Blog Posts by Jonathan Poston

  • Avoid Chasing Away Your Best Employees

    Employee Reward

    Retaining talent requires planning, and careful attention to avoiding complacency. It’s easy for a small business owner to feel as if everything is going fine, especially when the money is rolling in, but too often the reason (great employees) behind why profits are soaring is sorely neglected. And, by the time the talent feels underappreciated, it may be too late. Here are five ways to keep your best people engaged, and coming back every day for new challenges.

    Promotions

    In a scramble, small businesses hire with the singular purposes of solving immediate problems--we need someone to keep the books, we need someone to post updates to social media, etc.--but not a lot of thought is put into charting a pathway for that employee’s long-term success, at least not until frustration is expressed or a notice is put in. Think beyond those short term, immediate needs, and consider how your best employees can grow with your small business. There doesn’t need to be anything meticulous in place

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  • The Power of Follow Up

    Follow Up

    On a personal level, the idea of following up could mean simply returning a friend’s phone call, but from a business standpoint, follow-up means so much more. It’s a powerful, yet often overlooked tool, that can literally make or break a small business. Here are some ways follow-up can be harnessed to improve profits.

    Sales

    Anyone who has ever been in sales knows the game cannot be won without a disciplined and formulaic approach to follow-up. When a customer (B2B or B2C) responds to a marketing message, it’s time for the salesperson to start the follow-up process. Often it involves several emails educating the prospect on product details, advantages, etc., along with a mix of phone calls to follow up on the emails. The successful salesperson continues with follow-ups long after the amateurs have bowed out.

    Partnerships

    Partnerships should be immune from the follow-up equation because small business owners trust that when another company’s representative makes an agreement, they’ll follow

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  • Tending the Talent: Think Perennially

    Growing Talent

    Spring is here, and people everywhere are starting gardens. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Besides getting dirty hands, aching backs, and a sunburn, there are some serious decisions to make; one being whether to buy ready-to-plant starters, guaranteed to perform, or to take your chances with great grandma’s forgotten “heirloom” attic seeds, which may turn out great, or force a gardener, mid-summer, to ferry veggies from the grocery for the rest of the season. It’s the same choice businesses make when they hire talent: Sprout it from seed or drop in ready-to-bear-fruit starters? Here are a few garden tips from a “head” hunter’s perspective.

    Seeds

    It’s easy to get lost in a reverie, envisioning your business’s culture fermenting organically, seeded by fresh, hungry graduates primed to change the world. They are cheap, will work hard, and this game plan helps the economy--how much better can it be? Remember great grandma’s seeds - the ones that haven’t been tested - their “fruiting” ratio

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  • Putting Play to Work

    Play at Work

    Historically, playing at work was no different than being caught on hidden video picking your nose on the job all day. No one in their right mind would want management to see them doing anything remotely enjoyable. For the Facebook Me Generation this workplace attitude must feel like very industrial, Hard Times thinking, which may not be irrational when repetitive motion, production line models are the driving force of an economy. But, even then, it seems only natural that people will walk under the yoke for only so long - even now, there are stories about China-based workers turning down good manufacturing jobs for more pleasant, stress-free office work.

    Further along that work attitude evolution timeline, a solid slice of the U.S. workforce keeps stepping further from a grueling 9-5 day of punching the clock, and instead is pursuing more of an intentional, life-work balance, in tune with the mantra of, “work smart, not hard.” So, it’s easy to see how a workplace environment today

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  • Fishing Talent from a Million Online Pools

    Fishing for new employees

    Before the age of the internet, employers had it pretty easy when it came to recruiting talent. Little and big catches swam readily through print classifieds to get a chomp at those tasty starter and dream jobs. Today, with newspapers fighting extinction, that one enormous reliable sea of talent has exploded into millions of micro-pools spanning across the planet. Now, with a kaleidoscope of puddles that must be monitored for movement, what small business has the time to spend all their resources trolling them all for talent? Here are five strategies many employers deploy to gig fresh catches.

    Twitter for recruiting

    An ocean of tweets (live and archived) are search friendly for any employer armed with a neat list of keywords (i.e. C++, Ruby on Rails, developer, etc.). For those posting jobs on Twitter using such keywords, they are conveniently searchable via search engines.

    Internal recruiting

    Many small business employers have been successful at developing talent from within. Hire

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  • Three Big Rules for Burning a Solid Brand


    By Jonathan Poston

    If business "branding" were as simple as its namesake might lead us to believe, then it would just be a matter of heating up the iron and swiftly searing it deeply into the hides of the jumpy target market. Effectively branding businesses involves tagging targets who, unlike their four-legged friends, have already been lashed with hundreds of hot pokers from more established ten-gallon hat ranchers. But, with a steady hand, and a solid grasp of effective technique, there's still room among the herds for new firebrands to make their mark.

    Here are three rules to follow before heating up the branding irons.

    1) Brand names aren't everything, but there are caveats to keep in mind when choosing one. Some marketing firms, perhaps the ones that like to charge 10-20k to conjure out of thin air a slick new name for their clients, will say a name can make or break a business. While partially true, it's not everything. But here's the part that is important: Select a name that

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