away to stay employed at their current situation. The small business can offer to assist with tolls and parking expenses, and offer the employee a fuel card with a pre-determined allowance. These are also valid tax deductions for a small business. A small business may allow for a small expense account for the employee that is predetermined to cover cost of office supplies used at home when the employee is telecommuting. Other perks a small business may opt to offer are employee discounts on the business’s products/services. Some small businesses do contribute to a retirement fund that the employee may take with them when the employee moves to another place of employment, if the employee met the term of their employment with the business.

So, where do you go to hire your weaknesses? Today there are a plethora of options. Websites and social media sites like Linked-In, Monstor.com, Craig’s List, and Meet Up, which are prime places to post employment ads and provide the ability for two-way engagement between the potential employee and the business owner. Also, you can utilize the services of an employment agency or head hunting firm. These types of firms already have a data base of potential candidates that may fit the criteria of someone you desire to fulfill a job role. A small business can offer a mentorship or apprenticeship opportunity to business students in high school and/or college. These students are in search of employment experience as part of their coursework. If the student proves to be a success during the term of the apprenticeship, you can offer the student either part time or full time employment.  Also, you can ask for referrals from your current employees. Employment One Stop Labor Centers may also offer candidates that are currently receiving unemployment benefits and in search of a job.

No matter the type of employment arrangement, as a small business owner, you must be able to delegate the tasks that occupy your time, taking you away from income producing activities and be willing to let go of a little control. No employee will ever know all the things you know. No employee will ever do things in the exact manner that you would do things. When you are hiring your weaknesses, you must have a level of trust in the professionals you are hiring, so they can be comfortable in helping your business solve problems, and the latitude to do so.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

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Give Mother Earth A Fighting Chance

Our planet currently supports a population of more than 7.5 billion people, resulting in a demand for clean drinking water and quality air that is at an all-time high. Unless society collectively changes its lifestyle habits that affect the environment, Mother Earth will not have a chance to recover from the abuse inflicted by humans for decades.

Earth Day is a reminder that planet Earth belongs to all of us, not just a select few. Every decision—our daily transportation choices, what products we purchase, how much water we consume and how much we waste—has an effect on the entire population, current and future. Although this responsibility may seem to be a heavy burden, there are alternatives to many of our day-to-day decisions that can make a big difference to the planet.

Here are some simple steps that will help create a more environmentally friendly home.

  • Switch from harmful toxic chemical cleaners to nontoxic biodegradable products. This lessens the exposure to toxins in the home environment and reduces the amount of chemical agents that end up in landfills and pollute fresh drinking water supplies.
  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes around the home. Every gallon leaked not only increases the water bill, but also contributes to the waste of clean drinking water supplies, which is limited. Install rain barrels to capture runoff that can be used for watering plants in order to preserve clean drinking water for human consumption.
  • Understand that everything, including waste, has its place. Instead of throwing away food scraps, begin a compost bin in order to transform scraps into valuable soil for gardening and planting.
  • List your unwanted, slightly used household items on a website like Craig’s List or donate them to a nonprofit second-hand store. This enables individuals that cannot afford brand new items to more easily fulfill their needs while repurposing items rather than adding to a landfill.
  • Recycle rather than trash as many items as allowed by your local municipality, including all metal, plastic, glass, paper and cardboard, electronics and other items that are now commonly reused to make renewable products and packaging.
  • Consolidate errands and plan accordingly to streamline your trips for efficiency, which conserves fuel and saves time and money. If your commute is less than a mile or two away, consider walking, riding a bike or even car pooling with a friend. Those living in rural communities that require a vehicle for transportation may want to purchase a vehicle higher in fuel efficiency, or purchase a green technology retrofit in order to make their existing vehicle more fuel efficient while also decreasing its toxic emissions.
  • Commit to teaching the younger generations about the importance of environmental stewardship and their responsibility to live a lifestyle that lessens their negative impact on Mother Earth. All the practices and methods of preserving the environment and conserving our most important natural resources can be passed down to our children and our children’s children. This is needed in order to continue the legacy of helping Mother Earth recover from years of abuse, while also preserving resources for future generations to come.

If we all take small steps in changing our daily habits with regards to how we treat water, waste and energy, we will have made a big difference collectively in giving Mother Earth a fighting chance.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Taking Pride in Senior Health Care

PrintWritten by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author, Published by   www.SamBurlum.com

Source: Whether it you are in search of an assisted living facility, nursing home, rehab center, or memory care unit; there are few facilities that offer all of these services under one roof located in central Wisconsin that can provide all of your needs with a staff capable of helping you navigate the twist and turns of an already complicated health care system. We take a look at one facility aimed at providing service for your loved one with tender loving care and dignity, putting pride back into senior health care.

So your loved one is in need of a facility during their rehabilitation transition back to good health; or maybe your parent, grandmother, aunt or uncle has become too frail and is unable to manage all of their own day to day needs and affairs.  Most families try to take care of their aged loved one, sometimes splitting shifts of care for the elder family member with the help of a spouse or sibling. In today’s very busy and complicated post-modern world, usually both spouses are working full time to meet their own household needs; in some cases, still have to manage their own children’s health care and education.

You try to partner with your siblings in caring for grandma or Uncle Joe, however your siblings now reside further away from their former childhood home, leaving few or no one to care for the aged in your family. You even resorted to hiring an assisted living nurse to frequent the love one’s home on a weekly or daily basis. It turns out your loved one is very particular and sometimes become frustrated with the level of care provided by the assisted living nurse; sometimes because they are not as well trained about your loved one’s conditions or they are not properly skilled in taking care of people with pride and dignity.

So now you turn to the internet or look up in the phone directory, in search of a nursing home, assisted living facility, rehabilitation center, or memory care unit, in hopes of locating a center that you feel comfortable will provide the level of care for your loved one that you would expect for yourself. After a few tours and visits of the traditional facility; you have to make a decision of where to place grandma or even your own parent, until they either get well enough to return to their home; or find a more permanent setting they call home.

What you have seen so far is far from something you can call home. Usually very sterile and industrial appearance, you come to realize the ideal of a stereotypical senior facility serve you right. Long white hallways, with little or no décor; minimal staff, takes minutes to locate; and when you do find a staffer; your questions go unanswered because they are not as qualified to care for your loved one as you are. The one thing you can count on is the unfriendly nurse who makes no personal connection, which rolls their cart from room to room, administering medications as prescribed by the patient’s doctor. Yes that seems the choices you have for grandma; where you must chose the worst of evils; a place for grandma to just be until her health takes a direction for better or worse…

Until now…

Changing the way patients are cared for while creating new standards in senior health care quality of life is a modeled destination designed to uplift individuals seeking elder care, and making them feel they are at home, regardless of their condition.

Located in Weston, Wisconsin, Pride TLC Therapy and Living Campus is restoring faith in senior care. Setting new standards in facility design and quality in staffing, Pride TLC has done the unthinkable. They have transformed the typical stereotypical senior care housing unit to an all in one inclusive full service full care campus, improving the quality of life for patients, staff, and the community.

When you first walk into through the doors of Pride TLC, you immediately take notice of the design of the facility, which was designed to mimic the Main Street setting of your loved one’s youth. Completely equipped in house with a full service salon-barber shop, chapel, movie theater, dining areas, meeting areas, fitness room, and wings with their own libraries and family meeting rooms, Pride TLC has set the pace for other senior care facilities to follow.

The quality of staff at any facility will command the quality of care your loved one will receive. Pride TLC has taken the industry by storm, by recruiting the most qualified of care takers to assist your loved one, so your time with your parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or even your spouse which calls Pride TLC home, can spend more time with you when you visit than worrying about the business of health care. From the administrators to the nurses and facility staff, each team member is waiting for the opportunity to make your loved one’s stay the most comfortable and enjoyable experience, regardless of their individual condition or diagnosis.  Pride TLC, is restoring faith in senior health care by providing you the best short term/long term senior health and rehab care; treating you and your family with tender loving care and dignity that you deserve.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

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