Small Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. -

Small Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.comSmall Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.comPosted: 30 May 2020 05:22 AM PDT More than 40 Lehigh Valley small business owners Saturday will be offering virtual deals on what they say will be one of their biggest shopping sales annually.Small Business Saturday typically is timed for following Black Friday in November. The nationwide effort for the past decade encourages communities to shop local as it kicks off the busiest shopping season of the year.The chamber is moving this year to hold the event twice -- this time with social distancing -- as many businesses struggle to survive financially during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their doors on March 19. Restaurants were then forced to offer menu items by takeout only with curbside pickup or delivery.Lehigh Val…

7 Small Business Hiring Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs - Nasdaq

7 Small Business Hiring Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs - Nasdaq

7 Small Business Hiring Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs - Nasdaq

Posted: 19 Sep 2019 08:19 AM PDT

By Sarah Greesonbach

When you run a small business, you can't afford to make mistakes. Every client interaction, product and invoice reflects on you and your company, and one bad experience can make or break your reputation. And that's why, even though growing your business is a good thing, it's natural to feel a lot of pressure when you're hiring new employees who will represent your company to the world.

We chatted with several small business hiring experts, who suggest you avoid the following.

7 Small Business Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

1. Hiring Out of Desperation

First, check your hiring motivations and make sure you're planning ahead for your staffing needs. It's one thing to realize it's time to expand your team because you have a reliable busy season coming up in a few months and need the extra support. It's another thing entirely to realize that busy season is upon you and you need extra help right now:

Among the most common small business hiring mistakes that Heidi Lynne, Global Human Resources Consultant & Founder of Heidi Lynne HR Consulting, sees is making a hire out of desperation. "They hire the skills they need right now and neglect character, when skills are trainable and character is not. This ends up causing more frustration and a clash of personalities because in the long run they find themselves with a diverse range of personalities on staff that are not aligned with the mission, vision and values of the company — and have no real investment in the company."

RELATED: Why Recruiting for Personality Matters

2. Hiring Without a Clear Job Description

The first step in hiring intentionally is to prepare a clear job description that outlines what you're looking for in a new employee and what they can expect from the job. But you'll quickly find that this step has major benefits for your whole company, not just your new employees:

"Sometimes the first step in making a new hire is understanding how your current staff is performing," says Diana George of By George HR Solutions." If you feel that your current staff is not getting the results you expect, you need to focus on developing a clear job description that you can use to make new hires. Unfortunately, many small business owners have everything in their head and expect the employees to be able to do the job even though it is not documented anywhere how to do the job correctly."

3. Improvising the Hiring Process

Speaking of job descriptions, they should be the first of several steps towards formalizing your HR process, even if you're only hiring one or two new employees — otherwise, you might find yourself rushing through the process and making bad hires simply because you weren't thorough enough at the start of the process.

"When you're starting a small business, you always have a lot on your hands, so it's tempting to want to rush the hiring process to get the wheels in motion," says Jerry Haffey, founder of Ambrosia Treatment Center. "But, too many new or small businesses fall short when hiring their first few employees because they skip crucial steps in the process, like background checks, following up with references and multiple interviews. It can be annoying to follow HR protocol when the candidate feels like the right fit right away, but it's well worth it to catch bad hires before they slip through the cracks."

4. Hiring a "Mini-Me" of the Business Owner

A powerful side benefit of building out a formal hiring process? You're more likely to hire based on talent, drive and potential — not because you see yourself in potential hires.

"I see it happen all too often that a small business owner will try and build a team of people just like herself," says Noelle Johnson, founder of My Interview Buddy. "But new hires will never be her — so she is constantly disappointed when the staff is unable to live up to her unrealistic expectations. Over time, important pieces fall through the cracks because the business doesn't have people in place that are strong where the owner is weak."

RELATED: 5 Ways to Attract Employees When Opening a Small Business

5. Not Hiring Enough Positions

If you're like most small business owners, you waited to grow your permanent staff until you were sure you could keep them busy for the long term. But once you decide to expand, make sure you're bringing on the number of team members you really need, not just the number you can get by with.

"Small business owners often push their existing employees too far before they bring in new hires," says HR Analyst Laura Handrick of Fit Small Business. "Then, because they're understaffed, service suffers, existing employees get burned out and new employees aren't given enough time for training before they're thrown into daily operations. The new employees are likely to fail, existing employee are overwhelmed and the culture and business suffer."

6. Not Anticipating Churn

One thing small business owners often don't realize when they first start hiring new employees is that even high-quality new hires may decide to leave the company within a few months or years — and you shouldn't take it personally.

"I've seen it time and time again that companies hire for culture when they are 10, 20 or 30 employees, but then that culture changes dramatically when they grow to 100, 125 or 150 employees," says Mike Astringer, Talent Acquisition and Human Resources Consultant at Human Capital Consultants, Inc. "There is a particular mindset of the person who goes to work in a startup or rapidly-growing small company that may not work as well as your organization [matures]. And so for all of the reasons someone joins a startup, they'll want to seek that out again in another small company and may not stay with yours. "

7. Misclassifying Employee Status

This is one of the small business hiring mistakes that can be particularly devastating for owners who aren't up-to-date on employment law: misclassifying employee status as exempt when they're non-exempt, or vice versa.

"Misclassification of employee status can be one of the most costly mistakes business owners can make when hiring their first few employees," says Ivelices Linares Thomas, Founder & CEO of HR & Beyond. "One situation I see frequently is a business misclassifying an employee as exempt and ineligible for overtime pay, yet the position is really a non-exempt position. In this example, a business will not have paid the misclassified employees correctly, especially when considering any missed overtime payments for hours worked over 40 hours. The penalty for failing to pay overtime can equal up to double the total overtime owed, and the Department of Labor has the ability to issue additional penalties per violation, which can add up very quickly."

This article was originally published on

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Small Business Administration chief touts trade in visit to Dublin fire truck maker - The Columbus Dispatch

Posted: 19 Sep 2019 02:25 PM PDT

In a visit to a Dublin firetruck manufacturer Thursday, the acting administrator of the federal Small Business Administration praised its programs, exports and the new trade deal the U.S. has struck with Canada and Mexico.

He also got to climb into a shiny new firetruck.

Chris Pilkerton toured Sutphen, a 129-year-old family owned business that exports firetrucks around the world.

The company has six factories in Ohio and Pennsylvania that employ about 370 people, and President Drew Sutphen said the company could use more workers to address the backlog of orders.

The company recently sold two trucks to Mexico City. It has sold trucks in Canada for more than 40 years, and exports make up about 5% of the company's sales.

Sutphen led Pilkerton and other visitors through the plant, showing how the trucks are built. At the last stop, Sutphen showed off the finished trucks, and a smiling Pilkerton happily accepted his offer to climb behind the wheel.

"It hasn't always been easy," Sutphen said when Pilkerton asked him about selling overseas.

When the company can break into foreign markets, the president said customers there tend to prefer Sutphen to locally made trucks because the quality is better.

The company has taken advantage of multiple programs meant to help companies export, including Ohio's International Market Access Grant for Exporters program, which covers a portion of marketing and other costs of companies looking to export their goods.

As part of Pilkerton's visit, the SBA awarded a $457,780 grant to the Ohio Development Services Agency, which the state plans to spend on the export program. Since the program began in 2011, the state has received $6.1 million.

"So many of these programs are free, and I want the American people to take advantage of it so they can start small businesses," Pilkerton said of SBA initiatives.

Pilkerton's visit to tout exports comes amid a trade war between the U.S. and China, and disputes with other trading partners. The Trump administration also has negotiated a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The new trade deal is pending before Congress.

After visiting Sutphen, Pilkerton spoke at the NASCO Continental Reunion, a two-day event being held in Columbus this year that brings together North American business and government leaders to discuss issues facing the region. The new trade deal is a focus of this year's event.

Pilkerton said the agreement cuts red tape and protects intellectual property issues, both of which have been big issues for companies, especially small businesses.

"The SBA was at the table during these negotiations," he said. "Small business were thought of during this whole process."

He said that in his travels throughout the country, small-business owners he talks to understand President Donald Trump's fight for fair trade, more jobs, increased manufacturing and more workforce development.

"To a person, it's always, 'Continue fighting for us,'" he said of the business owners. "They understand the end game here."



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