3 Things to Know: Hiring the Perfect Team Members for Your Business

Hiring is one of the most important jobs you have as a business owner, and you want to make sure you get it right. Here are three things you need to know when it comes to finding the perfect team members for your business.

As long as you have one employee or intern, the topic of hiring is an important one for your business. Here we are highlighting some of the expert advice we’ve run on Mind Your Business regarding hiring.

The first thing to know is how to find and keep talented workers

The key to building a great team is to not only find those top-notch employees but to also retain them. That can be challenging for employers who don’t know where to start looking, who aren’t being intentional with their hiring, or who neglect to do their part in maintaining a positive work environment for their employees. From clearly thinking through what type of candidate would be a good fit to creating an effective work/life balance, here are 19 things to consider when it comes to finding and keeping top talent.

The second thing to know is it is also important to find and keep talented interns

Wouldn’t it be ideal to hire an amazing intern who then turns into an amazing regular team member? Internship programs should be way more than just hiring your neighbor’s kid to make copies and coffee runs. An effective internship program should start with finding someone who is the perfect fit for your company and offering them an impactful experience. Here are three key strengths to consider when building your internship program that were discussed at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit.

The Internship Summit also explored whether social media is your friend when it comes to hiring interns. Be aware of the benefits and dangers of using social platforms to vet potential internship candidates.

And, whether you are looking for an intern or looking to becomes one, GCP has a one-stop-shop for all your internship needs. Visit GCP’s Internship Central to learn more.

The third thing to know is it could be a generational thing.

We know we have Gen Z about to enter the workforce and of course there’s Millennials—but did you know that when effectively hiring and retaining different generations you might need to follow a different set of guidelines? The traditional approaches hiring managers are used to just might not cut it here.

Millennials tend to stay in jobs for a shorter period than generations before them. Part of your strategy in retaining millennials at your company should include a lot of face time (and we’re not talking about on your iPhone) and recognition for their hard work. Here is your go-to guide for engaging millennials in the workplace.

And, when it comes to Gen Z, new thinking may be needed that involves looking at a broad spectrum and engaging in new ways. With that in mind, here are five keys to recruiting Gen Z. Also, take a look at the seven characteristic Gen Zers want in a job and see if you think they differ from other generations.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: How to Network Like a Pro

    3 Things to Know: How to Network Like a Pro

    There’s more to networking than exchanging handshakes and business cards. Here are three things we think you should know before your next networking opportunity.

    In our 3 Things to Know series we explore a variety of topics popular on the Mind Your Business site. This month we are taking a close look at what our experts have to share on the subject of networking. Take notes before your next networking event, which might just be the one we feature at the bottom of this article!

    The first thing to know: How to differentiate yourself from other businesses

    The first key to effective networking is having a solid understanding of how you as a business owner and your business itself are unique compared to others in the market. What makes your product or service better than the other companies providing similar products or services? Before you start networking, it’s crucial to have specific responses to this question locked and loaded. When you’re able to identify those things that separate your business from the rest and effectively center your pitch around those thoughts, people will be attracted to your passion—and, hopefully, your business.

    The second thing to know: Listen to Phil

    If we are going to talk about networking we must turn to COSE’s self-proclaimed godfather of networking, Phil Stella. He tells it like it is and understands that networking can be a turnoff to some people. In fact, he commonly talks about why he hates networking and why you should, too. Here he shares the 10 worst networking practices and how to avoid them. And, in a popular recent article, Phil asks you to consider an important question: Are you a Networking Slug? Check out his description of this type of networker and how you can avoid networking slug behavior so you aren’t losing business because of it.

    The third thing to know: It’s all about your approach

    So, we know not to be a networking slug. But another approach to effective networking is to see it as less of a formal task that needs to be accomplished, and more of a social event. Take the work out of networking—have more fun by following these tips on how to stop networking and start kibitzing.

    And, networking is not just about meeting new people and promoting yourself. It’s about actually creating individual connections. Being prepared, setting personal goals and being a good listener are all ways to help you build these connections—and, in turn, build your business. So don’t just network—engage!

    Now, it’s time to apply your newfound networking knowledge to some upcoming opportunities. Check out the Small Business Resource Fair hosted by the Business Growth Collaborative on May 14. Join us for a day focused on helping your small business access the resources, support and opportunities you need to grow.

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  • Next up: 4 Leadership Lessons from BizConCLE

    4 Leadership Lessons from BizConCLE

    From enhancing customer retention to what sets transformational entrepreneurs apart, BizConCLE 2017 was filled with useful takeaways and lessons that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to build their business. In case you missed it, check out the below for recaps of the four impactful keynotes that took place during the show. Learn more about BizConCLE and how it can help your company by clicking here.

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  • Next up: 4 Ways to Be a Better Leader

    4 Ways to Be a Better Leader

    What traits do you think of when you consider what makes for an effective leader? During a recent Small Business Boot Camp session, Jeff Nischwitz of The Nischwitz group took a deep dive into the qualities all leaders share, and how those characteristics can help a small business—and its staff—thrive. Below are X takeaways from the presentation.

    What traits do you think of when you consider what makes for an effective leader? During a recent Small Business Boot Camp session, Jeff Nischwitz of The Nischwitz group took a deep dive into the qualities all leaders share, and how those characteristics can help a small business—and its staff—thrive. Below are X takeaways from the presentation.

    1. Know Yourself

    Entrepreneurs need to understand what kind of leader they are striving to be. And as part of that discovery, should ask themselves three questions:

    • What kind of leader am I committed to becoming?
    • Am I willing to let go of how things have always been done?
    • Can I tolerate living outside of my comfort zone?

    2. What Not to Do

    Leadership is not bullying. It is not about being disengaged. What is it about, then? Continue reading …

    3. Be Accountable

    A leader has to have the trust of their staff. Being accountable is one way to build trust, but what are the others? Try being human:

    • Ask for feedback.
    • Admit mistakes.
    • Be honest if you don’t know the answer to something.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    • Allow staff the freedom to challenge perceptions.
    • Understand the ‘3 I’s of Leadership.’ 

    4. Be Conscious

    Remember back in the second item that talk about being disengaged? A Gallup Survey found that 70% of employees are not engaged with their work and employer. The steps outlined above will go a long way toward helping eliminate a leader’s blind spots and increase team engagement. It’s important that leaders take a “conscious” leadership position, that is, be aware of not only the needs of their staff but also to honor their staff’s perception of their leadership. And if you want to know more about conscious leadership, check out Nischwitz’ book: “Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re Supposed to Be & Unleash Your True Leader.

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  • Next up: 4 Ways to Be a Winning Entrepreneur

    4 Ways to Be a Winning Entrepreneur

    There are many characteristics that differentiate winners from non-winners. See if you have what it takes to be a winner in all that you do.

    We all want to be winners, right? Here are some traits to keep in mind when it comes to the difference between winners and non-winners.

    Winners are usually people who set goals (realistically and with a measure of "stretch"), make commitments and, in the long run, keep them. Non-winners usually set goals (unrealistic and "safe"), duck commitments and, in the long run, fail to meet them.

    Non-winners look for the easy way out. They believe others "owe" them a living. They externalize their failures—rationalizing away their own failings. They hide their not­OKness behind braggadocio and plastic extroversion. When encountering the slightest obstacle, they become immobilized. If they can move at all, they choose the path of least resistance, then wonder why this choice leaves them dead-ended most of the time.

    Winning vs. non-winning traits

    The following characteristics can be found within non-winners:

    Non-winner Trait No. 1: Being I-centered, amateurish and unable to plan any further than today.

    Non-winner Trait No. 2: Not being able to think on their own—being a poll taker. Non-winners might ask "How am I doing?" to other people repeatedly. 

    Non-winner Trait No. 3: Needing constant validation, which never comes.

    Non-winners are the antithesis of everything winners stand for. The following characteristics can be commonly found within winners.

    Winner Trait No. 1: Working for what they have instead of depending on others to take care of their needs.

    Winner Trait No. 2: Accepting responsibility for their behavior. 

    Winner Trait No. 3: Being confident instead of cocky. 

    Winner Trait No. 4: Expecting to face obstacles and roadblocks, but not allowing these temporary setbacks to alter their


    Seeking success and overcoming obstacles

    Winners can see the future—they are true magicians. How can they foresee the future when non-winners cannot? Because they make the future. Winners are goal setters and goal achievers. When faced with an obstacle or roadblock, winners lie down by the side of the road and try to figure out how they got there (which non-winners do), they don’t hold up their hands and yell, "Take me out coach, it's too tough here!" (which is the non-winner's favorite one-liner). Winners take action, check their plan of action to see if they had anticipated the problem and already made provisions for its solution. If not, winner deal with the obstacle and continue to move forward or around it.

    Non-winners seek escape from pain, while winners seek the achievement of happiness. Non-winners exist for the sake of avoiding punishment, while winners exist for the sake of earning rewards. Non-winners spend their sales career belly-aching and externalizing failures. Winners chart their course, cover it with unswerving determination, and achieve the success they rightfully deserve.

    Everyone, including you, is a winner. You possess the will to determine if you will win today, or if you will "non­ winner" it. Careful how you choose, as it will shape your choice tomorrow—and the next day. The secret to becoming a winner is to win a little bit every day in all that you do.

    Tom Scully is sales consultant and owner of a Sandler Training franchise in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

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  • Next up: 5 Guidelines for Strong Business Partnerships

    5 Guidelines for Strong Business Partnerships

    We are all familiar with Individual transactions where you want to obtain the greatest value or lowest price with little or no expectation of repeating the transaction (e.g. buying a car, acquiring a key piece of machinery or equipment for your business). In these cases, it is simply a function of which party can demand and get the best outcome from their own perspective. Since it is a one-time transaction, there is typically less opportunity for building upon it for longer-term mutual benefit.

    Establishing or modifying a business relationship or partnership generally will be a different situation. In these cases, both parties are seeking value and return from the partnership that often is expected or desired over a long period of time and therefore is based on mutual trust. While it is a trite and perhaps overused phrase, both parties likely expect the relationship to be a long-term “win-win” situation.  

    Guidelines for a Strong Business Relationship or Partnership

    I have negotiated numerous business relationships of various sizes, some of which were successful and some were not. Combining these experiences has led me to apply these guidelines that help lead to strong partnerships.

    Guideline No. 1: Pick your partners carefully. Character and trust are the most important assets in a business partnership. Seek out organizations and people you are excited to do business with. The key to any good business relationship is to think strategically about the relationship and understand individual and shared goals. Before lawyers get involved, make sure you talk openly about business goals for both parties. Getting the business goals in writing can help make sure you enter the legal phase of creating a contract with a solid, mutually understood business case.

    Here are four tips to keep in mind when it comes to picking partners.

    Picking Partners Tip No. 1: Ask lots of questions to get a deep understanding of the other side’s strategies, needs, operations, etc. Ask questions even if you think that you know the answers. Listen carefully to the answers, what they say, the way they say it and their body language. Identify what brings their emotions up and down. You can present your stand according to your findings and be sensitive to their needs and requests.

    Picking Partners Tip No. 2: Be authentic and as open and transparent as possible or is practical with your own strategies, needs, operations, etc. Some people might approach a negotiation looking to gain an advantage by concealing information. While you may achieve a desired result in the short term, you run the risk of tarnishing your reputation, as well as increasing the odds that the deal can go bad. Share your reasoning and intentions in the discussions to help make it clear that you are a straight shooter who deals in good faith. You are more likely to disarm the other side’s defenses and improve the odds of a productive, long-term business partnership.

    Picking Partners Tip No. 3: Learn as much as possible about the role and benefit of the business relationship for the person or people you are dealing with. As the relationship progresses to initiation and especially through the course of the arrangement, find ways to expand your reach into the other organization by meeting and talking with people at various levels to better understand how all parties benefit. A phrase to frame this way of thinking is to seek to be “high, wide and deep” in your relationships with business partners, especially if it is a large organization. This reduces the chances that changes in management or company strategy will significantly detour the relationship.

    Picking Partners Tip No. 4: Take an appropriate amount of time to build the trust in a potential long-term relationship. If you are feeling uncomfortably heavy pressure to give an answer early in the process of developing or negotiating the relationship, I have found it is best to just say “No.”  Perhaps you can come back to the table at some point in the future, but the timing has to be and feel right for both parties.

    Guideline No. 2: Play for the long term by ensuring balance in the overall outcome (better known as “win/win”). The goal should be to forge a plan that creates solid benefits for all parties, not just big benefits for one side. Gaining the knowledge noted above will improve your ability to seek the positive outcomes for the other party and find the balance desired. This also leads to a stronger foundation to motivate a positive working relationship once the deal is done. At the same time, it is important to be ready to decide if and when there is not enough balance for either party. An imbalance of outcomes will likely lead to a short-term relationship and starting over with a new partner is more costly than continuing a fruitful and productive relationship.

    Guideline No. 3: Get on the “same side of the table.”  Be very clear about the work that is expected upon delivery and each company’s role in getting it there. Define roles precisely so they have no messy gray area. Make sure the exact product, service or process is explained and the infrastructure to support and update that product is part of this definition.

    Guideline No. 4: Create a deal for the other side that you would like to have for yourself. As you enter the contractual aspect of the relationship, it is easy to think about all the positive things that can happen in the relationship. It can be equally important to think through when, where and how things can go awry and end in a bad outcome. Look for ways to incorporate provisions in the contract that consider these potential outcomes and include ways to address or handle them should they arise. One way to think about this phase of the process is to “write the divorce settlement before the marriage.” 

    Guideline No. 5: Create a plan for evaluation. As part of your negotiation, you should make an effort to agree upon how to evaluate the performance of both parties after the deal is done. Agreeing to measure the success of the relationship is a way to improve the likelihood that performance standards, payment terms, and other rules and expectations are met. This sort of rigorous follow-through ensures that everyone’s expectations are aligned and makes conversations about the relationship following the deal’s closure more objective and generally easier.    

    A business relationship or partnership can yield great potential if approached and developed effectively.   Hopefully these thoughts serve as a guide in your business pursuits, large or small. 

    Bob Nicolay retired following a 25-year career at Progressive Insurance having had success in senior-level general management roles. During his career, he also held similar roles with small-l to mid-sized privately-held companies. He currently maintains a consulting practice advising and guiding senior leaders with financial services clients in developing and executing product, distribution/sales, marketing and operational strategies resulting in revenue and profit growth. He can be reached at Rnicolayconsulting@gmail.com or 440-213-3381.

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