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How To Make Sure You Recruit The Best (and Avoid the Worst!)

One of the most nerve-wracking, milestone moments for any small business owner has to be when they make the move from solo entrepreneur to the employer. I recently wrote about how one of the hardest lessons I learnt in business is hiring and outsourcing without recommendations. It’s not easy, and sometimes you need to cast your net far and wide to find the right person for the job.

Bringing other people on board is a time of mixed emotions – immense pride that you’ve built your business to the point where it needs and can sustain others, mixed with doubt over giving up sole control of everything and worry about finding the right person for the job. If you’ve never dealt with recruitment before this can be especially daunting. You know the basics you need to ask – their experience, qualifications, and why they want the job – but how do you assess their true qualities and get an idea of what they’ll really be like to work alongside?

How To Make Sure You Recruit The Best (and Avoid the Worst!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

It’s so important in a small business, as you’ll be spending a lot of time with that person. Someone can walk in their best suit, kitted out from tiesrus but that doesn’t mean they will be the best fit for the job and your company. These creative interview questions will get you started.


Ask What They Would Do Differently

Although giving up the sole influence on the direction and operations of your company is daunting, it’s also a chance to gain a valuable perspective outside of your own. See the interviews as a chance to find an original mind to challenge and complement your own thinking. This question determines if a candidate has a proper interest in your sector and company and if they’ve done their research. Don’t be intimidated to ask for their vision – a detailed response can help you identify a future leader who could grow with the company, and those are the types of people you need on board.

Check Their Metrics

Our businesses are run on data, and analytics have a lot to teach us when it comes to insight into human behavior as well. Using behavioral metrics can be an important part of a successful interview process. Take them in balance with other factors that demonstrate the attitude the candidate has, and alongside previous examples of quality work they can point to.

Evaluate Their Critical Thinking

Some people can perform well in tests, but not have as much capacity for independent thought, so look for a list of questions to evaluate critical thinking as well. Some of them can be quite left-field! The whole point is that there is no one correct answer – candidates are being given a chance to showcase their logical and creative thinking, as well as how persuasive and eloquent they can be – all factors well worth measuring, especially if the role is strategic.

In a job interview, it shouldn’t only be the candidates for the vacancy who are thinking ‘outside the box’ – employers too can do a lot more to find the right match by combining some new techniques to give themselves a multi-dimensional view of the person they hope to employ. Combining the classic STAR interview technique with a few analytics and some critical thinking curveballs will give a more rounded picture – and for small businesses, those first few hires can make or break the success of the company.

2018-06-20T11:54:27+00:00 June 19, 2018|Blogging Tips|

3 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting my Own Business

Last month we celebrated Float Digital turning 2 years old. How the HECK did that happen!? When I first quit my job to launch my little digital marketing agency, I didn’t even dream things would go this well. I recently wrote a little piece on our company blog about what we’ve achieved in the last 12 months, and when I read it back, I honestly couldn’t believe we’d come this far.

People always ask me “What’s the biggest challenges you’ve faced running your own business?”. I’ve always felt a sense of guilt coupled with confusion, and responded every time with “I haven’t had any challenges”. I could honestly say I never found running a company difficult, and I certainly never had any hurdles.

3 Things I've Learned Since Starting my Own Business | UK Lifestyle Blog

I guess you could say I’ve been pretty lucky. We’ve been nominated for national awards, presented at some of the largest marketing conferences in Europe and whilst turning over a healthy profit that we can both live on (and pay for an awesome wedding and honeymoon!). We’ve been doing all of this whilst enjoying long weekends and trips away. Seriously, what more could we possibly ask for?


Alas! Three weeks ago, everything changed. It’s almost like my 2 year trial was up and now shit was getting real. Our exponential growth has caught up with us, we soon realised we were completely out of our depth, despite working our butts off all week 🍑 It’s okay, everything is under control; it’s actually been really good because it’s forced us to change the way we operate *silver linings*.

The only thing is, I’m kicking myself. I feel like most of these things could have been avoided if I just did a little bit more research. Like I said though, it’s given us that little push now to get everything right, and I guess we’re always going to be learning. So here’s some advice I wish I had:

Hire based on recommendations

You’re probably thinking “I’m not planning on hiring anybody”, well I have news for you – you will. Outsourcing and hiring experts to help you run your business is a no-brainer. Sometimes you need to hire people because you aren’t qualified to do it yourself, such as a lawyer or an accountant. Other times, it’s just to free up your time so you can spend it doing stuff that’s really important. Technically, I could write my own contracts but I wouldn’t feel confident that they’re good enough to hold up (more on that soon!).

I used to try and do my own finances but a) it was so time-consuming b) I found that my accountant could save me heaps of money, so she was worth her weight in gold. Last year my company officially incorporated and is now a limited company, which changes how we do things. Now, even if I wanted to, I can’t file my own tax returns because I’m not qualified to do so. We have a bookkeeper and an accountant that deal with everything and I have the peace of mind that it’s being dealt with properly, and all above board.

We have an amazing content writer called Lee-Anne, great SEO contractors, and a team of experts that deal with our social media platforms, which saves us hours every single day. The time that they save us in invaluable because it means we can dedicate time to our clients. My fiancée and I are always throwing ideas back and forth but it’s nice to have a team of people that have an input on the best things to do.

3 Things I've Learned Since Starting my Own Business | UK Lifestyle Blog

We’re lucky we have a team of people that we trust but it wasn’t easy to do. When I first began outsourcing I didn’t appreciate the importance of recommendations, I just welcomed people onboard that gave a good proposal. Turns out, this was a bad idea and almost ended up costing me a lot of money. I found out that the services I was receiving was actually going to do my business more harm than good, and I switched suppliers. At the time I wasn’t educated enough to understand this, but eventually you work out the who’s a pirate and who is a trusted supplier. I won’t go into it, but I’ll just leave it with this: Reviews matter.

You might not be ready to employ people but instead you might have started using websites, like AppPaye, as your business is growing. So, don’t forget, recommendations don’t just apply to people; they apply to products and services, too.

Be firm with your clients on deliverables

When we first started delivering retained packages for our clients our proposals were quite vague in what the client would receive. This opened us up to clients potentially being unhappy! Luckily, this didn’t happen to us and we’ve always had positive feedback, however, if our proposals were a little bit clearer it would have saved a lot of unnecessary phone calls and emails. We decided to make our bronze, silver and gold packages much clearer so clients knew exactly what they were going to receive. This was never really a problem with us, but I can see how it could be for other businesses that deliver a service, especially on an ongoing basis.

We have run into trouble based on clients not really understanding what we do, and expecting us to do all kind of random jobs for them that don’t relate to our 2 core services, SEO & PPC. If you don’t know what these services are, I don’t blame you, not everybody does! It’s essentially Search Engine Marketing; or ‘Getting People to the Top of Google’, is how I like to word it! This means increasing visibility in the normal results and by using ads.

Pretty straight forward, huh? Well, here’s what we’ve been asked to do:

  • Web development
  • Newsletter marketing
  • Web design
  • Project managing content
  • Calendar management
  • Javascript
  • Social media
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Bespoke CSS
  • Shop refunds
  • Transcript writing
  • Malware clean up

3 Things I've Learned Since Starting my Own Business | UK Lifestyle Blog

We’re pretty clued up on all of these services and we can deliver them. This is great for us, because as business owners we don’t need to outsource this stuff if we don’t want to. For example, we built our own website and if we ever want bespoke changes, we can just code them in ourselves, saving us heaps of money. But our clients often ask for these services; for a while we used to ‘umm’ and ‘ahhh’ about how we could help them. Why? We wanted to make their life easier, we knew we could help, and it was an easy way to make a bit of extra cash.

This soon turned into a problem when we realised we were spending more time on things we didn’t want to do, and we ended up running other people’s businesses for them based on ad hoc payment. We essentially turned into virtual assistants for a short period of time, and it got messy real quick. Stick to what you know because then you can be known if your industry for what you do best. Luckily, we didn’t entertain this idea for long but I already experienced the stress of offering all these services.

Your contracts must be water tight

We’ve got a pretty solid terms and conditions document, our proposals are very clear, and our investment packages clearly outline what we offer. Client have an onboarding process and we find out everything we need to know about them, they pay their invoice one month before we begin working and then we deliver the project. The process is pretty straight-forward and I feel like we covered all basis. Oh boy, was I wrong! Individual contracts for each scope of work with a clear Start date is so important.

We loved that we could offer a service with zero contracts, no minimum commitment and no cancellation fees. We’re real people, offering a service to make an honest wage. This is one of the things our clients love about us because there isn’t many other companies that are this flexible. We’re not trying to scam anybody out of any money, and so we don’t feel the need to tie our customers in. If they want our help, great! If they don’t, also fine. We’re so lucky that we have enough clients that we don’t have to lock people in, there’s always other clients that are on our waiting list, dying to get a slot in our calendars.

This was never a problem until a client decided they didn’t want to pay until the work was completed. We’re very understanding so we decided to deliver the project before payment was received. We began the work, after being told to go ahead. Two months later we’re left without payment. I only have myself to blame for being so laid back and not putting it into a contract. We learnt our lessons, and we’ll always stick to our contracts, and we’ll always require payment upfront. Make sure you don’t forget how important these contracts are!

I essentially need a backbone. What lessons have you learnt from running your own business? 🤔

2018-06-18T11:03:26+00:00 June 18, 2018|Blogging Tips|

How to Make a Business Launch Party a Success

Confession: I’m obsessed with checking my Google Analytics. I find it really interesting to learn what content is popular on my blog, and to use those insights and data to develop my content further to keep my readers happy.  Turns out, my blogging tips and freelance advice category (re-branded #BossBabe) has been SO popular with my audience. This makes me feel fuzzy inside because this is what motivates me to write the most. I founded a digital marketing agency two years ago, so anything business is totally up my street!

Lots of people have got in touch with me recently asking to pick my brains because they want to launch a business, HOW EXCITING IS THAT!? ✨ Well, if this is you then go have a read on the best of the blog posts online, as there are tons of helpful resources. If you’ve already got a business plan and you’re due to launch a new business, the best way to create a buzz about it is holding a launch party…

How to Make a Business Launch Party a Success | UK Lifestyle Blog

Cleverly combined with a great public relations and marketing campaign, you can increase your brand awareness overnight, and meet some people who can help your new venture grow in the future. Planning a business launch party, however, requires a lot of preparation, and you need to make a good impression.

Below you will find a few tips on how to get started.


Invitations and Research

First, you have to find people who can help you in your new venture, and do your market research. Before choosing companies and people to invite, you might want to check business directories and do your own research, so you can make the most out of your branding and marketing opportunities. You can list potential suppliers, customers, and business partners, as well as future investors. Send out invitations via the post, and identify the key decision makers when addressing the cards.

How to Make a Business Launch Party a Success | UK Lifestyle Blog

Marketing Materials

You have to be prepared to answer questions during your launch party, but don’t want to turn the event into a marketing event. Instead, make sure you have some printed materials and goodie bags your guests can take with them, so you they don’t have to talk too much about your business. While holding an introduction speech in the beginning of the business launch party is acceptable, you shouldn’t carry on talking about it during the event. You can pitch potential clients later; now you have to focus on branding.

Branding Decoration

A good way of making your guests remember your company and what it is about is adding branding decoration. When planning a party, you have to create the atmosphere that is both professional and welcoming. You should display your logo everywhere you can, and your slogan, as well. You can choose your brand’s colours for the table decorations, and create a strong image this way.

How to Make a Business Launch Party a Success | UK Lifestyle Blog

Entertainment

To make sure that your potential clients and business partners will remember your party, and you will have something to talk about when you give them a call later, you want to arrange quality entertainment, too. Check out https://www.alivenetwork.com/bandsearch.asp?style=Rock and Pop to find the right band available for your dates, and book them for the night. You should have the entertainment after the food has been served, and people are relaxed, socialisng.

Catering

It is important that you book a quality catering company to serve the food during the event. You might be able to save money by ordering sandwiches and finger food, but having a bar with a professional barman will make a huge difference. Make sure that everyone feels comfortable and can get what they are looking for. When you send out the invitations, make sure you ask about special dietary needs, so you can cater for everyone.

How to Make a Business Launch Party a Success | UK Lifestyle Blog

Networking

It is always a good idea to give your guests a good enough reason to attend your business launch party. If you allow them to display their promotional materials or introduce their business to other attendees, they are more likely to come to your event. You can give everyone two minutes to talk about their business and their brand, so everyone can find the person they would like to connect with later. Turning your launch event into a networking party can improve your reputation and increase the size of your list.

Follow Up

You shouldn’t forget about the long term benefits of a business launch party, either. Eventually, you will want to get in touch with people who attended and follow up with them. You can send out a “thank you” note to all of the people who came, and ask them whether they would like to find out more about the services or products you offer. Make sure that you communicate with people after the party and ask for feedback.

How to Make a Business Launch Party a Success | UK Lifestyle Blog

Whether you are looking for new customers or just would like to create a buzz about your brand, a launch party can help you achieve your goals. Make sure that you are able to reach out to people who are likely to matter for your business long term, and follow up leads after the party. Grab every opportunity to strengthen your brand and impress your potential clients. This way, investing in throwing a launch party will deliver great returns.

2018-05-24T17:46:45+00:00 May 24, 2018|Blogging Tips|
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