Entrepreneurial News®

What Recession?

The media are once again trying to convince us that we’re in a recession.

It doesn’t feel like a recession to me and my clients, but then we’re in Arizona, which has steadily prospered all the way through our economic difficulties.

But, if there is a recession out there in the land, you don’t have to hunker down and cooperate with it.

Up your shipping percentage. Work harder on customer satisfaction. Hire some new sales reps. Introduce that new product or service that you’ve been thinking about.

In general, don’t behave as though there’s reportedly a recession.

Indeed Tips for Recruiting Success

We’ve used Indeed and Zip Recruiter for clients, but we find that Indeed does a better job of customer relations.

For example, Indeed just came out with a set of tips for employers to use with Indeed to make their experience more successful.

Here they are:

1, Ask screening questions, such as ‘do you have a college degree?’ if they’re relevant to the job.

2. Set one or more ‘deal breakers’ that will eliminate candidates; you don’t necessarily want to interview all candidates, only the ones with relevant experience. Location of the candidate can be a deal breaker: we found that candidates weren’t going to drive from Scottsdale to Chandler for a security guard job, so we put local hiring into the job description as a deal breaker.

3. Invite candidates with ‘Instant Match’ to interview. Note: make sure you’re only paying for qualified applicants….the Indeed website is a bit vague on this point.

4. Reject or replace unqualified applications within 48 hours of posting the job. Otherwise, you’re going to get charged for them.

5. Make use of Indeed’s dedicated recruter for feedback; it’s not a generally known service of Indeed.

Lean In Leadership

In some respects, the title of this post is an oxymoron.

If you’re the leader, you shouldn’t have to be asked to lead.

However, we have had a situation in Uvalde Texas when a group of first responders stood around while children were being killed by the assailant.

This standing around while mayhem is taking place should not happen.

The police chief apparently did not lead, as he should have. However, an investigation is taking place.

So, among the first responders, someone should have assumed the lead, especially when children were calling the 911 line reporting the shootings.

Someone among first responders should have leaned in.

Even if you’re in a meeting, and it appears that there needs to be leadership in the group, lean in.

Leadership is doing the right things. Even if you have to lean in order to do so.

You can’t be a leader and be risk averse.

You can take prudent risks.

And you can and should lean in when you think it’s appropriate.

And if you’re a first responder, it should be in your job description to lean in when you think it’s appropriate.

Hiring Your People Right The First Time

As we were canvassing for our projected supervisory courses for the American School of Entrepreneurship, it occurred to me that maybe we should reissue our hiring guidelines.

Julie Fletcher, one of our original founding members pioneered this approach, called KPI, or Key People Indicators, but we’ve updated it for the rise of the two big hiring sites.

We recently did a personnel screening project for a client hiring 12 security guards, and used our updated KPI process, which was made easier because we could actually list on Indeed and Zip Recruiter, through the job description the KPI’s we were looking for, such as attitude and attendance.

Julie originally developed for her consulting practice the KPI’s using DISC profiles, and we continue to think that DISC is the best tool available, because the sellers of the profile seem to continually update the test for more traits.

Even you, as the entrepreneur should take the DISC profile, to either find out or reinforce what you’re good at. Also, if/when you hire a second person, that person needs to be complementary to your skills. For example, most entrepreneurs have high ‘D’ scores, very results oriented, but for their second hire, they should hire someone who’s better at team building, a high ‘S’ score.

We’ve found the best source of information on DISC is www.discprofile.com.

Once you’ve gotten the second hire on board and functional, you’re not done. You might, at this point decide you need another salesperson to share some of the CEO’s sales duties. The CEO may know what he wants in his third employee and should recruit around those needs. Again, DISC profile the person, because your ‘gut feeling’ is probably wrong, in our experience.

Ensure that all the present employees interview the newbie, and they should all agree that he or she will be a fit at the company. This ‘fit’ step is commonly overlooked.

Around five employees, your company should begin to develop a ‘culture’, which is another KPI. It’s hard to measure, but your existing employees will sense it in the degree of ‘fitting in’. (We’ll presume that you like the culture in your company; changing it is another subject for another post)

At five onward, you’ll probably start to need your first supervisor, but it depends. In our people research, we found one company that hires only former law enforcement people and has no supervisors among its 35 people. You should have a feel for when you need to hire the first supervisor, and this is one case where your gut can govern.

Picking and training your first supervisor is the subject of two of our courses at the American School of Entrepreneurship, because we’ve found that 25% of companies between 50 and 500 employees had no supervisory picking and training programs, and that sounded like a good market to us. www.theasoe.com, in a few weeks.

 

 

Hiring Your Supervisors Right The First Time

We are relaunching our sister company, The American School of Entrepreneurship, and the first courses the companies we surveyed said we should offerr were a podcast on how to hire supervisors correctly, and once you’ve hired them, train them correctly.

One of the major reasons employees quit is poor supervision, so our theory is that you can avoid thousands of dollars of expense in quit and training by hiring better supervisors.

So, here’s a written version of the course on hiring correctly.

Normally, a company will hire its first supervisor at about 5 to 10 total employees. When will vary by the type of industry somewhat, with the type of employees you have. If they are more independent, then you can veer towards 10 employees. Less independent? More like 5.

You will have noticed that you have on your payroll a person who seems interested in getting ahead; that’s the sort of person you want to test.

Yes, we said test, only if to verify your own judgement.

The test that we recommend to our clients is DISC, which measures qualities like enthusiasm, support, stability, accuracy, challenges, results and action. www.discprofile.com has more details. They’re well worth the money, because they measure the ‘fit’ of the supervisor with the existing people you have.

We don’t recommend gong outside your company for supervisors, because you’ll run into the ‘fit’ question. Much better to promote from within.

So, you administer the test, and you look for the traits in a supervisor that you think you want. If you have existing supervisors, you can even test them to see if they have the traits that you want, and replicate those traits in the newbie.

Nothing and no test is perfect, but we think an objective would be to reduce your employee turnover by 50%….that’s what we’ve seen.

So, have at it.

Musk, Farley and Mulally

My genius webmaster, Primeview.com, found a bunch of old posts that I had done for Entrepreneurial News when we first set it up.

One was on Alan Mulally, who had just started his successful turnaround efforts at Ford, which focused on fixing the culture at Ford, which had become pretty hidebound. He succeeded, of course and Ford prospered. But, his successors didn’t do as well, because they allowed Ford to become somewhat inward looking again.

Now we have Jim Farley, who’s reinvigorating Ford with new products in all of its segments, probably shaking up the culture too, and will probably be similarly successful He’s just beginning to see the profits from the new Bronco roll in, and has the F-150 Lightning and the Ford Maverick pickup to go. All three are segment leaders.And the supply chain, with its own battery plant, is getting a refresh.  Somewhere in the next year or two, the Mach E might need a refresh, too. The culture at Ford must be undergoing one of its periodic refreshes, like the cars. No one has written about that yet.

And then we have Elon Musk and his takeover of Twitter, which we are cheering on, not because we’ve been thrown off Twitter, but because he’s attempting a really ambitious, purely cultural makeover of the workforce. He’ll succeed eventually, but the question is whether the Twitterers will see the handwriting on the wall and change, or whether he’ll have to do wholesale personnel changes to get the culture forward leaning and accepting of all opinions. It seems so far that Elon is allowing change to occur from the inside, which is the better way, IMHO. Time will tell.

The point of all this is that you’ve got to get your culture aligned with where you as the CEO want to take the company, otherwise you’ll be delayed and probably frustrated.

The Coming Recession?

In between mentions of Roe V. Wade possibly being overturned this summer, there is talk of a recession late this year and during 2023.

What can you do now to prepare for it? Especially when there is scarcity about:

  1. Boost your purchases of finished goods and raw materials to cover longer periods of time, to avoid shortages and get better pricing, possibly.
  2. Tell your banker that you’re going to need more inventory financing to accommodate larger stocks.
  3. Hold a meeting with all your people and tell them about your strategy, and that if we execute correctly, there won’t be any layoffs.
  4. If you have sales reps inside and outside, tell them to contact all customer they haven’t had an order from in the last three months to see if there’s a problem. If you’re a retailer, boost your local search expenditures.
  5. Try to price match all competitors, so you retain customers.
  6. Have an outside consultant review your promotion methods and your website to see if they’re all maximally effective.

There are probably more things you can do and we’ll keep thinking on it.

The Star Trek Diversity Plan

I have a friend and sometime client who was recently puzzling over his diversity plan. He runs a big civil engineering firm.

He has to have a diversity plan on file with the Federal Department of Labor because he has more than 50 employees, and he’s an occasional government contractor.

He also loves Star Trek, to the point where he’s gone on two Star Trek -themed cruises

It was on one of these cruises that the meaning of diversity and community finally hit him, while watching some of the characters interact.

After all, if you’ve watched any episodes of Star Trek, what could be more diverse than the bunch of people operating on the Enterprise? Sure, they look odd, but they’re operating in the 25th century.

And, although it’s not generally mentioned in the Federal diversity plans, he’s managed to maintain a meritocracy retention and promotion plan. Civil engineers are expensive folks, and he doesn’t want to lose any.

And they have to function as a community, because they’re some light years from any physical contact with anyone.

My friend also has people working remotely on customers’ job sites, and at home, as a result of COVID. Parenthetically, his engineers working from home largely decided that they liked working from home, even after they could return to the office, so he had to invent control methods to ensure that their work got done. The various distances also distance mean that his civil engineers have to be pretty self-reliant, which gets into his recruiting and supervision.

We’re not sure what Star Trek would say about gender equity; maybe we’ll go watch some episodes this weekend and report.

No BS Border Plan

Years ago, a business author and coach named Dan Kennedy popularized a series of business books starting with ‘No BS’.

I think we’re at the point where Arizona’s policy on the border and the wall, as uttered by candidates, needs a ‘No BS’.

The wall makes a difference to us business people, because the inflow of migrants, if done legally, could provide a source of workers for Arizona businesses.

Even Karrin Taylor Robson, with her six point plan, doesn’t actually say ‘build the wall’. Why not we ask?

Kari Lake’s in a similar position. No specifics.

Mark Brnovich, who’s our sitting Attorney General, hasn’t weighed in, either.

So, here’s our plan that is needed to finish the wall, through emininent domain if necessary. I have no idea how much this might cost, but it can be estimated, and I think AZ has the money. This is an emergency.

The slats for the wall are already in position, as I understand it.

The nutty Feds are paying contractors to not build the wall, so cash flow is coming that could be used to build the wall.

The Feds are so caught up in their drawers that Biden might be out of office through impeachment by the time we get sued. Or by that time, he might condone it by doing nothing, If Leaders McConnell and McCarthy can talk some sense into him

All we’re out is the land acquisition cost, and we might be able to sue the Feds to recapture that, since they took no action in a crisis, and got sued by Brnovich for their trouble.

Governor Ducey could get things moving by finding out the land cost, before he leaves office.

Let’s go!

Bethenny’s Dealmaking Rules

Bethenny Frankel’s one of my favorite entrepreneurs. Inc Magazine’s too.

Inc recently published her rules for dealmaking on new projects, which I thought were rather good. We’ve repeated them below, with some editorializing:

  1. Establish your own code; do you think the deal will be enjoyable for you? If not, think twice about it.
  2. Pick the partner that moves at your own pace. Have shared values and have partners that work at your own speed.
  3. Be upfront with your own flaws and weaknesses. Outline your own deficiencies in any negotiation. To which I’d add, all negotiations have got to be a win/win/win for everyone.
  4. Define what you will do, and what you won’t do. Self explanatory, but IMHO, when money starts flowing, misunderstandings proliferate if not in writing.
  5. Master the care and feeding of your partners. Again, self explanatory, and make sure you take their concerns into account. It’s not your way or the highway. Celebrate successes. IMHO, behind the scenes figure out what happened with failures.