One Small Step

One Small Step at a time!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon. That’s one small step for a man, one small step imageone giant leap for mankind. I remember what I was doing that day. My parents were at work. They left implicit instructions that I was to  watch with my girlfriend Liz and her family. It was moving thinking back that I was able to see history happen. This historic event can only be matched by the first step by a man on Mars. Read the wiki about Apollo 11 here.

I don’t remember what I was thinking, but I just had to be impressed. How could I not be. Several years ago, while visiting the Kennedy Space Center, I was awestruck by the significance of what I was seeing and remembering what I had witnessed, albeit by television, in my youth. The bravery, resolve, and spirit of all the men and women who made space travel happen is incredible. One of our family friends, who worked for Boeing in St. Louis, was even a small piece of the puzzle that made all of it work. I remember seeing the pictures of him in his white coverall suit. I remember a certificate signed by the president.

Thinking about this whole series of events means that, while I am awestruck with one small step that someone took, it had to start somewhere. A dream, a vision, a discussion, led to putting man into space, on the moon, and living in a space station. I believe that we will one day live out the dreams of many creators in all the space travel adventure series. Or live like the Jetsons! I know I will probably not live long enough to see it or participate fully, but I know that I would be encouraging.

Taking One Small Step

What do you need to do that requires that one small step to get you moving toward a larger goal?

  • Starting a work project
  • Losing weight
  • Holding yourself accountable
  • Posting on social media regularly
  • Writing a blog article twice a month
  • Sending out a newsletter

If I can be of assistance, please let me know.

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Three Things to Retain Employees

What three things can you do to retain employees?

Recently, I heard an interview on WGN radio show by Steve Grzanich of the Opening Bell discuss three things to do to retain employees with Adam Robinson of Hireology.

Those three things are:retain employees

  • Career Path
  • Stable Pay
  • Flexibility

Let me share my interpretation and viewpoint from a workforce development aspect. I am a solopreneur, but I have a history with workforce development from the employer and job seeker aspects.

Career Path

Many people begin a job without knowing how they can progress up a career ladder. For example, you might get training as a Certified Nurse Assistant with the end goal of becoming a Physician Assistant.

  • What steps can the job help you achieve?
  • Will the employer pay for additional training?
  • Is there internal training that can help you advance up the career ladder?
  • Will the employer allow attendance at external workshops and conferences to gain or maintain additional educational units?

This is a very competitive job market for those who are still looking for work. What do you tell prospective employees in the interview process about training retention plans?

Stable Pay

In my view, stable pay means that if you hire an employee you will maintain a consistent rate of pay when possible. For example, if hired as a part-time person at 20 hours a week, the hours don’t fluctuate down to 5 for several weeks in a row. If a person is hired as a seasonal employee, help that person understand what the hours/pay expectation should be. If someone is hired who becomes used to 12 hours of overtime a week and suddenly, without notice, that is cut because of x, y or z, it is unfair. Communication would be key in both of these examples. Perhaps a contract was not renewed and hours for everyone will be cut as of xx date. Another aspect to stable pay could be the anticipation of annual reviews with cost of living increases or performance raises. A new employee should be made aware of what opportunities exist.

Flexibility

For me personally, this is one of the reasons why I love working for myself. If I need to go to a networking event, attend a doctors appointment, run an emergency errand for my husband’s construction business or almost any other reason, I have the flexibility to work earlier or later in the day or make up work I have to do on a Saturday morning. More and more businesses understand the work/life balance concept. Sometimes the declawed cat might slip out the door and boom, there goes 90 minutes of time you owe your employer. Being or allowing flexibility (as long as it is not abused) is one of the things that employees will expect.

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Constant Contact Story – Hasty Decisions Can Cost Big

Constant Contact Salesperson got the better of me.

I decided to sign-up for Constant Contact through the link for the Savings Program link on my Elgin Area Chamber site. Check out becoming a member of this great chamber if you aren’t already. I would get a 25% discount and 60 days free to prep my list of contacts, setup my templates and mentally prepare to send emails.

The next morning, I received a phone call at 9:45AM from a Constant Contact salesperson telling me they were my “guide” to make sure I had blah blah blah. I told the person before they got into their spiel that I had a 10AM conference webinar that I was hosting.  I indicated to the person with which I was speaking that I had only a few minutes to complete the call before I needed to prep for my webinar. To be polite I stayed on the phone with the rep to answer some questions. He wanted to schedule a walk through call for me as I had previous experience with Constant Contact. He didn’t bother to tell me that that walk-through was part of the Email Plus plan and since I was in a hurry, I didn’t ask. He told me I needed to have a paid account before I was able to have that appointment scheduled. He made it sound like the appointment times were very rare and I agreed to get my account paid for right away. As I felt rushed I was not asking the appropriate questions about which level of account I was signing up for. I logged into my account and entered my credit card information because I refuse to give to anyone that initiates a call with me my credit card number of out of principle. I was charged $430. I was expecting $180. I finally hung-up on the guy at 9:57AM. I felt anxious, nervous and frustrated.

I had an out of office meeting to attend. When I returned, I saw a “Thanks for your payment” email. When I opened it and saw the $430 amount, I about hit the ceiling. I called and had to cancel my account because I was planning on using the 2 free months to get everything set-up and then pay for a year at the end of the trial period. Now I have to set-up a new account. Fortunately, the Customer Service Rep told me she would make it so that I can use my email address again to set-up the new account. She exported the list with all of the data points of the people I had already entered because I was only getting parts of the data. Let’s see if the CSR comes up with her end of the bargain!

So this is my story to you:

  • Don’t do anything in haste. Make them call you back.
  • I am totally disappointed in the practice that was demonstrated by the young man to whom I was speaking. AND that I let him.
  • I will set up another account,
  • I will use my 60 day free trial, and,
  • I will get my 25% discount.

In the survey I received, I let them know that I wrote this blog article and that it will get posted to my social media. I can’t fault the company, only their rep. I have to accept partial responsibility for this because I was less cautious than I normally am.

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Posting Job Openings

Where do you post your job openings?

How many responses are you getting for the job openings that you post? Are you paying a bunch of money and not getting the right candidates? Have you thought about hyper-local postings?

I teach a number of LinkedIn classes to job seekers as well as business owners about LinkedIn. For the job seekers, I also teach a class about using the internet to build a brand for themselves. After we get done with that part, I focus on where job openings can be found without totally relying on the major job search sites like Monster and Career Builder. I would advise business owners the same. Don’t depend upon or rely solely on those major job posting sites. The job seekers get frustrated because they are not getting responses from business. Business is getting frustrated because they spend big bucks and get either a gazillion responses that have to be weeded through or the matches are poor.

I would advise both business and job seekers to investigate some alternatives:

Local Chambers of Commerce

One of the local chambers to which I belong has a very robust job opening site. Members are encouraged to post their openings for free as a member benefit. A couple of job openings that I saw while grabbing a screen shot for this article included an accountant and a project manager. In all there were 31 listings. In 2018 the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce had  12698 views of the EAC Works page on the website.  These are considered hyper-local listings as the business is usually in the community of the chamber to which they belong.

Association Sites

Another place to post or look for job openings is association / organization  sites. Do you belong to an industry related association? Those are a good place to post job openings or look for open positions. Sometimes the business is required to pay for the postings, but the price to post is well below the price on the big job posting sites.  In most cases the job listing is free to the job seeker. These organizations may not be as hyper-local as a chamber of commerce, but are typically in an economic region of your area. Check out the postings from the Valley Industrial Association.

When posting to one of these sites, you are more likely to receive resumes from candidates who are in the field for which you are posting and are looking to the association site as a niche tool. You might even recruit an organization member who didn’t know they were looking for their next opportunity!!

Whatever your job opening is you may want to consider these opportunities for the next time you want to post.

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Time2Mrkt is Proud to Announce Woman Business Enterprise Status

Time2Mrkt recently earned Woman Business Enterprise status from the State of Illinois.

After working with one of my clients for a number of years, the procurement process changed. They now require all of their contractors to be on the Illinois Procurement Guide as registered business.

Since I wanted to keep my contract viable with them, I went through the process of completing the application. This was an involved process! It took a couple of weeks from start to finish. I was totally confused but a webinar I attended about completing the application gave me enough information to assuage my trepidation with the applicaiton.

Thankfully, I save emails and documents, so gathering the information they needed was time-consuming but relatively painless. I had to  contact my attorney for copies of incorporation documentation, my CPA for some tax documentation, and get a couple of documents notarized. I happen to be a notary, but I am unable to notarize my own documents.

After everything was uploaded, and all of the questions responded to, I participated in a phone interview. They wanted tax information about our construction company and I asked why. The response made me laugh out loud. Apparently, all business in which you hold a shareholder stake have to be tracked because the total income cannot exceed $75 million. If I was making $75 million in either of our businesses…

All in all, this is a great opportunity that may open up the clients with whom I might do business. Since I have the Woman Business Enterprise certification, I am able to potentially meet quotas for business with government contracts who have to track those sort of things.  It also allows me to complete applications in other states and agencies in the state based on the documents that I have already submitted for the current certification.

If I had know that the state process was this easy, I might not have waited so long to complete it. They also have veteran owned business certification, along with minority and minority woman categories. Something to think about when you are looking for a new service vendor.

FYI – they don’t have a logo, so I created one of my own. I think I will submit it to someone to see if they would like to use. Give me your feedback on the design.

 

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