It is common knowledge that there are legions of hackers trying to gain access to websites around the world. It is accepted as part of having a web presence that someone (human or automated) will try to attack your site many, many times each day. We have recently learned of an unusual spike in such events, and wanted to share it with you.
In Honor of Ron Current's Retirement
Every business in Shelby Township, Utica, and the Sterling Heights region knows Ron Current, who retires this week from his post as Vice President of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In his final week with the Chamber, Ron granted an exclusive interview to Lucid Business Strategies, telling us tales of his career before the Chamber, the things he views as his successes, and even a few little-known but historically important stories.
For those of us in the business of helping other businesses grow their revenue, it is mind boggling to see the number of small businesses that still do not have a website. According to Google, 97% of the population surfs the web for products and services, yet 59% of small businesses in Michigan still do not have a website! (Google Lends Small Biz a Hand). If you’re one of that 59%, that statistic alone should cause you to do whatever is necessary to get your business online!
Time is running out to get started building your web presence. If you don’t do so soon, you are simply going to become invisible, no matter how well known your business is. What is worse is that the longer you wait to get started the more costly it is going to be. Consider these facts:
In the first installment of this two-part article, we looked at five suggestions on how to have happy employees. Here, I'll wrap up with the last five tips:
- Recognize their contributions and achievements. Nothing will “motivate” an employee more than being recognized for the work they do (research shows that this is even more important than higher pay in most cases!) Genuinely thank employees when they show initiative, have a good day, or help improve something in the company. Be very specific with your recognition; tell them exactly what they did and why you appreciate it. This recognition can be either public or private, but you can be sure they will appreciate it more than you know.
I am often asked by small business owners what they can do to “motivate” their employees to perform better or to make them more loyal to the company. I have to be careful when answering this question, because most business owners either don’t like the answer, or want the answer to be much simpler.
The first thing every business owner/manager needs to understand is that employees are motivated by things that are important to them, not by things that are necessarily important to the business owner. The only thing that the business owner can do is to make sure that they create working conditions that allow employees to flourish. There is considerable research and volumes written on this topic, but here are some of the tried and true things business owners can do:
This is the last in my series of “What is Human Performance Improvement” (HPI) articles, where I have been describing what HPI is. While I’m sure it has been a thrill a minute reading these articles, at the end of the day you have to ask yourself, “If I need help with my business, dos it really matter if someone uses an HPI approach or not?” My answer may surprise you. We do not believe that it matters that a consultant uses a HPI approach per se, but it matters a great deal that they have a specific, actionable, and measurable consulting approach. We just happen to believe that HPI is one of the more comprehensive, and reliable approaches out there.
I’ve been writing a series of articles to explain to business owners about a consulting methodology called Human Performance Improvement (HPI) – a method of diagnosing and proving the causes of performance problems, along with how to create solutions for these problems. The HPI methodology is one that Lucid Business Strategies uses to make sure that we provide real, sustainable change for our clients.
We use the HPI methodology because we care about one thing – getting results! Forgive me for stating the obvious, but you cannot know if you’re getting results unless you measure them! More importantly, you cannot know if you if are achieving the desired results unless you decide at the beginning of the consulting engagement what performance (Process? People? Organizational? Perhaps impact on your community?) you are trying to improve, and how you will measure whether you have accomplished this or not. One of the reasons we use the HPI methodology is that it requires that the consultant measures the impact of every solution (“interventions”) that is implemented and take corrective action if the results are not what is needed to correct the performance problem.
In previous posts, I began explaining what Human Performance Improvement (HPI) is, and how Lucid Business Strategies uses this methodology to help small business owners pinpoint and fix performance problems.
In our last post we described how we use the HPI methodology to analyze performance problems within a business. It is important to use such a methodology when helping small business owners move their business ahead, as it helps keep the consultant’s attention focused only on the specific performance problem they are trying to solve. Without this focus, it is easy for an analysis to go down many paths and try to uncover the causes of issues that are not really impacting the businesses performance. In my opinion, that is one of the reasons why businesses complain that a consultant didn’t really solve their problems – they are not focused on specific issues, so the solutions that are recommended may be good ones but they address problems that are not connected to the primary problem that the consultant was brought in to address. Using an HPI approach helps consultants stay laser focused and adds certainty that the solutions recommended will solve the performance problems.
Deciding on the right time to hire in a strong or weak economy, can be a challenging proposition for a small business owner. In a strong economy, large companies attract talent based on perceived notions by candidates that larger companies offer more opportunities, benefits and perks. Subsequently, small companies usually loose out on attracting talent to their organizations.
In a bad economy, the big companies are laying off their talent and what follows is a high unemployment rate. This would suggest a “hot opportunity” for small businesses to pursue the vast pool of qualified candidates. However, their business climate as such, may be affected by the economic uncertainties and hiring considerations may be halted. The challenge for the small business then becomes, waiting too long to hire or else face the certainty that the pool of quality candidates will dry up. Subsequently, this again leaves the large company with the talent advantage.
A Small Business Training Solution
Small businesses owners and managers (less than 100 employees) face special
challenges when training their employees. The owners and managers in businesses
of this size are often counted on to participate in the delivery of the company's
products or services and train new employees at the same time. They do not have
human resource departments or training departments. Consequently, any training
that employees receive usually occurs entirely in an on-the-job (OJT) format. This
makes it very difficult to properly train new people that join the company or improve
the skills of the existing staff.