Ending up in the wrong career can happen to anyone at any age. There is no guarantee that a job you hold is perfect for you, but there are clearly some jobs that are not a great fit for your skills or personality. If you suspect that you have landed yourself in one of these jobs, it’s best to get out while you can and pursue a new career path.

By pursuing a new career path, you can lead a happier life and have less stress overall. Don’t ignore the common signs that can indicate when you have landed a career that isn’t right for you. Instead, focus on aligning yourself to a new career path that suits both your interests and skills more. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest signs that you may have ended up in the wrong career. 

You Complain About Work Constantly 

Everybody has bad days at work and times when they just don’t want to come into the office. A red flag that you may actually have landed yourself in the wrong career is if you find yourself complaining all the time about your job. However, there’s an important distinction that you will have to make. 

You need to focus on whether or not the source of your complaints is something that can be fixed by switching jobs, or if a career switch is actually necessary. For some, switching careers may be the best and only course of action when you are constantly complaining about work. More often than not, complaints are brought on by excessive boredom at work.

If you find yourself in this boat, consider pursuing a more interesting and dynamic career path, such as full-stack development. Developing the skills needed to launch a new and fascinating career has never been easier with the rise in technology. Take advantage of opportunities around you and stop being the friend who is always complaining about their job after work.

Another Job Fascinates You

Did you know that it has been reported that people will switch jobs as many as five to seven times during their lives? Identifying another career that interests you is a great way of knowing whether or not you are currently working in the right field. In all honesty, there will always be times where you feel bored at work.

Constantly being bored and uninterested in what you are doing, however, is a major sign that something may be wrong with your career choice. Don’t settle for a job that doesn’t capture your interest and make you excited to come into work in the morning. When another job fascinates you, you are going to need to determine if it is actually a job that would suit your skillset.

To do this, reflect on what are your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Assuming that this new path that is capturing your interest is a great match for your talents, consider attending an online trade school to develop the skills needed to enter the field. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in another job, and it may actually be a huge sign that you’re in the wrong career. Before deciding to switch paths, however, you are going to need to determine whether or not your new path is even right for you as well.

You Feel Like You Aren’t Using Your Skills

One of the largest signs that you could be on the wrong career path is if you feel like your skills are underutilized. This can lead you to feel as if you wasted your educational years developing skills that are unimportant to the job you hold. Considering you spent so long developing your unique skillset, it’s best to land a job that actually forces you to use those skills well.

If the job you have now doesn’t acknowledge your talents and abilities, consider relearning how to write a two weeks’ notice letter. Find a job and employer that recognizes your unique abilities and what you bring to the table, rather than allowing yourself to just become another ordinary employee. 

Conclusion 

Landing in a job that isn’t right for you can be a distressing experience that leaves you wondering what you should do. These feelings can compound and make you wonder if you have been wasting your time in a career that doesn’t match your skills or interests. Rest assured that you can always switch careers and it has never been easier to do so thanks to technology today. Avoid accepting a job that isn’t right for you and pursue a new path until you find a career that lights a fire in your heart and makes you smile coming to work each day.


About the Author:

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.
https://twitter.com/arturmeyster
https://www.linkedin.com/in/meyster


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

The COVID-19 outbreak has completely changed the way we live, the way we do business, and the way our economy functions as a whole. Many states are still in lockdown. More people are being asked to work from home. Video conferencing and Zoom have replaced face-to-face interactions.

And with so many people being asked or choosing to spend the majority of their time at home, it’s been an especially difficult time for many small businesses.

But there’s one business model that’s booming in the midst of the coronavirus crisis—and that’s home delivery.

More consumers than ever are turning to delivery services to get the products they need (for example, downloads of the grocery delivery app Instacart increased a whopping 218 percent from February, before the pandemic really hit in the US, to March, when staying at home orders started to roll out across the United States). So, if you want to continue to drive sales, you should definitely consider pivoting your operations and moving towards a delivery model to better serve your customers.

But how, exactly, do you do that? Let’s take a deep dive into how business owners can run a successful delivery company during the COVID-19 crisis (and continue to drive sales and revenue as we navigate  the new normal):

Figure out how to pivot your business model to delivery

If delivery is uncharted territory for you and you’re offering delivery services for the first time, the first step to running a successful delivery company? Figure out how to pivot your current business model to delivery.

How to successfully pivot to delivery is going to depend on your business, your customers, and your bandwidth, but some questions you’ll want to keep in mind when figuring out your delivery strategy include:

  • How will we deliver to our customers? Are we planning to partner with a third-party delivery service or are we going to handle deliveries in house?
  • Are we going to be delivering our full product offerings or selected products? So, for example, if you’re a restaurant, are you going to be offering your full menu for food delivery or a limited menu of delivery-only items? Or, if you run a chain of grocery stores, are you going to list every item in your store for delivery or are you going to focus your delivery service on surplus inventory?
  • What additional support do we need to pivot to delivery services (for example, additional staff, delivery bikes or vehicles, packaging, etc.)
  • What kind of opportunity does delivery add to my business? For example, if the majority of your customers are within a five-mile radius of your business, there would be a lot of financial opportunity in delivery services—but if your customers are spread throughout the state, building an e-commerce website and shipping your products might make more sense.

Handle the logistics

Once you’ve figured out how to pivot towards delivery, it’s time to tackle the logistics of adding delivery services to your business.

While every business will have different logistical issues, some of the logistical tasks you’ll definitely want to tackle before launching delivery services include:

  • Figure out your costs. Your delivery business isn’t going to be sustainable if you’re spending more money to deliver your products to your customers than you’re making on each sale; you need positive cash flow to make it work. Look at all the costs associated with making deliveries (including gas and labor) to determine the minimum order amount and maximum delivery area that makes sense for your business. So, for example, you might deliver within a 5-mile radius for orders over $15—and any orders below $15 or outside of your delivery area would only be eligible for pick-up/take-out.
  • Adjust your inventory and supply chain management as necessary. When you move your business from an in-person to a delivery model, you might need to adjust your inventory and supply chain management to support your new business needs. So, for example, if you run a clothing boutique, you’re not going to need as many in-store display items (like hangers or racks)—but you are going to need more boxes and bags to package your deliveries—or if you’re a restaurant and you’re shifting towards a limited delivery menu, you’re going to need to adjust your ingredient ordering to support your new dishes.
  • Figure out staffing. Just like your supply needs may change when you pivot to delivery, so might your staffing needs. As you’re moving towards a delivery model, look at your current staffing and scheduling and determine how you’ll need to adjust to support your delivery services (for example, hiring delivery drivers or scheduling more staff to fill delivery orders during busy shifts).
  • Look into additional insurance needs. If you’re going to be handling deliveries in-house and transportation wasn’t a part of your prior business model, you may need to get additional insurance coverage to cover yourself and your business in the case of an accident or injury. Talk to your insurance company to see which option is the best fit for your business.

Develop a system for managing delivery orders

When it comes to deliveries, there are a lot of moving parts; you need to keep track of your orders, collect a payment, assign orders to delivery drivers, and make sure that each order is making it to your customer quickly, efficiently, and with each item they ordered and paid for. Without a clear system in place for managing your delivery orders, things can quickly devolve into chaos.

Which is why you need a system in place from the get-go. Before you launch your delivery services, you need a clear plan in place for:

  • How customers submit orders (for example, will you be taking phone orders or should customers place delivery orders for your website?)
  • How customers submit payment
  • How orders are fulfilled (for example, who is in charge of fulfilling orders as they come in? How long are you estimating it will take to fill orders?)
  • How to assign delivery times
  • How to check orders are accurate before they’re sent out for delivery
  • How to assign orders for delivery drivers
  • How to confirm orders are delivered and received by the customer

Once you’ve developed your delivery system, it’s important to make sure you implement any necessary technology (for example, secure payment processing or an order processing system) and train your staff. That way, when you launch your delivery service, everyone knows exactly how to take, fulfill, and deliver orders to your customers.

Spread the word about your delivery services

You can’t run a successful delivery company if no one knows you’re offering delivery services. So, one of the most important aspects of launching delivery? Getting the word out.

If you want your delivery services to take off, you need to let people know that you’re offering delivery. If you’ve been closed, email your customers to let them know you’re reopening as a delivery service. Share discount codes on your social media profiles to encourage your customers to order delivery. Look for creative ways to generate buzz around your new delivery services, like partnering with other small business owners to deliver local product packages or offering free delivery for frontline healthcare workers.

The point is, a clear marketing strategy is a key part of building any successful business—and if you want your delivery service to succeed, you need to spread the word to as many customers as possible.

Covid-19 Delivery Service

Image Credits

Implement safety measures for your customers and delivery staff

The well-being of your customers and delivery personnel needs to be the top priority when you’re delivering in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—and that means taking the necessary safety precautions to protect them.

Make sure your team is practicing social distancing and taking proper sanitation measures when fulfilling delivery orders. Provide face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves to your entire delivery staff. Offer contactless delivery options to minimize exposure between delivery personnel and customers.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can’t be too safe, so make sure you’re taking any safety precautions recommended from the CDC and World Health Organization and are doing everything necessary to protect yourself, your staff, and your customers.

Deliver your way to a more sustainable business

There’s no denying that small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. But by adding delivery services to your current business model, you can build a more sustainable business to carry you through these uncertain times—and emerge stronger on the other side.


This article by Deanna deBara was originally published at hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Whether your employees are considered exempt or non-exempt impacts several things from whether they track their time to overtime pay eligibility. But before you can accurately categorize your workforce, you need to understand what exempt and non-exempt means—and what’s required for each group of workers. ‍

The classifications come from the Fair Labor Standards Act. This far-reaching federal law was created in 1938 after the Great Depression. It establishes a whole host of employment regulations including setting the federal minimum wage, creating rules for overtime pay and establishing the 40-hour workweek. The FLSA also defines which employees are covered by the laws and which are not—non-exempt and exempt employees, respectively.

What are non-exempt and exempt employees? 

Non-exempt employees are workers that are covered under the FSLA. That means that you must pay these employees at least minimum wage for the number of hours they work. You must also provide overtime pay that is at least time-and-a-half for hours they worked beyond the 40-hour workweek. Non-exempt employees are almost always hourly. ‍

In contrast, salaried employees are usually considered exempt employees. According to the Department of Labor, this means that they’re exempt from the FSLA requirements regarding overtime pay and minimum wage. ‍

In theory, you should compensate your salaried employees enough that issues of 40 hour work weeks and overtime pay become moot—they’re required to fulfill their job duties, and their salary makes it worthwhile.

Can hourly employees be exempt? 

This is an important question with a bit of a complicated answer. While the FSLA regulates the treatment of most hourly workers in the U.S., there are some industries and jobs that are not included. In these cases, businesses can pay employees an hourly wage, but the employees aren’t protected by the FSLA. As such, they’re not required to receive overtime pay or minimum wage. ‍

The exempt workers include some parts of food service such as wait staff, truck driving, movie theater and regular theater employees. In addition, jobs within the agriculture industry and outside sales positions are also often exempt, though they may be paid by the hour.

Do the requirements for non-exempt employees vary by state?

While the FSLA regulates employers across the country, individual states may have their own labor laws that come into play with non-exempt employees. The most prevalent is the minimum wage. While federal law sets a base for the minimum wage, most states enact their own and they vary across the country. For example, the minimum wage in Washington state is $13.50 per hour while the minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 an hour. ‍

Also while the federal law doesn’t regulate breaks or time for meals, states may have their own rules for how long breaks should be and whether they’re paid. As an employer, you’re required to abide by both federal and state labor laws. So be sure to educate yourself on any regulations that are specific to your state.

Can you pay an employee with exempt status an hourly rate?

In some cases, it might make sense to pay an exempt employee on an hourly basis. Perhaps the employee wants to take on an ad-hoc project that’s outside of her regular job duties or reduce the amount of time she works to less than full-time. However, in order to be exempt from the Federal Labor Standards Act, a salaried employee first must meet the duties test, which determines which types of jobs are eligible for exemption. ‍

Employers are then required to pay the worker on a salary basis. If a new work arrangement means that an hourly rate is more appropriate for an employee, then you’ll need to reclassify that person as a non-exempt worker. The employee is then eligible for overtime pay and must earn at least minimum wage.

Time tracking essentials for non-exempt employees 

In the construction, industrial and restaurant industries, non-exempt workers are a big component of the workforce. As an employer, staying compliant with FSLA regulations as well as the laws in the states you operate is critical. Run afoul of federal and state laws, and you could face penalties and lawsuits from your employees. ‍

Here are three ways you can properly track hours worked for your non-exempt employees and avoid compliance problems:

1. Document your employees work hours in real-time

It’s easy for hourly employees to fall into the habit of recording all their work hours at the end of a pay period. However, this practice leads to errors within timecards and estimates about how much people worked and when. While it’s most problematic with paper time cards, employees also estimate and report time in bulk when using time tracking software that requires manual entries.‍

People platforms such as Hourly, however, make it easy for employees to clock in via a mobile app in real-time. Managers or human resources staff can even institute location-based check-ins, which allow employees to clock in only if they’re at the designated work site. By eliminating the manual aspect of time tracking, you can ensure you’re tracking employee work in real-time, and then documenting their work hours for compliance, overtime, sick leave, paid time off and more.

2. Properly track overtime hours and overtime pay

When your non-exempt employees work more than 40 hours, they’re immediately eligible for overtime pay. (In some states, overtime kicks after an eight-hour workday instead of a 40-hour workweek). Keeping meticulous track of the time employees work is not only smart business, but it also ensures you remain FSLA compliant. Employers who don’t pay overtime may be forced to pay employees back pay, associated damages, and attorney’s fees. ‍

A time tracking solution like Hourly makes it easy to see when employees are nearing overtime. You can set real-time alerts that denote when an employee is approaching the end of their regular hours and get an overview of total overtime worked by your team. With that information, managers can make smart decisions about whether overtime is warranted or finds ways to avoid overtime expenses, such as bringing on different workers.

3. Ensure employees are taking breaks—and documenting them

FSLA regulations require that if an employer provides their non-exempt employees with a short break during the work (usually 20 minutes or less), that the break is paid. However, employers don’t need to pay employees for a dedicated meal-time, which is typically at least 30 minutes, as long the employees are allowed to do what they want during this free time. Different states also have varying takes on paid and unpaid breaks and lunches.‍

An automated time tracking app reminds your employees to take their breaks and lunches and provides documentation that they did. What’s more, a solution like Hourly can help ensure employees aren’t taking more than their allotted time—something called time card theft—and provide evidence if that occurs.

To exempt or not exempt … 

The nature of your business and the types of jobs you provide will answer the question of whether your employees are nonexempt or exempt. Knowing the differences between the two, and why it’s important to follow the rules for both will keep your company in compliance and out of trouble. ‍

Navigating the nonexempt worker landscape can be complex. But a solution like Hourly is your secret weapon. Take advantage of our time tracking software to automate and simplify your timekeeping for employees and managers alike.


This article by Kelly Kearsley was originally published at Hourly.io

 

Best Free Job Posting Sites in 2020

It’s no secret that hiring quality employees isn’t easy for employers. Also, many prospective employees have a hard time finding the right opportunity for their skill set, which leads to a difficult process for both parties. Websites like Careerbuilder and Mightyrecruiter can help, unfortunately, they are expensive, with premium plans veering close to $1000 a month, which is beyond the budget for many smaller firms. Luckily, there’s a wealth of free job posting sites where small business owners can find top-notch candidates, and where job seekers can browse a list of open jobs in their professional fields, without spending an arm and a leg.

Some websites like LinkedIn, also double as places to network with potential candidates and share thoughts via quality posts. On the other hand, platforms like Upwork cater to small business owners that need workers on a per-project or freelance basis. This guide will cover a number of the best free job posting sites in detail and cover their strengths and weaknesses.

Find Jobs Online

Indeed is currently the world’s largest job board that has over 250 million job seekers. It allows small business owners to post jobs for free and to use tools like a resume database system. This resume database system enables employers to search for and message job applicants. Also, this tool can be used to ask certain candidates to apply for a specific job opportunity.

Besides this tool, Indeed offers employers many unique features like job screening questions, interview scheduling tools, application management, and an ATS or Applicant Tracking System. One of Indeed’s main advantages is that it offers job screening questionnaires, which test a candidate’s on the job abilities prior to scheduling an interview. For example, employers can implement real-life scenarios that are relevant to the job, like sales prospecting situations for sales jobs. This main feature allows the small business owner to cut through the vast candidate pool to find the best person for the job.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective, customizable, and easy to use. Employers and recruiters can post unlimited jobs for free, which can save money and get them exposure to many qualified candidates. One quality of Indeed is that it constantly updates users of fresh developments: employers can set notifications so that they will be notified when a candidate submits an application or sends them a message, while prospective employees can set up job alert emails that will notify them when a new job is posted in one of their categories.
  • Many candidates look for and apply to job openings via smartphones. Indeed has made their site mobile friendly to account for this and also gives employers mobile notifications. This feature allows both parties to stay connected and work efficiently on the go.

Cons:

  • Negative reviews regarding receiving too many messages from unqualified candidates. This can make it harder for an employer to focus on the right candidates and will cause the hiring manager to waste time sorting through resumes.

Some ways that employers can prevent this is by stating to only apply if the candidate has certain licenses or years of experience. Using these statements will cut down on the number of irrelevant resumes. Also, Indeed also lets employers integrate their applicant tracking system or ATS, which filters resumes by skills match and keywords. So, employers can list certain requirements or licenses that one might need to become hired. Resumes that don’t have these won’t move on to the next level.

Pricing:

  • Indeed’s main functions are free, but it does offer job ads called sponsored posts. These job posts rank at the top of the website and are similar to Google Search Ads. Like Google search ads, sponsored posts appear at the top for specific keyword searches and follow the same performance-based pay per click (PPC), model. Sponsored jobs start at $5 per day and can be worth the investment as they’re more than 5 times as likely to be clicked on than standard posts.
  • Offers employers another subscription-based premium option called Hiring Campaign, and its price varies on customer needs.  Hiring Campaign has more customizable features which include consultations on sponsored jobs, advertising budgets, and the best ways to use a company’s ATS.

Glassdoor Job Search

Glassdoor is another main website for posting jobs and it also allows employees to review companies. For example, both current and former employees can find their company on Glassdoor and give it 5-star ratings in categories like pay, work-life balance, growth, and CEO approval. They can leave detailed reviews regarding the pros and cons of working there along with interview tips for prospective candidates. Employers are realizing that Glassdoor reviews can help encourage or discourage a candidate from taking a job. Therefore, many small business owners have realized the importance of maintaining positive Glassdoor reviews by creating good corporate cultures, having fair pay, and growth opportunities.

Keep in mind that Glassdoor is technically a paid site that lets employers post jobs for free during a 30 day period. Once the free trial is done, it could cost between $199 to $699 per month depending on the number of job postings (maximum is 10 per employer).

Features

Glassdoor has many features like job posting, advertisement, and recruiting platforms. It also helps employers brand themselves online to obtain the best employees. The job posting product helps employers write quality, compelling job descriptions that will attract top talent and weed out unqualified candidates. This option also helps employers create job descriptions that will be optimized for keywords that candidates use when applying for jobs.

Also, Glassdoor also helps small business owners reach more candidates through paid advertising. Similar to Indeed, Glassdoor lets employers pay more for job posts that will rank higher on this website. It functions similarly to a PPC program and these prices aren’t available on the website. Employers will have to contact sales to obtain a quote for their unique advertising needs.

One unique advertising feature that Glassdoor has is placing job listings in targeted emails. It recognizes the power of email marketing and sends tailored emails with job postings to various candidates. Employers can pay extra to use this service, which will forward their information to candidates that use email alerts.

Pros:

  • More targeted candidates. Glassdoor is free for candidates to use and leave reviews for employers. Therefore, these candidates take more time to search for an opportunity that fits their salary, schedule, and growth requirements. This is much different from standard sites that have people send resumes to companies without understanding what the business does. It allows candidates to be more selective and not send out excessive applications.
  • Glassdoor is a top job board in terms of connecting employers with candidates and facilitating lasting careers. In fact, per the per company, job seekers on this site are more than twice as likely to be hired than candidates from other sites. Also, Glassdoor job seekers have a 30% higher retention rate as they can learn more about a company’s offerings in detail prior to accepting the job.

Cons:

  • Expensive pricing. Glassdoor prides itself on quality traffic and informed candidates. Therefore, it charges a premium for employers to reach these candidates. These costs could seem expensive, but they would be worth it in the long run if the small business owner was able to attract and retain a quality employee who adds value to the business.

Jobspider

This site was created after its owner, Chris McGarry, was fed up with fake Craigslist job inquiries and other shady dealings. Craigslist has a bad reputation of being a spammy website, with robots, fake inquires and dishonest dealings.

Fortunately, JobSpider bypasses most of this by simply allowing people to post resumes for free on a big database. Employers can filter resumes by certain titles and keywords, which makes it easier for them to find quality candidates. Also, this site is free for both employers and candidates to use. The only charge would be for bulk job importing for employers, with this nominal fee varying per industry, employer, and job type.

Features

One major advantage that this website has is the many integrations it has with larger sites. For example, resumes posted on this site can flow to larger job boards like Simply Hired and others. Also, most ATS systems can integrate with this site, which allows employers to filter resumes based on their custom standards. This site has a section that educates viewers on scams and how to prevent them. The owner is very passionate about these tips and includes popular ones like:

  • Avoiding jobs or business opportunities that require upfront fees
  • Refraining from calling 900 numbers that charge high fees
  • Being wary of poor English and bad grammar in job listings or emails
  • Not falling for common work from home scams like envelope stuffing, sewing or some medical billing opportunities

These resources will help prevent scams and act as a guide for those that have been scammed. While this site isn’t as technically detailed as other large job posting sites, it does have common services like email alerts. Prospective employees can select from a dropdown on a job posting if they’d like similar jobs to be sent to their inboxes.

Pros:

  • Resumes are directly entered by job candidates. They’re also updated frequently, which ensures freshness. This is much better compared to other job sites that just copy and paste the same resumes from other job sites.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have the additional services that other sites have, including messenger systems. Larger job boards have built-in messaging systems that make it easy for instant communication. Job Spider also lacks comprehensive analytics dashboards that help employers learn about traffic, candidate details, and more. Overall, it can be a good site to use to start the hiring process, but it would be prudent to complement it with other options like niche specific websites or ones that have a larger audience.

AngelList Recruitment

Startups and the tech industry are greatly impacting business, especially the recruiting industry. This is the industry in which AngelList places its focus: oodles of jobs on this site emphasize roles that range from web development, app design, graphic design, and SaaS (Software as a Service) Sales. Luckily, AngelList offers free job posting and hiring. This has made it very popular among influential tech companies and some of its users include Uber, Yelp, Hinge, and Patreon. Also, this site is pretty simple to use and it has a three-step process:

  1. Create a start-up profile. This area allows businesses to create a page about themselves and they can go into detail regarding their products, services, and unique features. It could be wise to use this page to discuss the company’s history and if it’s backed by venture capital funding.
  2. Post Jobs. This stage would have the employer write job descriptions that sell candidates on why they should work with that particular business. The job descriptions should be optimized for popular keyword phrases and include day to day responsibilities, projected pay along with important qualifications.
  3. Match with candidates. Employers can use this final step to match with qualified, prospective candidates. No more digging through inboxes nor sorting through hundreds of resumes. This stage also allows both parties to be introduced to one another if there’s mutual interest.

Features

AngelList as the name implies, also allows companies to connect with Angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest in startup companies for high returns. These investors usually are accredited investors, which means they have a liquid net worth of at least $1,000,000. This feature can be helpful for younger companies that are not only looking for quality talent but also need funding.

Angel investors, employees, and employers can connect with each other using a system called connects. Once the other party has accepted a connect, they can message each other. Also, it’s possible to integrate other platforms like Twitter and Linked in to find connections. Anyone can use these social media platforms to invite potential connections onto the platform and build relationships. These features allow employers to spend less time sorting through resumes and to build real connections with candidates.

AngelList also has very clear terms and conditions which prohibit shady business “opportunities” like MLMs and pyramid schemes. Since it’s a smaller, niche job board, it’s monitored often for dishonest opportunities and it encourages employers to post pay ranges. These factors will make it easier for an employee to choose a company that fits their compensation requirements. Many companies like to keep compensation a secret for most of the interview process, which can waste both the candidate’s and employer’s time.

Pros:

  • Free and easy to use. AngelList is free for both employers and candidates to use, which is nice compared to other “freemium” services. For example, many platforms offer free services, but it’s almost imperative to pay something to get the most out of it. Also, many companies report that this platform is easy to use and simple to connect with angel investors along with job seekers.

Cons:

  • Lacks the exposure and advertising tools. While this website is free to use, it lacks the exposure that larger companies have, and the list of jobs on offer is not quite as varied and extensive as many competitors, which may be a deal-breaker for many prospective employees. Some companies prefer to cast a wide net, and this site’s small user base and lack of advanced marketing strategies could be a deal-breaker.

ZipRecruiter

ZipRecruiter is similar to Glassdoor as it’s a well-known job website that lets users try the service before they buy. It has grown its database to include millions of resumes from job seekers along with many job postings in various industries. However, many job seekers have noted that ZipRecruiter mainly caters toward entry-level roles. Despite this, there are some managerial and high paying roles on this platform, but they’re just not as frequently seen.

Features

Like other sites, ZipRecruiter also integrates with other job boards like Resume.com and Salary.com and acts as a feeder to them. This simply means that ZipRecruiter resumes and job postings can flow to these sites. In fact, this site claims it sends resumes to over 100+ job boards, which gives the employer a wide pool of applicants. In addition, employers can send their ZipRecruiter job to designated Facebook and Twitter accounts, which provides even more exposure.

Also, ZipRecruiter has state of the art technology like employee screener questions and a mobile-friendly interface. Both employers and candidates can interface with each other via mobile, desktop and can receive notifications through either platform. Similar to Indeed, ZipRecruiter’s screener questions are meant to cut down on unrelated resumes.

Pricing: 

This platform has three main choices which are Standard, Premium, and Pro. The standard option includes the features discussed above along with reusable job slots and starts at $249/mo. Premium plans have all the features of a Standard plan and go further by offering employers job placement in email blasts. Pro plans are the most comprehensive plan and let employers link their external ATS to this site and offer Traffic Boost, which places job postings at the top of relevant searches. Unfortunately, prices for the Premium and Standard plans aren’t available to the public, meaning that a hiring manager must set an appointment with sales to obtain a custom quote.

Pros:

  • Known for its great customer service and its many features like interview screening. These let hiring managers find answers to their questions quickly and find relevant candidates easier. Customer service is available via phone, email, or chat and has received excellent reviews as can be seen on TrustPilot.

Cons:

  • Negative press related to job quality posting and billing during free trials. As mentioned earlier, this site doesn’t usually have managerial nor higher-level opportunities which can frustrate job seekers. Employers looking for more tenured employees might be better off using a site like Glassdoor on Indeed that includes more of these positions.
  • Users have mentioned they’ve been billed during a 30-day free trial and didn’t receive notifications prior to the renewal date. These insufficient notifications can make it easy for users to forget they’re being billed, resulting in them paying for a service they might not be using.

Flexjobs Part-Time and Remote Workers

FlexJobs is a unique niche job website catering to part-time and remote workers. In fact, remote work is becoming more popular with 40% of all companies in the world offering candidates online jobs that can be performed remotely without heading into the office. This once privileged work style is becoming more common, and FlexJobs has taken advantage of this trend. Also, these jobs are carefully vetted by FlexJobs, which means “opportunities” like MLMs, envelope stuffing schemes, and the like are excluded. It also has jobs in many categories like full-time work, entry-level, managerial level, and even on a freelance basis.

Features

FlexJobs lets employers send an invitation request, allowing them to post unlimited jobs for free. This usually takes several weeks and is not meant for those that need to fill a role immediately. Employers can pay an additional $119 or $179 for premium job placement, which places their listing towards the top of the search engine for related terms. There are also resources that help employers like guides on remote employee management, tutorials, and even discounts to remote working resources like software or co-working spaces.

FlexJobs offers a Pro plan that has additional features like email marketing placement, monthly data reporting, and custom account support for $399/mo. It also includes access to branding and consulting services, which help employers effectively sell themselves to prospective candidates. Eventually, this premium service lets them cut through the noise to find the right fit for their organization.

Pros:

  • User-friendly and has legit job postings. FlexJobs has a dedicated team that filters opportunities which greatly eliminates scams and spam. Also, reviewers have commented that this site helped them find quality remote jobs with full benefits and that the nominal subscription per $14.95 month or $49.95 per year is affordable. For this flat rate, employers are granted unlimited job postings unlike most other websites of its kind. This price scheme is very cost-effective compared to the costs of premium packages for employers. Paying a small fee might seem wasteful in the short run, but it can pay dividends in the long run if it results in a job seeker finding a quality, long term opportunity.

Cons:

  • Slow or even non-existent service when requesting assistance via online chat. The customer service should be better as it charges job seekers to use the job board. It has also received negative feedback for including many opportunities that can be seen on free job boards like Simply Hired, leading some to believe that the subscription fee is a waste.

Job Site Aggregator

Simply Hired is a job site aggregator, meaning it sends open positions to over 100 different career sites, including Indeed. It allows employers to post jobs for free, see recommended candidates, and receive job applications. While this site allows employers to post jobs for free, it also has paid sponsored job listings. Similar to other sites, this places each job posting higher in the search results. The prices aren’t available online and the employer must contact sales to get a tailored quote for their situation.

Features

Besides sending job postings to hundreds of job boards, Simply Hired has many great tools like their salary estimator. The salary tool lets candidates compare salaries among industries, locations, and job titles.

Related to this, Simply Hired also has guides on a variety of positions like nursing, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and more. These pages show the average salary for each position along with compensation ranges for related titles. Also, it shows relevant listings to these titles below the salary ranges. It has other simple features like a mobile app and filters for job search. Unfortunately, it lacks more comprehensive features like screening questions, email marketing, and employee vetting services.

Pros:

  • Free and easy to use. Other employers have enjoyed the salary tool and that this site is frequently updated. The salary tool gives both employers and employees an accurate compensation range, which prevents either party from being shortchanged.

Cons:

  • Lack of quality positions. Unlike other programs like Toptal or JobSpider, this site doesn’t put as much effort into stopping scams. Unfortunately, this has led to many scammers posting fake jobs and using other spammy tactics, hurting both employees and employers.
  • Has randomly shut down posts for no reason. One specific review mentioned that Simply Hired has shut down postings that advertise freelance positions, despite giving employers a freelance option on the job post.

Upwork Freelance Jobs

Upwork is the end result of the merger between former freelance sites oDesk and Elance. Both these freelance sites joined forced to create Upwork, which is one if not the largest platforms for freelance work. It differs from traditional job search engines as most employers just need assistance with one-off projects and usually just want to hire contractors. This can be helpful for small business owners that need temporary help and don’t want to pay expensive employee benefits. However, they must be aware of the various pros and cons of using contractors compared to standard employees.

Features

For being a site geared towards contractors, Upwork has many great features for employers like free job postings, defined parameters, contract systems, and time tracking programs. It allows small business owners to pay contractors through the dashboard, message freelancers, and review proposals. Generally, small business owners would post the task they need assistance with (i.e copywriting), which results in them receiving proposals from freelancers. While it’s free to post jobs; there are additional fees for features like unlimited invites to freelancers, account management, and talent sourcing.

These proposals are similar to cover letters as the contractors are selling their services to the employer. The employer can view each contractor’s profile, reviews, certifications, qualifications, and past work. This allows them to find quality freelancers with a good track record and that can communicate well.

Contractors post an hourly rate on their profile, but they have the option to either work hourly or per project. Employers have access to a work diary that tracks an hourly contractor’s time spent on a project. This way, contractors can’t rip off small business owners by stretching out projects or claiming more hours than they actually worked.

Upwork also makes it easy to communicate with freelancers via instant messaging and its mobile app. On top of that, it has a secure online database that allows employers and contractors to share work safely. This makes it easier for contractors to submit work and make any corrections.

Pros:

  • Free to post jobs, robust tools like messaging, filters, and time tracking apps.
  • Allows employers to create milestones, which break up larger projects into smaller chunks for freelancers. Employers also approve each milestone and can release the funds to the freelancer once each specific task is complete.

Cons:

  • Can suspend quality freelancers without notice. Unfortunately, it has a track record of suspending profiles for no quality reason.
  • Upwork can have expensive fees for both the employer and the contractor. It charges $49.99 for its Plus account to $499 per month for its Business Account, which can seem excessive for the benefits they provide. Upwork also takes 20% of the first $500 of a freelancer’s earnings per client. While these fees decrease to 5% for recurring client work, many freelancers believe they’re excessive and are starting to avoid the platform entirely.

Freelance Jobs

Like Upwork, Toptal emphasizes outsourcing work to contract or freelance workers. It differs as it primarily focuses on more high-end freelance work like web development, web design, financial projects, and more. Due to this, most of the opportunities on Toptal are higher-paying, meaning there won’t be any low paying gigs that would be seen on Upwork.

For example, pricing starts at $60 per hour for developers and ranges up to $200 per hour for financial consultants. Some users also choose to hire contractors on a part-time weekly basis, which starts at $1,000 per week.

Features

Toptal has a unique deposit system that gives the employer security by being able to try out a few providers for a project. It requires a deposit of $500, which will be used towards a freelancer’s invoice and website fees, should the small business owner decide to move forward. If not, Toptal will refund the $500 deposit. The first step hiring managers should take is to schedule a free call, to assess their needs and be matched with potential candidates.

From there, Toptal matches employers with candidates and it states that this process takes less than 24 hours with 98% of new engagements passing the no-risk trial period. It also proudly claims that it has a rigorous vetting process with only the top 3% of freelancers making the cut. Part of this process involves testing each freelancer’s English abilities, as many freelance sites like Fiverr are filled with workers from developing countries like India that can barely understand English. This step makes Toptal a great choice for those looking for top-notch freelancers, as language barriers can make tasks harder than they should be.

Pros:

  • It makes the hiring process more efficient.
  • Contractors with impressive qualifications like PhDs along with decades of experience. 
  • Customer service is reliable and prompt.
  • One of Toptal’s highest-rated features is the initial consultation, which customizes each employer’s hiring plan.

Cons:

  • High prices that these contractors charge. Some users believe that these fees are overpriced, but need to realize that the high fees are worth it, provided the contractor adds value to the business. Most contractors on this site are high quality, but some have made occasional mistakes like creating buggy websites.

Hubstaff Talent

Hubstaff Talent gives employers the opportunity to post a remote job to their jobs board, but the site is also home to thousands of employee profiles that give an employer the chance to find the candidate they want.

Rather than posting an ad and wait for candidates to apply, an employer can search for the perfect candidate and discuss the job directly – all for free. For companies that go the traditional route and post a job on the site, Hubstaff Talent will share the listing on their social media channel as well.

Features

Posting a job and connecting with possible employees is free, but the site charges for features that facilitate remote work like time tracking, account activity levels, automatic payroll, and team analytics. All of the features offered are meant to help employers manage a remote team, track activity, and make sure employees are accountable for work assigned.

Pros:

  • You can select any platform to conduct work. While Hubstaff offers a remote platform to conduct work, an employer doesn’t have to use it. The job listings remain free as does the search for talented employees. The way an employer and employee decide to work isn’t dictated by the platform.
  • Browse by skill. The platform gives employers the ability to search for talented people with skills like web development, marketing, or copywriting. The search filters provide an easier way to find the talent you’re looking for.

Cons:

  • A lot of new talent. A lot of the jobs that are posted on the site have lower pay, which tends to attract new professionals or those just starting out. This could be ideal for a company looking to work with young, fresh talent, but it’s not ideal for a company looking for a seasoned veteran. Consider the type of tasks required and keep in mind that less-experienced workers often require more training and assistance.
  • Location is hard for employees to find. The site doesn’t tag job posts by location, so if a freelancer or remote worker is looking for a job close to home it’s hard to find that information. For companies posting an ad, be sure to include the company’s location in the listing.

 

Search for jobs remotely

Search Remotely is a well-known site for remote job listings. Workers who use this site can “skip the office and work from anywhere, anytime.” While the site isn’t free to post a job, the fee is manageable at $39. The site is one of the leading online platforms for remote jobs with more than 250,000 remote workers using the platform to find work.

The site is used by some big-name companies like Google, Oracle, Shopify, and Zapier, who all encourage remote work. For $39, a company can post one job ad for 30 days. The ad includes the company logo and Search Remotely will share the job on its social media channels. All applicants reply to the ad via email. A company can pay more for their job to be featured on the website and the company can even receive copywriting help to make sure the ad is tailored to find the best candidates possible.

Features

Search Remotely can connect workers with a coworking space or even a co-living space. The site is meant to support remote workers in ways that go beyond just work and facilitate the lifestyle behind working remotely.

There are co-office spaces available in Singapore, London, Tokyo, Bali, and more, as are co-living spaces. The co-living spaces give freelancers a chance to travel, see the world, and work at the same time.

The site also offers online classes for people looking to hone their skills and find a remote job to enable a location-independent life.

Pros:

  • A recognized site. Search Remotely has the name recognition needed to receive many qualified applicants. Since the site is more than a job board, remote workers use it as an all-in-one site to support their remote lifestyle.
  • Job listing emailed to qualified applicants. Search Remotely sends your job listing to about 50,000 qualified candidates for you, so you don’t have to spend time searching for candidates or sifting through profiles. The applicants will come to you.

Cons:

  • The price. It’s not free to post an ad, but as mentioned, it’s a small fee that comes with big benefits. There are job sites that charge hundreds of dollars to post the ad, so in reality, a one-time fee of $39 is a small price to pay to reach 250k remote workers.
  • No online workplace. Search Remotely doesn’t offer a platform to manage projects, that’s all done off-site. The site is really geared more towards remote workers, making it an ideal place to find talented people but not the place to set up assignments, workflow, or payment.

LinkedIn Jobs

LinkedIn has grown from a resume-placeholder for professionals to a full-scale social media and employment platform. LinkedIn has a specific tool to help find remote workers or freelancers called LinkedIn Profinder.

It’s free for companies to post an ad, browse through resumes, and receive five free bids from interested freelancers. The bids will include a message, price quote, and the ability to see the freelancer’s entire profile.

Features

LinkedIn Profinder doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Its purpose is to help a company find and connect with a freelancer, that’s it. There aren’t any project management features within LinkedIn Profinder to use and payment isn’t facilitated through the platform. It’s simply a meet-and-greet situation.

LinkedIn Profinder has freelancers that fit many categories, with their most popular categories being: Accounting, writing, marketing, and development.

Pros:

  • Easy to use. A company can post a job listing within seconds. The form to fill out is simple and only asks for a few basic pieces of information.
  • A trusted platform. LinkedIn is a recognizable, trusted name, which means freelancers take the job requests seriously.
  • Responses sent right to your email. When a bid comes in, it’s sent to your inbox. You can evaluate it, review the person’s profile, and reach out within the LinkedIn platform or through email.

Cons:

  • Only 5 responses. A job listing via LinkedIn Profinder will only result in five responses, no more. For some, the limited responses are ideal because it limits the number of resumes and messages to sift through. In addition, freelancers know that the job will close once five bids are sent so if they’re interested they act fast. For some, five responses could be disappointing, especially if they aren’t the right fit or don’t have the requested experience.
  • Freelancers limited to geographic areas. A job listing is only shown to freelancers in your immediate area. The idea is to help companies find freelancers or remote workers who can join a monthly meeting or catch up over coffee once in a while. Of course, this limits the number of freelancers significantly, so if you want to cast a wider net this might not be the best job site for you.

Remote Freelancers

Guru is a great place to find remote freelancers with a variety of talents. Like other freelance platforms, the system gives an employer the chance to post a job, hire a freelancer, finish work on the platform, and pay freelancers all from one location.

The site appeals to high-quality freelancers who want to work on their own terms, so companies have a selection of candidates for various jobs.

Posting an ad is free, but to use the additional features, the platform has several different plans to choose from.

Features

This freelancer platform has several features that mimic others in the industry like WorkRooms, time tracking, status reports, and the ability to pay freelancers through the platform.

The platform can support the work of teams too, so if several freelancers are working on a project together management is smooth.

Guru offers something called SafePay, which means companies only pay for work that they’re 100% satisfied with.

Pros:

  • Freelancers are vetted. Guru verifies all freelancers and provides statistics on their performance with previous employers. With this kind of information, a company can select the best candidate for the job.
  • Security. The platform gives employers the chance to pay freelancers through its site and has taken steps to enhance security measures to provide peace of mind. The platform offers several payment methods and provides SafePay payment protection.

Cons:

  • Support. Guru isn’t known for its customer support. If an employer or an employee has a question that pertains to the platform, support is supposed to be available 24/7 no matter where you’re located, but that’s not always the case.
  • Confusion pricing structure. Guru has a fairly complex pricing structure for freelancers, which tends to keep some people away. There are three pricing plans and additional fees that are taken out for every payment received from an employer. A company should be aware of this structure too, to know exactly how much the freelancer receives and how much Guru takes as a cut.

 

IT Jobs and Development

Freelancermap is the ideal spot to advertise IT jobs. The site specializes in development, IT infrastructure, and consulting. A company can create and post a job listing for free and find “the most talented freelancers and consultants worldwide.”

The site says 35,000 companies have trusted Freelancermap to find an expert.

Features

One of the best features Freelancermap offers is its freelancer match. Once your job is posted, the system will provide a list of the best candidates to browse through. In addition, the job posting is sent to specific candidates to encourage them to apply.

An employer can look through the database of professionals on the site, all of whom have a personal profile as well. This gives a company a more proactive approach to find a candidate that matches the skills and personality required.

The site doesn’t provide any project management services as others do, so this is more of a site to source talent only.

Pros:

  • Freelancers from various countries. Freelancermap has many, many freelancers from various parts of the world. For companies looking for someone with a specific skill and language, it provides a thorough list of choices.
  • Focused purpose. Unlike other freelance sites that have freelancers that fit within dozens of categories, Freelancermap focuses on the IT industry. With this kind of narrowed purpose, companies feel as though they can find a real expert without weeding through unqualified applicants.
  • No commission fees. The site advertises no commission fees, which is rare in this industry.

Cons:

  • A lot of jobs posted. At any one point, there could be hundreds of jobs posted. While freelancers can filter through some of the jobs, there’s a lot of competition on the site. With so many jobs available, a company may need to take an active approach in finding candidates and encouraging them to apply.
  • Limited information on the website. Freelancermap only provides basic information on its website, so it’s hard to learn about specific details like pricing, for example, without creating a full profile or posting a job.
  • Limited reviews online. Most websites like this have a host of reviews from users, but there are very few about Freelancermap.com. This could suggest the platform is fairly new.

IT Developers Talent

Stack Overflow is another site designed specifically for IT needs, more specifically for developers. The site lists hundreds of jobs for developers both in-office jobs and remote jobs. To find remote jobs, workers simply add that filter to the search.

Companies create a profile and post jobs to the site. A lot of big-name companies use this site to source developers.

Stack Overflow is designed to support IT teams within a company, so its purpose goes beyond a job board. For companies looking to find talented people and a platform to support IT employees, this could be a great choice.

Features

The job board has several features that professionals can use to filter jobs and find the right fit. Beyond that, features are aimed at larger companies looking for a shared space for IT teams to work, exchange advice, and collaborate.

The jobs listed on the site aren’t just listed on Stack Overflow either, they’re curated into other listings on other sites.

Pros:

  • A niche audience. A company looking to hire developers won’t be disappointed with the audience here. The job listed is sure to be seen by professionals that can handle anything from a small coding problem to a full-time need as a data security specialist.
  • Large reach. Stack Overflow says it has the ability to reach millions of job seekers and gets a lot of traffic to its site, with 50+ million visitors a month. With that kind of reach and traffic, a job is sure to be noticed.

Cons:

  • Cost. There is a cost to post a job on this site, but the pricing information isn’t readily available. To learn more, a company must reach out to Stack Overflow.
  • The job board looks a bit dated. In terms of appearance, the job board looks a bit outdated. While its functionality works perfectly fine, it doesn’t command attention in a way that makes you believe they’re connected to millions of remote workers.

Bottom line

  • Small business owners understand that hiring and retaining top-quality workers isn’t easy. On the flip side, it’s not easy for a prospective employee to find a quality position. Fortunately, there are some top-notch websites that allow employers to post job opportunities for free.
  • These sites also have other benefits like being able to share articles and message prospective candidates.
  • Also, some sites like AngelList are geared toward tech start-ups, while others are meant for freelance workers.
  • Prior to posting on any site, it’s important to know the most popular options like the ones selected here. This will help the small business owner focus on using the right platform for his or her business.

This article was originally published at chamberofcommerce.org

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Part of building a successful company is creating a peaceful, collaborative, and supportive work environment for your team. But no matter how great your work environment (or your team members), at some point, conflict in the workplace is inevitable.

You can’t avoid workplace conflict entirely. But it’s how you handle that conflict—both as a leader and as an organization—that matters. With the right conflict management strategies, you can leverage conflict as a springboard for positive change and an opportunity to better understand your employees. But without those strategies, workplace conflict can quickly get out of hand, creating a toxic work environment—and causing some of your top talent to walk out the door.

So how, exactly, do you deal with conflict in the workplace? What conflict management strategies can you use to not only work through the conflict, but inspire a deeper sense of understanding and empathy within your team? And how can you resolve conflict in a way that supports employee retention—and keeps top talent happy and committed to your organization?

Why conflict management matters

First things first—before we jump into effective conflict management, let’s quickly cover why managing workplace conflict is so important in the first place.

According to the 2008 report Workplace Conflict And How Businesses Can Harness It To Thrive from CPP Inc. (the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment), the average employee in the US spends 2.8 hours each week dealing with conflict, translating to a whopping $359 billion in paid hours at the time of the study—and today, that number is even higher.

Conflict can also cause other consequences for your business, including absenteeism (25 percent of employees surveyed in the CPP study reported that they stayed home from work in order to avoid conflict) and employee retention issues (18 percent of employees said they witnessed people leaving their organization as a result of workplace conflict, while another 16 percent said conflict led to colleagues being fired).

And even if conflict doesn’t keep your employees at home (or send them to another organization), it could keep them siloed from the rest of their team; 76 percent of employees have gone out of their way to avoid a colleague because of a disagreement at work.

Clearly, workplace conflict can have a seriously negative impact on your business. But the good news? All of these issues can be solved with the right conflict management strategy—and, in fact, those strategies can actually transform conflict within your organization into a growth opportunity that empowers your team members. 81 percent of employees said that they had seen workplace conflict lead to a positive outcome, like getting a better understanding of their coworkers or finding a more effective solution to a problem.

So, the question is, how can you manage workplace conflict in a way that empowers your team, inspires growth, and keeps top talent at your organization?

Employee Workplace

Image Credits

Workplace conflict management strategies to resolve conflict and keep the peace at work

Whether you’re a business owner, C-level leadership, or work in human resource management, there are a few different strategies you can use to effectively manage conflict in the workplace, keep your team members happy, and support employee retention, including:

Start by hiring the right people

Effective conflict resolution starts long before the conflict actually happens. In fact, if you want your organization to embrace positive, healthy conflict resolution, it needs to start with the hiring process.

Who you hire will play a huge role in how conflict plays out in your organization. If you hire people who are empathetic, collaborative, and have good communication skills, when conflict inevitably arises, they’re already the kind of people who are likely to navigate conflict in a positive, constructive way. On the other hand, if you hire people with poor communication skills and a self-centered attitude, they’re more likely to be reactive when faced with conflict—and that reactivity can have a negative impact on the rest of your team.

If you want to build a company culture that embraces healthy conflict resolution, it all starts with who you hire. So, as you’re building your team, make sure you’re evaluating each potential team member for things like communication skills, listening skills, and their ability to see things from other people’s point of view—all essential characteristics for effectively resolving conflict.

Deal with things as they happen

As mentioned, some amount of conflict is inevitable in the workplace. But where things can really start to spiral out of control is when minor conflicts aren’t addressed—and all of a sudden, those minor conflicts snowball into major conflicts.

According to the CPP survey, 89 percent of employees have experienced a workplace conflict that escalated. Approximately one in three employees said that a recent workplace conflict took at least a few days to resolve—and 16 percent reported that they’re still dealing with a conflict that’s unresolved, lasted longer than expected, and/or is increasing in intensity.

That’s why it’s so important to manage conflict as it happens. The longer you wait to address conflict—whether that’s between employees or between employees and leadership—the more likely it is that the conflict will escalate, become a much bigger deal, and potentially cause an employee to leave.

So, how do you deal with conflict in real-time? Pay attention. While you can’t monitor every employee around the clock to catch any potential squabbles, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on across your organization—and when you hear about or notice any conflict, big or small, address the problem immediately and work with the people involved to come to a resolution.

Addressing conflict as it happens is good—but addressing underlying conditions that could lead to conflict in the future is even better (54% of employees surveyed believe managers could handle disputes better by addressing underlying tensions before conflict erupts). Again, observe your team and keep an eye out for any issues that could lead to conflict down the road. For example, do you have a more introverted team member who is working on a project with an employee known for being outspoken and hot-headed? If so, you might want to schedule time throughout the day for each person to work independently so your quieter employee doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Or does your current office layout make it hard for your team to contain their phone conversations? Set up a quiet area where people can go to work if the phone chatter is too distracting.

The point is, a lot of workplace conflict can be avoided with a little foresight—and if it can’t, it can at least be addressed in a timely manner before it escalates into something larger and more problematic.

Empower your team with employee conflict resolution training

Effective workplace conflict resolution is a team effort. But if you want your team to be more effective at resolving conflict (which will, in turn, make your entire organization more effective), you need to show them how to be more effective.

But the truth is, not many companies are empowering their team to be more effective at navigating and resolving conflict; according to the CPP survey, only 57 percent of employees surveyed received training on how to manage workplace conflict.

Investing in conflict resolution training for your team is a win-win situation. It empowers your team with the tools and skills they need to better work through issues with their colleagues, helps them to look at conflict as a growth opportunity (instead of a problem), and makes for an overall more respectful and collaborative company culture—which can help you retain top talent.

Research the different training options available, see which is the best fit for your team, and then make a plan to roll out the training to your entire organization. The more you empower your team with conflict resolution tools and strategies, the better they’ll be able to manage conflict—and the less likely it will be that conflict leads to serious issues (like absenteeism or employee departures).

Mediate the conflict

No matter how effective your team is in resolving conflict, there are going to be instances when leadership or HR needs to step in and act as a mediator—and when you’re faced with that situation, it’s important that you mediate in a way that resolves the conflict for everyone involved.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when mediating a conflict between team members:

  • Hear all sides of the story. Everyone deserves an opportunity to be heard—so when you’re meditating a conflict between team members, make sure everyone has the opportunity to share their side of the story.
  • Encourage employees’ to see the other’s point of view. It’s much easier to resolve a conflict when you can see the conflict from the other person’s perspective. If you can, encourage your employees to empathize and try to see the conflict from the other person’s point of view.
  • Redirect personal attacks. Personal attacks are never constructive. If you notice an employee personally attacking another team member’s character, redirect the conversation back to the problem—and away from the person involved with the problem.
  • Define where the problem came from—and how to resolve it in the future. The goal of workplace conflict resolution is (obviously) to resolve the conflict. But it’s also to prevent the same conflict from popping up in the future. Work with your employees to figure out the root cause of the issue and how you can work together to prevent a similar conflict from happening in the future.
  • Ask how you can support them. Conflict is hard for a lot of people—and dealing with workplace conflict can make your employees feel stressed and overwhelmed. Make sure to let your team know you’re there to support them in resolving the conflict—and then ask them what they need in order to feel supported.

Be the example

Employees look to leadership for cues on how to act in the workplace—and that includes how to resolve conflict.

As a leader, it’s your job to model how you want your team to navigate workplace conflict resolution—so make sure when you’re faced with conflict, you’re being the example and resolving that conflict in a way that you’d want your employees to replicate.

Keep the peace at work—and keep your employees in the process

Fostering effective conflict resolution is a must for keeping the peace at work—and keeping the peace at work is a must for keeping top talent at your organization. And now that you know exactly how to deal with employee turnover by handling conflict, you have the tools you need to create peace and harmony within your team—and improve employee retention in the process.


This article by Deanna deBara was originally published at hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

 

Want to grow your construction business? There’s an app for that. Thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to update blueprints, create and sign contracts, and care for your construction workers from your smartphone. To help take your company to the next level, check out these top construction apps.  ‍

Whether you’re building your business from the ground up or fine-tuning your workflow, one thing’s for sure: You’re just a few taps and swipes away from making your mark in the construction industry.

SmartBid Construction Bidding Software

Ready to build your company’s portfolio and work on some impressive projects? Well, a lot needs to happen before your team steps foot on a construction site. As one of the top bidding apps for general contractors, SmartBid helps streamline the entire preconstruction process. This app offers a secure platform to track your bid status with subcontractors and other companies. Not only does SmartBid help you get the job, but it also keeps your project organized from the very start.

COnstruction Business Software

Download SmartBid on the App Store and Google Play.

PlanGrid

As the old adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither was your latest construction project. PlanGrid uses Autodesk BIM (or building information modeling) to monitor your project as it changes. From punch lists, to blueprints, to progress photos,  this app is designed to keep your team in sync throughout the entire construction process.

Plangrid Construction Project

Download PlanGrid on the App Store and Google Play.

Hourly 

There’s more to running a successful construction company than updating floor plans and calculating roof pitches; it’s important to track and compensate your employees for the time they spend working. Fortunately, Hourly is here to help make time tracking and administering payroll easy. The app uses GPS and geofencing to ensure your employees are at the correct construction site—and only lets them clock in once they’ve arrived. Keep your contractors on schedule by creating custom rules such as enforcing an eight-hour workday, granting a 30-minute lunch break, and setting a mandatory start time. Have a few team members who are burning the midnight oil? Hourly will automatically calculate overtime pay based on your company’s local labor laws, and add it to your employees’ timesheets.

Construction Time Tracking

Download Hourly on the App Store and Google Play.

GasBuddy

From driving to the job site each day to schlepping around construction materials, general contractors are always on the go. Since they’re often on the road, construction businesses wind up spending a lot of money on gas. That’s exactly why every contracting company should download GasBuddy. This platform uses a smartphone’s location services to find the closest and most affordable gas station. According to the app, GasBuddy can help you save up to 25 cents per gallon.

Gas Tracking App

Download GasBuddy on the App Store and Google Play.

DEWALT Mobile Pro 

How many slate shingles do you need to build a gable and valley roof? Or how many studs for a 3,200 square-foot home? That’s where DEWALT Mobile Pro comes in. The tool company has created a construction calculator to determine the materials your general contractors will need for their next project. Simply enter your dimensions and DEWALT Mobile Pro will do the math for you.

DeWalt Construction Calculator

Download DEWALT Mobile Pro on the App Store and Google Play.

GoCanvas

With so little time and so many construction projects, the very last thing you need to do is to spend a superfluous amount of time sifting through old paperwork. If you want to be as efficient as possible, download GoCanvas. Instead of turning your filing cabinet upside down, GoCanvas will let you store, organize, and share important data and documents from its mobile app.

GoCanvas

Download GoCanvas on the App Store and Google Play.

Procore

Consider Procore your one-stop construction management app. From sharing accurate BIM data with your team, to receiving real-time productivity updates, to staying in the loop about potential safety hazards, Procore empowers project managers to stay connected with their mobile devices. You can also use this app to keep tabs on RFIs, inspections, daily reports, and more. Unlike many construction apps, which require an Internet connection, Procore lets construction managers access and save their work in offline mode. In other words, this app is a great match for managers who either travel often or work on a job site with a poor signal.

Procore

Download Procore on the App Store and Google Play. 

 

Red Cross First Aid

Accidents are bound to happen, regardless of your construction team’s skillset. Unfortunately, falls and fatalities are more common in smaller businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of the deaths that occur on construction sites are from companies with ten or fewer employees. While downloading Red Cross’ First Aid app won’t guarantee your project will be accident-proof, it will help construction professionals know what to do if an emergency strikes.

Red Cross First Aid

Download Red Cross First Aid on the App Store and Google Play. 

DroneDeploy 

Thanks to DroneDeploy, your project team can get a lay of the land before arriving at the construction site. Compatible with both iPhones and Androids, this app uses drones to survey a job site on your behalf. Once the drone collects and interprets the data, the app sends over real-time drone maps and 3D models. Since launching in 2013, DroneDeploy has served 5,000 companies nationwide and surveyed 100 million acres of land. Not only can DroneDeploy save time and money, but it can also help you streamline your construction project.

DroneDeploy

Download DroneDeploy on the App Store and Google Play.

Forms by LegalShield 

Want to add a new client to your growing roster? It’s important to agree on all the fine print before you step foot on the job site. That’s where Forms by LegalShield—formerly Shake—comes in. Once you and your client have set the terms for the project, simply enter a few basic facts into one of the app’s legal templates. From there, Forms by LegalShield will whip up a contract (complete with legal jargon, of course) for both parties to sign. While the app does offer legal counsel for an additional fee, you can skip the trip to a fancy law office and make a deal from your iPad.

Forms by LegalShield

Download Forms by LegalShield on the App Store and Google Play. 


This article by Kelsey Mulvey was originally published at Hourly.io

 

At first glance, tracking employee time seems pretty straightforward. Your employees simply denote the hours they were at work on a timesheet, or punch a time clock and turn their time cards in at the end of the week or month. What could go wrong? ‍

As it turns out, a lot. The ability to accurately track employee hours is one of the most important tasks a business undertakes. Timesheets and time cards provide invaluable data to your business regarding how efficiently you use employee time, your labor costs, and areas for productivity improvement. ‍

For big and small businesses alike, finding ways to make your time tracking both easier for employees and managers is essential to improving margins, accurately bidding projects, and ultimately running a more successful company.

Time tracking trouble? 

Employers have long relied on manual timecards to track employee work hours. Employees either clock in and clock out or they’re responsible for recording and reporting how many hours they worked and when. The manual aspect makes the process vulnerable to errors, miscalculations, and estimates. ‍

In one 2018 survey, 44% of business owners reported that they regularly struggle with timesheet errors. An astounding 92% of the respondents reported that the errors were typically caused by the user. The biggest problem? Employees forgetting to record their time. That was followed by employees recording their time incorrectly or to the wrong job. ‍

Fortunately, you can implement the following time tracking best practices to simplify your timekeeping and improve the accuracy of your labor costs.

Educate employees about time tracking 

Make sure that your employees understand the importance of time tracking, as well as how your time tracking systems work and what’s expected of them. With each new employee, walk them through your time tracking tool, as well as the guidelines for how to track time. For instance, let employees know if they need to check-in to a mobile app daily (versus entering data later).‍

Provide them with information about how long their breaks should be, what type of personal business is permitted on the job, and how they can correct entries if they made an error. Educating your employees will not only reduce errors and misinformation but can also prevent employee time theft.

Automate your system 

The next step to better employee time tracking is to get rid of manual timesheets and clocking in with paper time cards. Automating your record keeping provides a host of benefits, from making it easier for employees to document their work time to streamlining the record-keeping for your HR or office administrators. It also provides for 100% accurate timesheets, eliminating the need for time clock rounding.

People platforms like Hourly offer time tracking apps that allow employees to easily document when they’ve begun working. You can automate breaks and lunches so that they’re always included in the report and even set rules so help ensure the employees work the time they’re required—and not more or less.

Make time tracking easy for your managers

Time tracking poses a problem for some employees, but it can also be the least favorite part of a manager or supervisor’s job. Managers routinely have to collect all employee timecards or reports, check them for accuracy regarding billable time worked, overtime, and correct any errors. What seems like a simple task can take up hours each month or week, especially if managers have to keep track of employee time because employees aren’t good about reporting their work hours.‍

Time tracking software solutions like Hourly not only simplify time tracking for employees, but they reduce the workload for managers as well. Your managers will be able to automate their reporting, quickly find missing information and headquarter all the employees’ time data in one place.

Time Tracking Management

Image Credits

Avoid these 3 time tracking mistakes

It’s easy to keep doing things the same way. But when it comes to time tracking, finding small improvements and avoiding common pitfalls adds up to real savings. Sidestep these time tracking mistakes and you’ll add efficiency to your timekeeping system and improve the quality of your labor cost data.

Not collecting enough detail about employee work hours

There’s a fine line between trying to keep timecards simple and oversimplifying your data in a way that’s detrimental. For instance, employees should clock in at the beginning of each shift and clock out at the end, of course. But that’s just the basics. ‍

Tracking breaks, lunches and regular work hours are required by federal law. Properly tracking over time is also essential. That not only ensures that employees get overtime pay but also allows your organization to better manage its resources and reduce overtime spending. You can even track hours to specific projects, job sites, and more. ‍

Time tracking tools such as Hourly allow you to document a higher level of detail about your employee work hours. Then you can generate practical data you can use to make smarter decisions about your labor.

Not leveraging time tracking software features

You don’t have to be a tech wizard to benefit from time tracking solutions like Hourly. The platform provides multiple, easy-to-use features that enable your company to run more efficiently, and frankly, get more from your timecard reports. For example, with Hourly, you can: ‍

  • Know who’s working in real-time. Log in to the app and see who is on the job—and whether anyone is missing.
  • Have employees clock in by location. With this feature, your employees can only clock in once they’re at the right worksite.
  • Geofence jobs. The software can send you an alert if employees are not where they’re supposed to be during the workday.
  • Set alerts for important issues. Hourly can send alerts if your employees head into overtime or switch work locations.

Not combining payroll, worker’s comp and time tracking solutions 

All of these things are deeply related. By incorporating them into one solution you can reduce the time you spend, and improve your compliance with labor laws as well as documentation in all three areas. Hourly is the only small business solution that incorporates payroll, worker’s compensation and time tracking into one application.

‍You can simplify your paydays, running payroll for employees, contractors and freelancers with the click of a button. Integrating workers comp ensures that you and your employees are covered in case of an accident and ensures that your vital employee information is all in place. Add in time tracking and you’ve streamlined a significant component of your HR function.

Time to clock out? 

Improving your employee time tracking doesn’t take much—and it’s well worth the effort. Explore how a people platform like Hourly can make time tracking easier for your employees, while also providing your company with increased efficiency, time savings and more.


This article by Kelly Kearsley was originally published at Hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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As a small business owner, the one thing you probably lack is a large marketing budget, which is more than reasonable when considering that there are a hundred different things that require your full attention and resources.

Which is why you should do your best to exhaust every other alternative before opting for a mainstream marketing strategy that will continuously take a large part of your earnings for very little in return. What we will be discussing today are some extremely cost-effective alternatives that can hopefully show how to get and then maintain a loyal following without spending thousands of dollars.

Most of these are Small business marketing tips but they will work for all others as well.

Search Engine Optimization

I’m sure you have probably heard about SEO optimization in every other article as well, but there is a good reason for that. Search Engine Optimization, like the name suggests, will make sure that your websites, pages, blogs, and posts are discovered faster in search engines like google and Bing’s search results and hopefully shown at or near the top of the page.

The higher their ranking, the more chances of them being discovered by more and more people and in return, further increasing their own position and page authority. So you can imagine why it is stressed upon so much by industry specialists. Not to mention it doesn’t have to cost anything and can be done relatively quickly if you don’t mind learning a few new things.

Basis of SEO is pretty simple. The first thing you have to do is make sure your website is using all the necessary tools. If it’s built on something like WordPress or Wix then you have the option to use SEO plugins without any additional cost. These plugins will take care of all the basic stuff like creating sitemaps and optimizing formats and guide you with the rest of the process as much as possible.

Then come all your other social media pages. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any of the others, SEO can be done in every single one of them.

For Instagram, you can start by using Hashtags. They connect all of your posts together, making it easier to share and be discovered by others even if by accident. Another option is by optimizing the descriptions of images to be as accurate and inclusive as possible of every subject matter. This way the chances of them being discovered through google image search increase by leaps and bounds.

All public Facebook groups, pages, and posts can be shown as a result in Google searches so it’s a good idea to use the same SEO techniques you would for your official website. The content length doesn’t matter as long as it is SEO friendly.

Use Social Media to its Fullest Extent

If you haven’t done so already, get on every social media platform you can. But before you do so, its best if you understand which platform is most likely to have your target audience.

Let’s take Facebook for example. A car mechanic will surely see more visits and clicks on a platform like Facebook where there are people from every walk of life. But doing the same on Instagram or Snapchat won’t net you the same result as the majority of the users are young teens that either just don’t own a car or simply aren’t interested in seeing anything related to your business.

That’s why although it’s a good idea to be present on every platform, focusing the majority of your efforts on one platform that is going to be most beneficial and responsive to your efforts is the better option.

Customer Engagement

For all businesses, whether they are large corporations or up and coming businesses, customer engagement is the solution to most of your problems. Its anywhere from 5 to 20 times more expensive to acquire new clients than it is to keep old ones. That’s why focusing efforts to retain clients by increasing customer engagement through any number of techniques is advised at every stage.

Post interesting content on your social media pages that are connected to your field. If you have the time to spare or the resources to hire someone, start a blog and post regularly. It doesn’t have to be too often at the start and you can go slow, but pick up the pace as you get used to it and set yourself apart from the competition by showcasing your own set of unique skills through different methods.

Talk about topics that interest you or you know about. Give advice or ask for it from the experts and continue developing your brand through it.

Contests

Online contests are a great way to boost your following without opting for paid advertisements. You will have to fork out a bit for the final prize but that’s still cheaper than buying clicks and views.

There is no need to use something expensive as the final prize and instead opting for a trendy item or even something you make yourself, i.e., your product or service is a great idea. Going by the previous example of a car mechanic, the final prize can be something along the lines of a full tune-up or service for the winner’s vehicle.

This not only directly promotes your own product/service but also saves you from spending on another item. Its basically free publicity. If you’re not sure how to get started, RaffleCopter is a great little service that takes care of the entire process and even has the option to share it on all your social media platforms.

Create Partnerships

No one can do everything by themselves. Sooner or later you will need help and teaming up with another business that is in the same field can help create a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit greatly.

Creating strategic partnerships has many advantages while doesn’t require as much work on your part. Your business is able to receive twice as much notice and partnering with an industry-relevant business will also introduce you to an entirely new audience that is looking for something in your area of specialties.

Continuing from the previous example once again, a car mechanic can partner with a car dealership and have access to an exclusive audience that would usually be out of reach. And you can even go a step further and give discounts or offer special pricing to the customers that are referred to you by the partner.

Referral Programs

Speaking of referral programs, they should not only be limited to your partnerships. Under normal circumstances even if customers like what you have to offer, they still wouldn’t just refer your services without a reason. So why not give them one?

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to designing referral programs but the one thing that should be kept in mind is the reward. It has to be enticing enough for your customers to consider referring new clients but not too enticing that they should start a campaign of their own and refer every random person. What you’re looking for is someone that will stick even after the initial purchase.

And studies have shown that referred customers have much higher brand loyalty from the get-go and larger profit margins without much work from your side. And not only this, but it would also increase the loyalty of your existing customers once they have a more vested interest in your brand.

Plus with the dozens of different software out there that are designed for the sole purpose of setting up and maintaining such referral programs, there really is no reason for you to not at least try it out.

Paid Search Discovery/advertising

After exhausting all other methods you can finally focus on some cost-effective advertising alternatives to the more mainstream strategies. Although they won’t be free, it still shouldn’t break your bank any time soon.

All major platforms offer a few deals for smaller businesses. They give you the option to target a specific demographic and you won’t be charged unless someone clicks on the advertisement. Google and Facebook are way ahead of the competition in this area as they have developed specialized algorithms that use the entirety of their massive databases and search for individuals that are looking for your exact products.

This way you won’t simply get random clicks but only actual leads that have a very high chance of making a purchase will be redirected to your business. It’s one of the best ways to get a good return on investment, other than text-based marketing of course.

SMS Marketing

If you’re like me and knew nothing about text marketing until recently, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. In the last few years, there have been a lot of new and old marketing strategies that have seen a sudden boost in popularity, and SMS marketing is one of the older ones. It has been around for a couple of decades now but only now has it really caught on, especially with the smaller to medium-sized business market for the following few reasons:

The Cheaper Alternative

Unlike what you might think, text-based marketing programs are some of the cheapest alternatives around. They barely cost anything to get started and are perfect for those business owners that want to get their money’s worth without spending thousands of dollars.

The distance between the sender and the receiver doesn’t matter at all. You have the option to send mass text messages to an entire demographic at an extremely affordable rate.

Bigger Reach

Even with today’s technological advancements, there are still a lot of places that either don’t have internet service or it is so bad that barely anyone uses it. Whereas everyone has a cell phone or two in their pockets at all times no matter the social or financial status. From kids as young as ten to retirees, text marketing has the most varied demographic and the widest reach out of all marketing methods.

Flexible

If you have ever opted for a mainstream marketing strategy then you should know the legal implications that come with it. With binding contracts, you basically have no freedom to speak off and are stuck in a relationship whether you like it or not.

But most SMS marketing methods, especially the ones being offered by industry leaders like Express Text are so versatile in their offerings that you won’t even have to sign anything to get started. The process is extremely simple and easy, that only requires you to choose from one of the provided packages. After that, you can simply enter the names and numbers of your contracts and be on your merry way.

Control

You as the client have complete control with regards to the contents of the text messages. If you want to share links of your social media profiles within the messages then there are tools in place that will not only you to do so, but do it right. They will give detailed data about the people that clicked on the links that can be then used to further refine your marketing efforts.

If you want to share details about one of the other marketing methods you are free to do so. The content of each and every text message can be changed at a moment’s notice, add to it or replace the content entirely and go with something completely different. You have complete freedom.

Conclusion

We can give you as small business marketing tips as you want, but in the end, you the only thing that matters is what best for your business. Do you want to try some free tricks to boost your following or go for a definite win?

With some of the highest ROI’s in the entire marketing industry, SMS marketing is the best option for all new businesses that are still figuring things out for themselves and their respective customers. Its plethora of features eclipse anything that the other marketing can throw out.

More Marketing Ideas


This article by Ashish Patel was originally published at Expresstext.net


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

 

Many groups, including federal and local governments and private banks and companies, have offered coronavirus assistance to small businesses. If you own a small business, these programs can help you receive grants and low-interest loans.

The coronavirus outbreak has turned everyday life on its head. People are staying indoors and practicing social distancing, aiming to reduce the spread of the disease. While these essential measures have helped keep people healthy and have saved lives, many businesses are facing the impact of enforced closures and reduced foot traffic.

More than half of Americans are worried about the economy and their individual retirement savings, and business owners are no different. Small businesses often have just a few weeks worth of operating costs saved, meaning even a short closure can doom a business.

The government and many lenders have offered assistance and other forms of relief to businesses. If you own a small business, there are options available to you to help keep the lights on and your business running.

In this guide:

How to get a Coronavirus Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan

One of the government’s programs for helping small businesses impacted by the coronavirus is the Coronavirus Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan Program. The goal of this assistance is to help small businesses keep their workers in their jobs and earning incomes.

What is an Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan?

Emergency Paycheck Protection Loans are loans offered by the Small Business Administration to businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The loans are meant to help business owners keep their employees on the payroll and pay their essential bills, like rent.

The loans come with a two-year term and an interest rate of 1%, making them incredibly inexpensive compared to most other types of loans. There is also the possibility of the SBA forgiving the balance of the loan, turning it into a grant for eligible businesses.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To apply for an Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan, your business must meet the following requirements:

  • Your business must have fewer than 500 employees. Exceptions for larger businesses in specific industries are available—for instance, businesses in foodservice and hospitality may be eligible if they have multiple locations, each with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Your business must have been impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Those are the only two requirements. Everything from a sole proprietorship to a medium-sized non-profit organization can apply for and receive a loan.

What are the requirements for the government to forgive the loan?

If you apply for and receive a loan, you won’t receive your first bill until six months from the date you receive the money. Again, the loans come with a two-year term and a 1% interest rate.

The Small Business Administration also offers the opportunity to have the loan forgiven. If this happens, you will not have to repay the loan at all. Instead, it becomes a grant provided by the SBA.

To qualify for loan forgiveness, your business must:

  • Use the funds only for payroll expenses, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest, with at least 75% of the funds going toward payroll expenses
  • Keep all employees on the business’s payroll for eight weeks after receiving the loan
  • Maintain wages similar to those comprising your business’s current payroll

A look at the Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs for the Coronavirus

The Paycheck Protection Program isn’t the only government effort to help small businesses. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act includes many other opportunities for businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus.

In addition to providing the small business benefits described earlier, the act also includes:

  • Funding for the Center for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, and other health-related organizations
  • The expansion of telehealth service options for those on Medicare
  • Funding for international efforts to combat the coronavirus

Other programs that can help

Small business owners can take advantage of other assistance programs that can keep their businesses going through the crisis.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Loan Advance

The loan advance program offers up to $10,000 to small business owners across the United States. The eligibility requirements are similar to those for Paycheck Protection Program loans. These loan advances don’t need to be repaid, and you can receive the money within days of applying.

After getting your advance, you can go through the full disaster loan process, borrowing up to $2 million from the SBA at a rate of 3.75% and at terms up to 30 years.

The SBA website has more information about both the Disaster Loan program and the Loan Advance program. Additionally, you can check out our guide on SBA disaster loans and FEMA assistance.

SBA Debt Relief

If your business borrowed or borrows money from the SBA, you might be eligible for SBA debt relief programs that can repay your loan balance or let you defer payments.

SBA Serviced Disaster Loans that were in regular service status before March 31st receive automatic deferments until December 31st, 2020. Interest will continue to accrue, but you don’t have to make payments. The SBA will pay the interest and principal for current and new 7(a), 504, and microloans for the next six months.

The SBA website has more information about its debt relief options.

SBA Express Bridge Loan

Small Business Administration bridge loans give companies that already work with SBA lenders quick access to up to $25,000 in loans. These bridge loans are intended for quick funding while owners apply for disaster loans.

SBA Express Bridge Loans let lenders offer guaranteed loans more quickly than usual, giving businesses needed emergency funds.

The SBA has more information about the Bridge Loan Program.

Local Assistance Programs

The Federal Government and Small Business Administration have many options for business owners in need of assistance, but many states have also started assistance programs. If you live in an area with state assistance programs, there’s no reason that you can’t take advantage of both forms of help.

For example, businesses in New York City, one of the hardest-hit areas, can apply for grants of up to $27,000 to cover part of their payroll costs.

Many private banks and even corporations such as Amazon and Facebook have come up with assistance programs. Check with your local government and banks to see if they’re offering any help and keep an eye out for other assistance programs that may become available.

Additional resources:


This article by TJ Porter was originally published at Lendedu.com

About the Author:

TJ Porter is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in credit, credit cards, and bank accounts. He graduated with a degree in business from Northeastern University and has been featured on Credit Karma, DollarSprout, and Bankrate.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

All of us in the events industry are seeing some stormy skies at the moment. Some have already felt the stinging rain of canceled events or missed payments, and the rest of us are waiting apprehensively, sure that a flood is headed our way. It’s in these unsure, stormy days when it’s wise to do everything we can to prepare for when there’s sunshine again. This is when systematizing your online marketing can be absolutely crucial to both making it through the storm in one piece, and also in thriving once we’re back in the metaphorical sunny days.

Every company’s marketing strategies are unique, but I’d imagine most will center around three primary outlets: Facebook/Instagram, your own blog, and Pinterest.

Facebook/Instagram

Conveniently positioned as “Everyone’s Favorite Quarantine Pastime,” Facebook and Instagram are a fantastic way to market your business broadly, and to encourage word-of-mouth sharing among your friends, your clients, and all their friends. Since pretty much no one is shooting right now, you may decide it’s a good idea to work through your back-catalog and highlight some favorite events or shoots from past years.

Showcasing past work has the double-benefit of:

  1. showing off your unique skill and artistry, and
  2. reminding people *just* how long it’s been since they had their photo taken.

Planting these seeds early and semi-often can help your business pick back up when all this is over, and might even give you the opportunity to pre-sell sessions or events and keep the income flowing in the meantime.

The best part is that you can do this for free, avoiding Facebook’s frustrating and confusing advertising metrics, and keeping your cash in your pocket. Facebook’s algorithm rewards photos that are easy to share and are widely embraced. That means that if your photos are beautiful and aren’t uploaded at too large a file size, Facebook will put them in front of more people. Additionally, the more engagement your photos get, the more people Facebook will show them to. So encourage likes, comments, and conversation, and be sure and put yourself in the middle of that to spur on further engagement.

BlogStomp can help you prepare your images for Facebook by sizing them perfectly and adding a logo/website watermark to ensure your friends’ friends’ friends can easily find where and how to get a hold of you to book their own session.

BlogStomp

Preparing Facebook images in BlogStomp

Your blog

Where Facebook and Instagram have the advantage of breadth of reach, your own blog has the advantage of depth. No other place on the internet is a stronger resource for seeing the full catalog of your photography work than your blog, so making sure it looks the way you want it to, showing off the best of the best of your work, is paramount.

While you have a bit of down time, use it to go back through your blog — publish any not-yet-blogged shoots you want to show off, revise or re-dress any older posts that need a freshening up, and thoroughly examine the look and feel of your blog, ensuring that your site visitors don’t get bogged down or confused by any elements that can be removed.

While you’re at it, give a thought to your SEO. Consider which keywords you’re including in each post, and check for readability and flow. You might even want to revise older posts, as your business direction may have shifted over the years.

BlogStomp makes it easy to maximize your SEO with custom file names, and you can include alt tags and title tags when you publish directly to your WordPress blog.

Pinterest

So we know that Facebook and Instagram have their strengths in “word of mouth” online marketing (tag your friends, their friends see it, they send it to their friends, etc.) and your blog has the depth of SEO pull and evergreen content.  Where Pinterest shines is in what we call “Stranger Sharing.”

Pinterest doesn’t rely on personal connections to serve up your content to people. If they get to pinterest.com and search “Springtime Farm Wedding” and you’ve got images on Pinterest with the phrase “Springtime Farm Wedding” in the description, they’ll see it. They may see it and like it. They may even see it and fall in love with your photographic style. There’s even a chance they’ll want to see more of your work.

Make it easy for them to find you by watermarking your images, being intentional about tags and keywords, and including your website URL in your descriptions and file names.

BlogStomp is essential in this online marketing process, too. You can create a style for Pinterest that is set to the width you want to share, then assemble unique collages sure to attract the right kind of attention to your website.  Potential clients will do their part and search up the stuff they want to see, and BlogStomp will have done its part to help make sure they see your images first.

Blogstomp

Create Pinterest collages in BlogStomp

And since many current blog themes allow you to activate a “Pin It” button on your blog images, using BlogStomp to rename each image or collage in a way that points people back to your website is invaluable when others share your work on Pinterest and forget to credit you in their comments.

Let’s get started

Ugh, sheesh — all of this sounds like just a TON of work.

Well, it sort of is. On the one hand, yeah, it’s a lot to get done. But on the other hand, what else have you got going on right now?  : )

While it can feel like a lot to do, BlogStomp makes it easy (and, dare I say, fun?) to get it done. Let’s admit it — none of us got into photography because we wanted to spend endless hours in front of a computer working on our online marketing. These days, we all have a stronger relationship with our mouse and keyboard than we do with our camera. I honestly don’t know if the biggest threat to one’s photography career is creative burnout or carpal tunnel syndrome!

But BlogStomp is your way around all of that. For over ten years BlogStomp has helped tens of thousands of photographers around the world to prepare their images and marketing pieces. It is built to execute many tasks quickly and easily, and then to get out of your way.


This article by Chip Gillespie was originally published at Honeybook.com

About the Author:

Chip Gillespie

One of StompSoftware’s original founders and a Houston-based wedding photographer, Chip is the ultimate all-rounder helping to drive the development, user experience, online marketing and support of the business. He’s our man on the ground in our biggest market, and he wears one helluva mustache.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

 


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