Small-business owners see silver lining in the recession
Rising employee retention rates and gains in market share
ARA - The current gloomy economic conditions contain some good news for the small-business sector.
According to a recent survey conducted by Citibank, some small-business owners and managers are finding a silver lining in the current recession, seeing more high-quality candidates available for hire, rising employee retention rates and gains in market share.
As a business owner, how can you take advantage of these small-business opportunities and make them work for your business? Small-business expert Dan Goodgame recently moderated a robust roundtable of small-business owners, who offer these three tips:
1. Take advantage of the talent pool
As a result of the recession, there is larger pool of highly qualified and highly skilled employees available for hire. Many who may not have considered working for a small firm are now more open to the idea. Take time to interview a variety of job candidates on a regular basis, even if you don’t have a current opening at the company. This technique can help you fill an opening as soon as it is created with the best possible talent, and avoid some of the costs - typically 50 to 200 percent of the employee’s annual salary - normally associated with staff turnover.
2. Retain your best employees
Holding on to your best employees is of course crucial to building your business, and it’s going to get harder as the economy starts growing again. First, create a two-way communication system that allows employees, on a regular basis, to give and receive feedback on their performance and the performance of their peers and managers. Second, create an employee recognition and rewards program that extends beyond compensation and bonus. Be creative with the rewards program; provide employees with paid time off to volunteer at their organization of choice. Provide recognition with “surprise” thank you gift certificates to a local cafe or restaurant. The “thank you” does not have to be a big dollar amount - just the recognition can go a long way.
3. Seek feedback from customers as you seek referrals
With marketing budgets pinched, many business owners are taking a fresh look at ways to gain new sales by winning referrals from existing customers. One of the most effective methods is to seek feedback from existing customers on the quality of your products and services, and on your pricing. Tell customers directly that you want to do whatever is necessary so that they will be so pleased that they will recommend your company to their friends and colleagues. Listen to their suggestions on how you can improve. And when you’ve followed through on their advice, check back with them. If you know of a good prospect, ask your existing customers if they know her, and can introduce you to her and recommend you. One advantage of this approach is that it helps you get the feedback that you need to improve your service, even as it brings in new business.
The small-business sector typically leads the U.S. economy out of recession, and that pattern seems to be holding up in the current downturn. Leveraging tips such as these will be key to surviving the toughest business conditions in more than half a century.
Who wouldn’t want to spend the summer months sleeping until noon, and the rest of the day scouring the malls for the latest Hip Hop fashion or hanging out at the park shooting hoops?
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Los Angeles County increased to 10.4 percent in January, up from a revised 10.3 percent in December, the state Employment Development Department announced today.
The 10.4 percent unemployment rate was below the 11.6 percent rate in January 2012, according to the EDD.
In Orange County, where seasonally adjusted numbers were not available, the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in January.
“That’s what the world is today,” so says the Motown hit, which was sung by Edwin Starr and later by the Temptations. The description still applies, but for different reasons. This confusion or chaos is coming at us like a freight train. Let’s examine some of the reasons.
According to a new report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), in 2011 more than 37 million American households were either unbanked or under-banked. African American households represent 34 percent of all under-banked consumers, the highest percentage among demographics surveyed. When under-banked African American and Latino households are combined, these two communities of color comprise more than 60 percent of the nation’s under-banked households.
For 28 years Ronald and Valerie Jackson lived on Harlan Avenue in Carson. They raised their three children there, had started on the grandkids and had accumulated years of happy memories.
Valerie worked as a civilian employee for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and Ronald worked for the city of Los Angeles, before becoming a real estate investor.
Then the real estate market crashed, and “so did I,” said Ronald of his 2008 economic slump.