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Resisting the Urge to Micromanage

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

New business owners sometimes invest their life’s work into business ideas. The possibility of a failed business can be devastating and a hard pill to swallow. The emotional and economic commitment might lead to unhealthy management tactics in the early stages.

The practicalities of meeting the bottom line should govern early management decisions. These practicalities often require interpersonal skills. In other words, the entrepreneur should work with subordinates rather than overpowering them. “Helicopter management” may be off the table as the team develops processes to best exploit human resources within the company itself.

Respect and trust should govern the onboarding process. Management should stay mindful that, when they finally must navigate the hiring process, they are bargaining for talent. Talent merits the respect and should be treated well.

Of course. business owners need to monitor employees. At the same time, never forget the importance of healthy boundaries. Lines must be drawn between the autonomy of employees and the visions of their employers. These lines ensure the proper balance between the employees’ dignity and the employer’s bottom line. This balance could bring about the harmony that leads to the fulfillment of a company’s potential.

From the perspective of an employee, controlling managers cause anxiety that may diminish work performance. However, the temptation to micromanage may overwhelm a new Veteran Business Owner. These new frontline workers, after all, may hold the business owner’s life aspirations in their hands. 

Business owners need good results to stay alive. Good business processes and operations are key to the bottom line. However, employees themselves bring their own skills into the business enterprise, which managers should exploit to everyone’s advantage. In some cases, perhaps establishing a 1099 relationship might allow greater synergy between the needs of the employee and employer. A 1099 relationship may increase the employee’s independence while allowing the employer more flexibility as well until the employment relationship solidifies into something more traditional.

The middle ground for an entrepreneur is to find the right “processes” for your business. “Processes” should lead the business on the most efficient path to its bottom line. However, “business processes” are not the same thing as “red-tape.” For-profit businesses have no business administering bureaucracies that interfere with worker productivity. One function of a new business is to find the right functions and operations to increase efficiency.

Businesses build relationships with their workers as each of them grows into their respective roles, and better understand their needs within each of their own niches of the economy. Good relationships with front-line workers always play crucial roles in a business’s capacity to function. 

Business owners should always stay mindful of the needs of their workers as well as their own needs. Often, new businesses adventure into diverse paths in their roads to viable moneymaking status. Likewise, these workers often bring in their own skills that may function in diverse ways to the benefit of the business. Rather than belittling their front-line workforce, business owners should integrate employees into their developing business processes in a manner that decreases costs while increasing the quality of the workday for everyone.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

Strategies for Growing Wealth for your Small Business

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Often, business owners find themselves in the midst of a crazy business idea that promises to become their bread and butter. Has your dream come true? The last thing you need at this point is to throw practicality out the window. The first success may be only the start of a crazy growth spurt. Depending on the business itself and your own ambitions, the following considerations may grow your idea into a cash cow.

1) Know your Priorities. . . Budget, budget, budget!

Office supplies and equipment and maintenance can really dribble the resources of a Veteran Business Owner. Business owners should never be pennywise and pound foolish.  Profits don’t come from penny-pinching, 

You know your business better than anyone else. Over the long term, Veteran Business Owners should balance their plans with their resources.

For a successful business, the best profit margins should more than compensate for the overhead. Seek good deals. The tastiest ice cream should more than compensate for the glitter on the cone.

2)  Understand that Money should Make Money

Stagnant money does no one favors. Various resources can provide business owners with the seeds to grow their investments into a harvest that may yield fruit.

Occasionally, a bright idea may pop up in the news that sprouts and sheds its spores. Business owners should consider these situations case-by-case. However, in general, secure investments do the best service for Veteran Business Owners.

The best investment is yourself, and your knowledge and understanding of your own idea. Outside of their own considerations for their own business ideas, business owners need to maintain some sort of corporate veil between their own ambitions and those of their company.

Corporate bank accounts can yield dividends, but business owners should give thought to any opening capital until that money is ready to blossom into the Veteran Business Owner’s dream.

3) Diversify

When a business owner has capital, careful education should guide the management of that wealth. For example, many people confuse stocks and bonds. Bonds are essentially documents issued by corporations and governments that issue certificates that increase in value at a fixed rate. Stocks entail ownership of a share of the company. Bonds generally bank on the security of the issuing body, whether governmental or private. Stocks require care and confidence, and generally function best in a portfolio long-term, after careful contemplation. The health of the company matters. Also, consider the health and future of the industry.  

Also, consider your own resources. Do you own real property? Real estate can be rented, assets can be sold. As for yourself, as long as you have a place to live, consider all options. 

4) Stay in Control

Keep in mind your own “money story.” Business owners should know that they know their own story better than anyone else. Profit often matters more than cash flow. Assuming humble beginnings, strong incoming revenue indicates a healthy company. On the other hand, a large investment requires even greater incoming cash to make the company successful. 

Legally, remember that you are always the master of your own estate. No one can take that control away from you. Veterans should seek counsel in any situation that challenges their feelings about how to manage their money.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Productivity Strategies for Small Businesses

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

To stay effective, businesses need to investigate methods to streamline operations. Various techniques save time and energy when getting your company or organization above ground. These include organizational methods to streamline project management, information retrieval, employee communication, and decision-making processes.

1) Project Management:

Business cycles rarely flow with perfect routines and without bumps in the road. At times, seasonal cycles control the ebb and flow of resources of even the most stable businesses.  As a result, skillful project management must tackle the unpredictable trials that break the rhythms of even the most stable institutions.

In some cases, the same project rolls around each year. In these cases, project management systems can facilitate review and record-keeping. Applications like Asana can help create plans for these periodic bumps in the road, facilitating the delegation and simplification of tasks.

In other cases, a specific circumstance may arise, and a company has a new dragon to slay. In order to tackle such unforeseeable bumps in the road, organizations should retain the flexibility to mobilize. Cross-training can help employees take on diverse tasks within the company as needed. Also, keeping business operations flexible may allow wiggle-room for novel situations as they arise.

2) Good Information Management and Storage, aka a Good Filing System:

Even before the age of computers, any secretary could describe the benefits of a good filing system. Effective companies need to stay organized. Lost documents and jumbled service can destroy a company’s reputation. 

Applications like Airtable can help organize various documents and spreadsheets. Online applications can supplement well-thought-out systems within the office to ensure information is stored effectively and retrievably.

3) Employee Feedback and Communication:

The workers on the front lines are often the first to know when the first hits arise of a dire new issue. Worker feedback is essential. Proprietary software should include space for comments by operators, and management should take these comments seriously. Open-door policies should allow the rank-and-file to raise issues when appropriate. 

Companies should stay vertically integrated to ensure that the leadership and the rank-and-file stay on the same page. This way, problems are less likely to snowball before they reach the attention of management. Applications like Dropbox can ensure communication between various members of the team.

4) Decision Making: Streamlined Approval for New Initiatives:

How can we define “bureaucracy?” Sometimes, layers of middle management calcify into a concrete wall between innovation and leadership. Hence, skillful oversight protects businesses from careless decisions. Approval processes must be strict, quick, and effective.

A calcified bureaucracy in a large organization can stymie the best-laid plans. Careful scrutiny of processes ensures that only the best products and services go to market. Smaller organizations often struggle to maintain quality in the face of limited resources. Given restrictions in size and resources, the problem for Veteran Business Owners often is not bureaucracy, but lack of oversight.

Several workflow applications, such as Shift, can channel tasks to employees’ inboxes. Such applications can allow workers to arrive in the morning ready to tackle their workload independently.

Overall, productivity strategies should vary with the type of organization. However, the above four considerations can guide management across industries in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. In other words, both newfangled technological approaches and old-fashion office management techniques can help prune time-wasting redundancies from a Veteran Business Owner’s workday.

 

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

CROWDFUNDING

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Crowdsourcing is a relatively new phenomenon and an alternative to angel investors. Many find crowdsourcing campaigns obnoxious. However, crowdsourcing websites provide an invaluable resource for new businesses. 

Additionally, over time, investment crowdsourcing has evolved to cater to the needs of new businesses. When a new business resorts to traditional crowdsourcing sites, a better way to describe these campaigns is presales campaigns. Such campaigns are as old as capitalism.

Angel investors are harder to come by. Angel investors are usually at the later stages of successful business ventures and take satisfaction from boosting new ideas. Such investors generally ask in exchange for a share of the business equity or convertible debt. Oftentimes, a mentorship or patronage relationship comes with the package.

The earliest crowdsourcing campaigns were shameless attempts to score frivolous rewards for brazen internauts seeking consumer goods, vacations, and other vanities. Later, crowdsourcing sites became known for charity fundraising. Now, crowdsourcing sites such as gofundme.com and kickstarter.com have found new life in promoting novel business ventures.

We should all welcome the repurposing of these established websites. Anyone can use these platforms to market their business idea. These sites offer great springboards for presales marketing. Angel investors are harder to come by and offer different risks and benefits.

A distinction should be made between regular crowdfunding and investment crowdfunding. Most crowdfunding provides nothing but the satisfaction of help for another. Investment crowdfunding provides an equity interest in the company. In other words, the funders receive a tiny share of ownership of the company commensurate with their investment. SeedInvest and FundersClub are popular forums for investment crowdfunding.

“Angel investors” are few and far between. Such investors often show an emotional interest in the enterprise beyond the fiscal rewards, yet generally do expect compensation. Online resources do exist for those seeking angel investors. The Angel Capital Association provides a forum for well-meaning senior investors seeking promising candidates. Gust and the Angel Forum also facilitate meetups between entrepreneurs and angel mentors. In general, such relationships are quite hard to come by. Successful relationships with angel investors tend to be serendipitous and start with lucrative personal connections before they bear any kind of fruit.

As for crowdfunding, the idea itself must be a crowd-pleaser. Hence, the idea itself provides a great exercise in marketing in its early stages. Legitimate early-stage crowdfunding generally needs good marketing material. In other words, the business concept should have developed to the point where it can attract interest. A crowdfunding endeavor may also provide an exercise in business development. 

In sum, “angel investors” are often a matter of luck. They can provide vast resources but may usurp control. “Crowdfunding campaigns” generally require the preparation of a palatable business idea. As for crowdfunding, an understanding of the different types of crowdfunding can set new business owners on a good track for funding their new enterprise. At the same time, bear in mind that most of the funding for new business ideas comes from independent “bootstrap” money. A balanced, well-researched understanding of all three can provide a realistic assessment of funding potential at the earliest stages.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

Pandemic Labor Shortage Hiring Strategies

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

The pandemic continues to keep workers at home. Real concerns about the Delta Variant loom large. Plus, continuing financial support motivates low-wage employees to stay home. Lower-wage employees often have the best reasons to snub less-than-optimal work arrangements. Concerns of such employees may range from childcare to vocational development. The result burdens many small businesses with serious labor shortages. Hence, current economic circumstances have only increased the necessity of wise hiring practices.

Know Your Capacities

Small businesses must stay mindful of their own needs and capacities. Some companies over-hire, leaving unnecessary workers to be idle and bored. Others burden a small number with an impossible workload. Before the start of the hiring process, owners should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to gain a clear understanding of their human resources needs.

Bored and idle workers become dissatisfied, even as they remain on company time. At the same time, overworked employees could simply walk off the job and leave the owners in the lurch. A healthy business provides a well-planned, balanced workday. 

Hence, management should gauge each task for the time and effort requirements. Not infrequently, an overwhelmed business may panic at their workload and over-hire. The resulting crowd of low-level workers may feel undervalued, undertrained, and ignored. Similarly, an employer may under-hire. Often, employees are expected to hit the ground running due to their experience or qualifications. Sometimes these expectations unduly burden newcomers and managers alike.

Granted, businesses cannot always afford expensive training programs. Sometimes expecting a hire to “hit the ground running” is the only option. However, ideally, this cost-benefit analysis regarding both training and the number of employees aids in the creation of a well-balanced workforce.

Know Your Platform

The Internet has long taken over the hiring process. The shift from paper to online applications has yielded pluses and minuses both for applicants and businesses. From the perspective of Veteran Business Owners, this shift opened the floodgates for countless frivolous applicants. Shifting through irrelevant, frivolous, or downright silly applications has become par for the course. When possible, business owners need to seek out jobs sites that specialize in their field. For example, encore.org and idealist.org specialize in nonprofit positions. Itjobspro.com connects employers with skilled IT professionals, and salesgray.com links business owners with sales professionals.

The list is endless. General job sites provide a cheap alternative but add to the burden of the hiring process. Small business owners generally spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the hiring process itself. A bad fit may cost still more in training costs, as well as the cleanup following termination. The miracle of the Internet provides countless opportunities to zero in on applicants who have at least done their own work to tailor their applications to their own interests and skillsets. Specialized jobs platforms are key resources to streamline the hiring process.

Involve the Team in the Hiring Process

Especially for a long-term commitment, consider the splash a new hire could make in the company pond. The involvement of future colleagues could ensure a “good fit” in the hiring process. In many cases, coworkers will spend many hours a day together. Often, the involvement of the team could safeguard long-term office tranquility should the newcomer take root in their new office home.

However, this process should ensure fairness. Many workplaces have corporate cultures that discriminate, explicitly or implicitly. Some interview practices may land certain employers on shaky ground. Beware of excessive prying into recreational activities, hobbies, and interests, or home or family life. Short of landing employers in legal hot water, such questions may simply deprive both parties of fruitful opportunities.

Conclusion

As always, balance is key. An employer’s rewards in the hiring effort will likely be proportionate with their investments. Companies should plan wisely and implement judiciously. The result following onboarding should leave a balanced, satisfying workday for everyone.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

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