4960 William Flynn Hwy., Suite 6 PMB #173

Allison Park, PA 15101

724.612.0755

724.444.6176 Fax

autumn@edmistongroup.com

Do You Have the Right Support?

Hire the Right Support, Edmiston Group

Most of us can remember a time where our parents questioned our friends as we grew up. While at the time it was an annoyance, it taught us the important lesson of making sure that we surround ourselves with the right people. By selecting a strong group of friends you have created a circle of people that are there to support you, cheer your big accomplishments and help to pull you up when you fall down. That same mindset of surrounding yourself with the “right” people is extremely important as a business owner.

When it comes time to grow the company, or maybe replace an employee that has moved on, don’t just hire the first applicant that comes through the door. It is important to have a process for selecting the right applicant. As you build your staff, these employees will help to make you successful, become part of your team, and help to piece things back together when they fall apart, because every now and then we all make mistakes.

Small business is a fast paced environment. You are fighting to get the upper hand on your competition all while striving to be the best at what you do. With the onslaught of social media and other changes in technology, it’s a never ending quest to stay abreast of new trends.

When your company moves from its infancy into its adolescence, you are sure to feel growing pains. One of the hurdles to overcome is when it becomes clear that you can no longer handle the work load on your own. Or, you’ve reached a growth plateau where your employees can no longer handle the workload and it’s time to bring on a new staff member.

As you reach the point of hiring your first employee, or maybe even your 15th employee, it’s important to do your research so that you hire the right person and not the first body that walks through the door. While this decision is often made while you are struggling to keep up with work, and you are already swamped, be sure to do yourself a favor and properly vet your possible candidates. Hiring the wrong person or a non-team player may take your already overwhelming workload and increase it, causing more pain than relief.

Some important steps to hiring the right person.

  • References. It is amazing how many companies ask for references and never even look into them. References are an important part of finding out who the person is that you are looking to hire. It’s also important to check out the person’s social media platforms. Find out who they are outside of the workplace. This will help to determine if they are right for your company’s culture.
  • Proper interview. As you interview your prospective employees, take the time to find out who they are. Questions like: What are you passionate about? What is your greatest accomplishment? How do you handle conflict or challenge? Why should I hire you over someone else?
  • Trust your gut. While the prospective employee may seem “nice”, what does your gut tell you? As a business owner you have followed your gut on many occasions and it has led you to this point in your business career, so don’t stop listening to it now.
  • Multiple rounds of interviews. Be sure to have more than one interview with the person. Include other people in the interviews such as other employees, partners, or mentors. This will help you to get a better prospective on the person being interviewed. Remember that your employees are the ones who will be working with the new recruit every day, and valuing their opinion can help to make a more cohesive workplace.

Owning a business can often times be a roller-coaster – dragging you up the hills and slinging you off the top to freefall to the bottom. While being a business owner is a rewarding experience, having the right team of people around you can help to make that climb uphill a more pleasant one. Take the time to properly vet your prospective employees. The right employees and a strong team can help make your business a success.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth

Holiday Prep Time

Holiday Prep Time, Edmiston GroupWith the 4th of July closing with a bang, it is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that it is time to begin planning for the fall and winter holiday seasons. As a business owner myself, I can attest to the fact that planning is key. When I started my own business, I developed business plan. I would tweak that business plan as my business model changed, but it all started with a plan.

The holiday season is one of the largest spending holidays for consumers. With shopping days such as Back-to-School Sales, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and all the other days that you will find stores lined with consumers looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, it’s important to have a plan in place.

There are some important steps and planning that are required to have a successful holiday season.

  • Set clear, obtainable goals. It gives both you and your employees something to work toward. Have different rewards for reaching company goals. This will help to keep everyone focused toward the prize while working together to achieve the goal. Determine and communicate to your staff the different reward values for achieving larger and smaller goals. This will help keep everyone motivated and excited about the holiday season. Be certain to deliver the promised rewards. A pizza party or some Starbucks gift cards can go a long way. Always remember to thank your employees for a job well done.
  • Financially planning for the holidays is important to being successful. Most businesses or companies have inventory in stock, especially if you are a storefront or goods based company. Perhaps establishing a line of credit will allow you to have extra available finances that are important to be able to purchase holiday inventory. Moving into the holiday cash strapped can leave a company short on funds to be able to purchase the amount of goods needed to get through the upcoming holiday.
  • Plan out any special events for each holiday. Will your office or business have a party for each holiday? If so what is your budget for the party, where and when will it be held? How will you notify your customers of the special event?
  • Make sure your team is educated. Holidays are often a time of stress for consumers. Enable your customers to enjoy a pleasurable shopping experience with you by delivering a strong customer service experience. Keep your employees educated on your company’s goods and services, along with any specials or sales you plan on having. This type of communication enables them to deliver a strong customer experience to frenzied customers.

As the long days of summer gradually grow shorter, make sure you have a plan in place for the delivery and sale of the newest, most popular products on the market. Financially prepare for purchase of needed inventory. Educate your employees on new products and upcoming sales. Communicate upcoming events to your customers. You will find that with proper planning and execution, your business will yield the results you desire this upcoming fall and into the holiday season.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth

Mid-Year Review

mid year review, Edmiston Group

A mid-year review is an invaluable tool for your business.

The old saying of ‘time flies’ has taken effect again as we have reached the halfway mark for the 2016 year. To managers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and other professionals it is time to pause and look at a mid-year review. In order to be more successful as you grow your business, you need to see where you started, what you overcame and where you stumbled.

A mid-year review is a great tool to use for your company and your employees. It allows you to adjust staffing and responsibilities as you reflect on past performance and future goals. As you begin this process, it’s easy to focus on failures. But it is just as important to identify the things that you did well. It is easy to see where you struggled but remember that the review is not only to emphasize those areas, but moreover to see where you have done well and aim to move in that direction as your business moves into the second half of 2016.

When you begin your mid-year review, it’s time to pull out your business plan and growth projections for 2016. Look back at your plan, where you hoped to be and where you are. If you came up short on your expectations, there is time to adjust for the second half of the year. Take the time to reflect on positive growth before you begin to figure out where you fell short. Those positive moments are after all what got you to where you are, and have helped you to move forward.

Once you have identified your strengths, it is time to move onto your weaknesses. The goal of identifying weakness within your employees, your company, or yourself is to be able to help to improve these shortcomings. Identify what you can do to improve in these areas, through additional training and/or resources. Over the course of the second half of the year, measure improvement.

As vacations come and go and the summer months fly past, be sure to take the time to look back at the 2016 year. In order to help be the best that you can be, whether it’s your employees, company, or manager, you need to appreciate growth. Identify the areas of success and weakness, make adjustments and come up with a plan moving forward and measure your results. It’s not too late to make the most out of 2016!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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TESTIMONIALS

“Autumn has been a wonderful consultant for women entrepreneurs developing their business concepts in our 11-week MyBusiness Startup program. The participants speak highly of her professionalism, the quality of her information, her guidance and support. The Center values the expertise Autumn brings as a resource to this program and her membership in the Center for the past few years.” Anne Flynn Schlicht, Assistant Director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University.

— Anne Flynn Schlicht, Assistant Director, CENTER FOR WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP