Small Business Diva

October 30, 2007

I’ve won an award!

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Recommendations,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 11:10 am
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Melissa Khalinsky of Business Mums has presented me with the Totally Faboulous Award for being “an all round fabulous person, what more can I say?”

Fab Award

Thank you so much Melissa – what an honour!

In turn I would like to gift this award to the following people:

Beverley Neil of Write Powerful Resumes because she is an incredibly fabulous lady who has given me a lot of support, encouragement, praise (and a kick up the backside when I needed it) over the years.

Kelly Gough at gillygirl – Kelly has a great range fashions for breast-feeding mothers and so passionately supports those who choose to breast-feed their babies.

Kathie Thomas, Virtual Assistant, who is not only a driving force behind the Australian VA industry, she has also be very supportive, encouraging and inspirational to me since before I began in business.

Okay, I’m off to celebrate my win now!  🙂

October 28, 2007

What turns hiring managers off?

Filed under: Employment,Recommendations — smallbusinessdiva @ 7:00 am

Further to my post a four days ago about hiring staff, I came across this post – What Turns Hiring Managers Off? – on the Write Powerful Resumes blog, written by my good friend, Beverley Neil.  It’s a great article, well worth the read.

October 26, 2007

What’s the difference between discipline and devotion?

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Words of Wisdom & Inspiration — smallbusinessdiva @ 12:34 pm
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Here’s another quote I love.

“People think I’m disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference,”

Luciano Pavarotti (Opera Singer – 1935-2007)

Think about it… what are you devoted to? Do you ever feel like it’s a chore to work or practise at something that you’re devoted to? Not likely. If you’re not already doing it, how can you spend more of your time earning a living by doing what you are devoted to; what you are passionate about?

October 24, 2007

7 Things to Think About When You Employ Staff

Filed under: Employment,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 7:05 am
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I have recently employed an assistant here in my office and so I thought it time to share some tips employing staff.

Everyone’s situation is different and so only you will know when the time is right, or even whether employing staff is the best option for you. In the case of many small businesses, rather than employee staff as such you can look at outsourcing certain tasks to other businesses and consultants. Things such as general administration, bookkeeping, writing, PR, website design, database management, marketing… the list goes on and on.

However if you decide that you do want to employ staff there are many things you need to consider, such as what tasks they will be doing, what hours you’ll need them to work, how employing staff will affect your insurance, workers’ compensation, tax implications and what your requirements are as an employer – just for starters.

In summary, here are seven points to consider:

1. The Position Description – this document should provide a written summary of:

  • Title and Classification
  • Duties and Responsibilities
  • Qualifications and Experience Required
  • Reporting Relationships
  • Working Conditions (including rate of pay)
  • Supervisory Responsibilities

2. Finding the best person for the job:

Decide how you will find the ideal job candidate. Will you advertise online or in the local newspaper, use word-of-mouth techniques, advertise with a job network provider or hire a recruiting agency? Would this position be suitable for a trainee or apprentice?

3. Know your requirements:

Make sure you are aware of your legal and obligatory requirements regarding things such as workers’ compensation, insurance, tax, superannuation, rates of pay, awards and conditions of employment, anti-discrimination legislation. These areas differ greatly between countries and even between states within countries. For somewhere to start, I have a list of helpful organisations/agencies on one of my websites – YourSmallBizExpert.com. Have a look here under your relevant country for some helpful websites.

4. Undertake appropriate reference checks to verify details provided in the application and to get an idea of the applicant’s past performance as an indicator of their future potential. Some industries, such as those where staff will be working with children, require further checks to be carried out.

5. Human Relations Forms

Before you employ staff make sure you have all the necessary forms such as:

  • Tax Declaration
  • Employee Timesheet
  • Leave Application
  • Personal Information (next of kin, etc)
  • Banking Details (if you will be paying wages direct to their bank account)

6. Employee Induction

Some of the things you should ensure new staff are aware of include:

• All leave procedures
• Company hours of operation
• Company policies and ethics
• Completion of forms such as personal information, emergency contact information and Taxation Office forms
• Confidentiality requirements
• Customer service and complaints policies
• Emergency procedures
• First aid procedures
• General overview of company products or services, other outlets or offices and company aims
• Parking regulations
• Pay procedures
• Security precautions
• Smoking regulations and any smoking designated areas
• Superannuation
• Telephone, Email and Internet usage
• Terms of employment
• Their job requirements and area, and who to ask for assistance
• Their work hours
• Timesheet procedures
• Tour of premises, including toilets, lunchroom, canteen,
• washbasins, personal lockers, and introduction to main people they will be dealing with.
• Unions
• Vehicle and logbook usage
• Workplace health and safety guidelines

7. Looking after your staff

Okay, so now you have employed your staff, you have to look after them. Firstly, there are workplace, health and safety considerations. As an employer you have a ‘duty of care’ to look after the safety of your employees. Additionally, on-going training will be required to ensure that your staff maintain a high standard of job competency, including safety, service, technical knowledge and efficiency. 

You may have legal obligations to train your staff, including in areas such as food handling requirements; responsible service of alcohol or tobacco; first aid and occupational health and safety practices; or environmental issues. You should first identify the training needs relevant to your business, and then draw up a suitable plan including details of how the training will be provided and the costs and time frames involved.

And remember… “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

Stephen R. Covey

October 22, 2007

Are you making the most of your time?

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Time Management,Words of Wisdom & Inspiration — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:03 pm
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I came across this quote today:

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot,”

Michael Althsuler.

I like the sound of that!

October 19, 2007

What is a Virtual Business Expo?

Here’s something interesting… Australia’s first ever Virtual Business Expo, sponsored by MPPi Business Network, is currently being organised with the launch of this unique initiative set for November 5, 2007.

So what is a Virtual Expo? It’s just the same as a physical expo except that it’s all online – on one specific website. This expo will be open for 11 months from November 5 and visitors will be able to interact with exhibiting business owners and ask questions through an online forum.

Exhibiting here is ideal for micro and small businesses on a budget and is also an excellent option for those working from home. Not only are the fees to exhibit affordable, you also don’t have to worry about travel, accommodation and all those other expenses that add up quickly.

There are still plenty of booths available so if you have an Australian business, why not book a booth for yourself?

For everyone else – whether you’re in Australia or elsewhere – drop in to the 2007 Australian Business Expo after November 5th to check out all of the exciting business displays. I’ll have a booth there for Jacaranda Business Support Services so make sure you visit me and say hello.

October 12, 2007

What’s your price tag?

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Words of Wisdom & Inspiration — smallbusinessdiva @ 11:00 am
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Here’s another thoughtful quote I came across recently:

“Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it – in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.” John C. Maxwell, Author.

Think about it? What do you want to achieve? What will it cost you – time, money, effort, sacrifice. Are you prepared to pay that price? Some people are willing to pay more than others; some would rather pay cash than effort, while others would rather put in the endurance and faith.

This can often be part of the reason why we don’t achieve a particular goal. Maybe we would ‘like’ something but are not prepared to pay the price for it. Keep this in mind next time you’re working towards something. Think about its true cost and whether you will be able to meet those obligations long term.

October 9, 2007

Are you a Mum/Mom in Business?

The Tall Poppy is currently hosting a Mothers in Business Blogging Carnival. There’s a wide variety of posts presented by various bloggers around the world. So if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, make sure you go and check it out.

October 6, 2007

How important is it to spell correctly?

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Tips & Tricks — smallbusinessdiva @ 12:25 pm

I’m usually all for accurate spelling of words so I found this really interesting.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch sdtuy at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.

Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

October 4, 2007

Who wants to go to the Women in Business Expo?

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Recommendations,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 1:00 pm
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I’m so excited to be participating in the Pine Rivers Women in Business Expo later this month, on October 14th.

One thing that can be frustrating for small business operators is the exorbitant cost to exhibit at many (ie most!) business/trade expos. Let’s face it, while expos can be a fantastic way of meeting people, promoting our products and services, offering samples and getting our message out there, it’s very difficult for most small businesses to compete with the national corporations when the cost to display is $1,000 – $5,000!

This expo that my business is participating in, the Pine Rivers Women in Business Expo , is subsidised by Pine Rivers Zonta Club (an international service organisation working to advance the state of women) to make it affordable for women in business within the Pine Rivers Shire (Queensland).

What a great idea! I’d love to see more organisations get behind small businesses and offer something similar.

Do you know of anything similar in your local area? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

October 2, 2007

Dictation guidelines (a bit of fun)

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 1:44 pm
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I’ve recently written a couple of posts on transcription/dictation – how you can use it and tips on improving your audio quality. So when I came across these tips I just had to share them with you.

These tips are courtesy of eSOS (Executive Stress Office Support)’s September newsletter. Thanks to Lyn for letting me share these with you.

If you’re new to dictation, these (tongue-in-check) guidelines will help you become a master dictator!

Adherence to these guidelines will assure the highest quality transcribed letters in the shortest amount of time.

  • At the beginning of the dictation, take as deep a breath as you possibly can. Now, try to dictate the entire tape before you have to inhale again.

  • When dictating a particularly difficult word or phrase, please turn your head and speak directly into your armpit.

  • We charge per character, including periods. An effective way to cut your cost is to dictate your entire letter as one sentence.

  • It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

  • If you have to sneeze or cough suddenly, please remove your head from your armpit and sneeze or cough directly into the microphone.

  • If you must eat while you dictate, please stay away from foods such as marshmallows, bananas, and pudding. Apples, pretzels, and celery are much better choices. And please ensure you ALWAYS speak with your mouth full. In case you are not able to get any of the aforementioned foods, please ensure you have a stick of chewing gum or boiled lollies handy for each dictation.

  • Please do not stop dictating when you yawn, it throws off our rhythm.

  • If the client’s name is Alan Ratzlaffenhasenphepherzinsky, please have the courtesy to spell “Alan” – there are several possible spellings, you know. For the last name, simply state “the usual spelling”.

  • It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

  • Do not stop dictating in the event of minor background noise such as an office party, the janitor’s vacuum cleaner, a screaming infant, etc Again, it throws off our rhythm.

  • Be sure to place the emphasis on the CORrect syllable, especially if enGLISH is your SECond lanGUAGE.

  • Talk as fast as you can. Fair’s fair; after all we type as fast as we can.

  • It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

  • Please speak as quietly as you can … we want to be able to hear what’s going on around you.

  • If you need to pause for 5 or 10 minutes between words or phrases, pounding the receiver on the desk or repeatedly saying, “still dictating … still dictating … still dictating … still dictating …” reminds us that indeed, you are still dictating.

  • Just because you need to use the restroom is no reason to stop dictating. Time is money.

  • Do not dictate so loudly that you disrupt your fellow lawyers’ football game in the Barrister’s Lounge. In fact, you really should whisper all of your dictation since the information is confidential.

  • Similarly, if you are going to watch TV while dictating at home, please watch a war movie with lots of bombing, and be sure to have the volume high enough so everybody in your living room can hear above your talking.

  • If you need to correct yourself – sorry, correct an error, please do not rewind the tape – sorry, do not back up and record over the error – sorry, wait, the mistake – just continue with the sentence – wait – go back with the paragraph and fix the error – er, the mistake. Please go back and just delete that last guideline.

  • When dictating on your cell phone from your car, be sure to go through as many tunnels as possible. This will ensure confidentiality of the information.

  • You (y-o-u) do not need (n-e-e-d) to spell (s-p-e-l-l) obvious words (w-o-r-d-s) for us (u-s). It is our job (j-o-b) to know (k-n-o-w) how to (t-o) spell words that (t-h-a-t) we learned (l-e-a-r-n-e-d) in third (t-h-i-r-d) grade (g-r-a-d-e).

  • One last thing, it is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

Lyn’s newsletters are always full of great tips so go have a look and if you like it, subscribe!

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