SBDC Day 2018

Businesses have always celebrated ribbon cuttings, grand openings and company anniversaries, and for a second year, they will be able to celebrate the people who help them turn their dreams into reality – Small Business Development Centers. America’s SBDC Day is set for March 21, 2018, a day that will unite nearly 1,000 SBDCs across the country and the hundreds of thousands of clients they have served in their near 40-year history.
SBDC Day is a national proclamation of the success of America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) on the success of the nation’s dreamers, innovators and doers – America’s small businesses.
Business has changed dramatically in the last 38 years, from the introduction of new technologies to the expansion of global trade. America’s Small Business Development Center network has been there throughout — helping small businesses succeed, and helping aspiring entrepreneurs achieve the American dream of owning their own business. In Kentucky, the growth rate for KSBDC client businesses is 60.8% higher than that of the average Kentucky businesses.
America’s SBDC network is a partnership that includes the U.S. Congress, SBA, the private sector, and the colleges, universities and state governments that manage SBDCs across the nation. SBDCs provide management and technical assistance to an estimated one million small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs each year. Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for free, face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on writing business plans, accessing capital, marketing, regulatory compliance, international trade and more.
Small businesses, partners, and advocates are invited to help spread the word about SBDC Day using the hashtag #SBDCDay.
On March 21, participants are encouraged to share how their local SBDC has created a difference in their life and community. SBDCs nationwide will collectively share, in real time, the success stories and notable impacts SBDCs collectively have on the small business community at large.
This special day will also be celebrated through public relations initiates, campaigns, and online and in-person events.
To learn more about what the Louisville SBDC and the eleven other centers across the Commonwealth are doing to celebrate, click here. Help us celebrate you!

Ask the Tough Questions to Improve Recruitment and Retention

by Molly Ricketts of Incipio Workforce Solutions
Recruitment and retention are hot topics right now. Finding the right talent and keeping them presents employers with a tremendous opportunity. Keeping talent is, in fact, critical to the success of your business. Many companies do not realize the total cost involved with turnover.
So, how do you figure out what the cost is and how do you keep it from happening? First, stop hiring the wrong people. This means you need to make a change in the way you recruit talent. Second, change the way you manage your people. This is particularly relevant when you hire the right people, but your culture is not what you sold to the employees during the recruiting process. The result is tension, frustration and discontent.
So, before you can focus on the solution, you must know the problem. Ask yourself, do you need to hire better or do you need to treat your folks better?
Making the ‘Sale’
If folks are leaving within the first 30 to 60 days, more often than not, they were sold a career and culture that is not reality. I am going to let you in on a secret – recruiting is sales. SURPRISE!
In order to recruit folks to leave their current employer – folks who had no interest in leaving before you called them – they have to “buy in” to the opportunity just as if they were “buying” a tangible item.
Here are some things to consider when turnover happens this early on:
  • Is the job description out of date? When was the last time you revised it to fit the role you are trying to fill?
  • How are candidates being qualified? For example, if the person must read blue prints, are you asking them to explain blue prints in the face-to-face interview?
  • Are your benefits tailored to all employees? If people continue to leave the “same” position, more often than not, it is because of a pay increase. But, for some, it could be due to better or more benefits. There are, on average, four generations in the workplace right now. Each has unique needs and wants in benefits. Companies must be willing to make the necessary changes to meet the needs of diverse employee groups.
  • Are your employees being terminated due to attendance issues? Include more than one interview with different times on different days to gain insight into what may or may not be a candidate’s peak performance time. Although allowing applicants the chance to remove themselves from the consideration process is time consuming and somewhat frustrating, it is better for it to happen before they go on payroll!
Culture, Environment and Rewards Structure
Let’s say you have a rock-solid recruiting team, and they hire the best of the best. Congrats! All of a sudden, however, you notice that people are leaving after one, two or five years. In that case, it’s time to objectively evaluate the possible reasons. (FYI, the reasons might not be entirely bad, since there is such a thing as good turnover. I will talk about that in a future blog.)
As I mentioned earlier, there are many different generations co-existing in the workforce today. With that, there are many reasons that they leave. Your job is to find out why. Once more, consider the various possibilities.
  • If a very experienced person has left for “a better opportunity,” did they leave because they felt like they were being passed over for a recent promotion opportunity? Was it because they were not being trained to improve, and thus perceived a glass ceiling in their current role?
  • What are you doing to keep your folks engaged in the company’s goals and allow them to feel like they are part of your successes?
  • Do your folks know, easily understand and visually see upward mobility in the company?
  • Benefits, benefits, benefits. Are you meeting the needs of the four generations in your company?
  • Are you publicly recognizing GREAT work? Are you letting the families of those folks know how much you appreciate their sacrifice? Yes, acknowledging family is important because some employees take their work home.
Put Yourself in Your Employees’ Shoes
So you have a great team. You want to do what you can to keep them around. That means showing appreciation for them and having frank conversations about their career.
All that said, you are never going to retain all your employees. Honestly, the better the employee, often the harder they are to keep. This is a good problem to have. Even if you lose them, though, you want them to have bittersweet feelings when they leave. Achieve that by creating a great culture, environment and rewards structure that easily aligns with their knowledge, skills and abilities.
So right now, take the time to ask yourself a few questions. How do you want to work? What do you like? What do you wish you had when you were in their position?
Once you have the answers, take charge and begin to make the changes necessary to significantly improve both your recruitment process and talent retention. I promise you’ll be glad you did.
About the Author: Molley began her career as a staff recruiter for Sears in 1997, where she recruited for entry level and management positions at their National Service Center and achieved yearly staffing rates of 110 to 120 percent of goals. She moved on from there to Citigroup, where she led a staffing team for many of their start-ups in Ohio, and other locations.
Not long after, Molley began her business as a contract recruiter, and over the course of several years worked with ACCENT, Luckett & Farley Architects and Engineers and GE Intelligent Platforms/Yoh.
In 2011 she became vice president of Managed Services for Kwantek, where she was responsible for talent management, strategic planning, and more. In 2013, She became the director of Professional Recruiting for York Companies in Louisville, running their recruiting division and a team of five recruiters.
When she’s not running her business, Molley is the president of the Power Partners Group for Business Networking International, the world’s largest professional networking group. Her education is in Human Resources from Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky.

The Pros & Cons of Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces are one of the hottest trends for those starting or growing a small business: Instead of working from a corner of your bedroom or renting an office, you find a shared space to hang your shingle. In the U.S., coworking spaces can be found in most major cities and some smaller ones, as well as in countries around the world.
These arrangements offer the ability to rent space in a place dedicated to entrepreneurs and working professionals. In many, you have the ability to choose the type of shared workspace that is best for you from a spot to sit-first come, first serve- to a private office.
There are a variety of perks that come with coworking spaces, ranging from learning and networking opportunities to childcare in some.

6 Reasons to Love Coworking Spaces

1. You’re on a budget.
You can usually find a coworking arrangement that will run you a few hundred dollars a month (depending on the market and whether you need a private office). At the most basic price, you should get reliable internet, and you may also get limited access to a private office or conference room for meetings. (You can often pay more for additional services.) You may also get other perks such as access to office equipment like printers, copiers and scanners. Typically there is no long-term lease, and some even give you access to spaces in other cities as well – great for business owners or sales pros who travel.
2. You crave connection.
Starting and running a business can be a lonely endeavor at times. These spaces often bring together creative, motivated individuals with whom you can share ideas as well as the simple ups and downs of running a business. Some facilitate after-hours activities, such as happy hours, as well. You can meet interesting and inspiring people who may help you become more productive.
3. You love networking.
Some entrepreneurs have reported significant success drumming up business among their coworking peers. Others have found introductions to important partners, or even future employees.
4. You need to get out of the house.
If you find yourself working at home and constantly getting interrupted by chores, kids, pets or even neighbors, this may be an ideal way to have a dedicated place to work at an affordable price. You won’t wear out your welcome at the local coffee shop, and unlike the library, you may feel more free to take and make phone calls or take care of business.
5. You want to learn how to build your business.
Learning can take place in a variety of ways. Some will occur simply through conversations with others in the space who are working on interesting projects or have interesting skill sets that can help you plow through sticky business problems. In others, it may be more formalized. Some spaces bring in speakers for “lunch and learn” programs or after-hours workshops.
6. You’ll have a professional space to host potential clients.
Looking like a legitimate business is one of the main hurdles new business owners have to overcome. Having an office space that’s out of your home and in a thriving or trendy part of your city can send positive signals to a potential investor, client or business partner. When one bad handshake can wreck your small business – whether it’s a client that never pays their bills or a shady supplier – business owners are careful who they partner with, and having an office space that shows you’re committed to your company can help build trust.

6 Shortfalls of Coworking Spaces

1. You get distracted easily.
For some, the social benefits of working in one of these spaces can be outweighed by the distraction. Shared space can be loud and you never know when interruptions may happen. Some people use headphones, or even rent private office space, but at some point, you may be better off in a different environment.
2. You hate the commute.
Getting into a car or on the subway to get to your office can be a drag, so you’ll need to make sure the space you choose is convenient and worth the commute.
3. Your budget is just too tight.
Many spaces offer flexible payment options, but if you’re really strapped you may be better off using the free space a library offers, for example, and perhaps supplement that with visits to local coffee shops for a change of pace.
4. You’re easily annoyed.
In your own office, you can set the rules, but in a coworking space you are forced to adapt to the rules and culture of that space. You could find yourself frequently interacting with people you’d rather not spend time with.
5. You catch everything going around.
If you have kids who bring home the latest version of the flu/colds/whatever is going around, then you probably don’t have to worry about whether you can pick something up at work. But if you’re accustomed to working from home, you could find yourself getting sick more frequently. You’re sharing office space and bathroom space, and you simply can’t guarantee how careful others are about trying not to pass along germs.
6. You need more privacy.
Does your work mean you will frequently need to be on phone calls or conference calls? An open floor plan or paper thin walls in “private” offices could mean your conversations are going to be heard by others in your space. Will you be OK with that?
A coworking space may or may not be for you, but it’s worth considering-these spaces are tried and true for a number of successful companies, and carefully considering the pros and cons can help you decide if it’s the best option for your young company.
For a partial list of co-working spaces in Louisville visit StartupLou.
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