Human Resources is a very broad but is an area in which we find many of our clients struggle with and require help in their business. Below is a set of tips focused on the areas in which we find our clients ask for the most help.
Organizational and Management Structure
Once there are employees in an organization, it is essential to have an organizational chart which shows the hierarchy, responsibilities, and reporting structure of the organization. Every employee needs to have one boss from where they get direction and guidance. It is not that others cannot prove input, but an employee cannot be pulled in twenty different directions by multiple people, as this will affect their productivity.
Every manager who has employees reporting to them need to an understanding of the responsibilities of being a manager.
Before you start hiring employees, you should develop a hiring process that you expect all managers to follow. What are some of the key components of the hiring process?
If you have employees that are working for your business, it is imperative that you provide an employment contract as this not only protects the employee but you as well down the road. If you do not have an employment contract that outlines rules and policies regarding their employment, do not be surprised when they leave and you find they are working for your competitor and are calling on your clients, you do not have a leg to stand on. Make sure you have a lawyer review your contract, as there is nothing worse than having an agreement that will not protect your business.
As an employer, it is up to you to understand the requirements regarding employees, labour laws, and human rights as they relate to your business and industry. There are many general requirements such as health and safety training, written policies around health and safety, workplace violence and harassment, as well as accessibility, to name a few. There are some additional ones that are specific to industries or business types that will need to be understood as well.
As a business, it is up to you to file and pay payroll taxes (employee and company) and know how much WSIB or equivalent is required for your industry/business type. Failure to submit payroll or WSIB (in Ontario) can result in harsh fines and interest and can put your business in jeopardy.
Employers need to understand the rules concerning part-time, full-time, and contract employees. If you are not sure, check with your accountant or corporate lawyer. You cannot hire a contract employee to avoid paying payroll taxes. There are a set of tests that the government checks for and if you have a contractor that is really an employee, you will be responsible for all back payroll taxes and in one case we saw CRA make the employer pay for the employee’s portion as well.
This article is not an inclusive list of Human Resources, but are the ones we find are the areas where many small businesses have issues and need help. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask us on our business forum on our website.
Search Engine Optimization is written a lot about, but seems to be greatly misunderstood by most of how it works and what has to be done to make it work for your small business web site. Though I had search engine optimization in my website from the beginning, I couldn’t understand why my rankings were not improving. As a small business owner myself, I looked at the different tools and I couldn’t understand why they cost so much and why SEO professionals charged so much. It was not until I started using a tool and spending time on my website for a few hours each week making changes and seeing the results, did I truly understand. It can become a full time job keeping your ranking in search engines.
I have a friend and partner that I work with that owns a web development company that sends me articles on SEO regularly and am amazed that change occurs almost daily so there is a need to keep up with it and is so important that you have the basics down when you have a website developed. I have compiled a list of facts and tips about SEO that might help you when you are trying to decide how important this is for your small business website. I eventually would like to create a Tips and Technique Guide , but for now here are 12 Basic Tips to help you with your SEO.
This by no means is not an inclusive list and will not make you an SEO expert, but if you make sure your website is submitted to the main search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and use the tips above this will put you ahead of the game. If you understand the basics, then you can utilize a tool out there on the market, most of which are offered now as Software as a Service to help you increase your rankings by following their recommendations. If this is Greek to you, then hire an SEO professional to help you. To know if paying $200-$500 a month is worth it – you need to ask yourself what a lead or sale is worth. If your traffic and your revenue increases from using a tool or a professional and covers the cost, then you have your answer.
I had the pleasure of participating in a forum where start-ups presented to Angel Investors several times a few years ago. Since I am a huge fan of the Dragon’s Den, this was like a mini-version but up front and personal.
Since one of our services is working with small business and introducing investors, it was a great exercise to listen to the presentations and try to figure out myself why one company would hold an interest for investors and another one would not. It is hard when you see how much the founder believes in and is passionate about what he/she is presenting and wonders why investors are not flocking to them. Since that time I have been asked by a couple people about my thoughts concerning investors and what they are looking for, so I thought I would share this hoping it might help an entrepreneur seeking investment in tightening up their story/plan before approaching an investor.
These tips have been developed through my work with the financial community. Remember to keep in mind that approximately only 1 in 10 start-ups actually succeed and that investors are looking for that 1, not the other 9.
10 Tips to Consider Before Looking for Investment
Of course since the Dragon’s Den is on television, there is drama added to keep the interest of the viewer, but the investors sitting there and the comments that are given are exactly what you can expect minus Kevin O’Leary yelling at you that he wants to make money , you are a wing nut or he wants you to evaporate. How many times do you watch and see someone unprepared, someone ask for a million dollars without any of their own investment or a product or revenue, or someone not have the background or expertise and are looking for a Dragon to take their idea, the risk and invest their personal money? Private equity is a business and any Angel or Venture Capitalist is not investing in your business out of the kindness of their heart. They are looking to make a profit. For the investment, they also can help a business as well with contacts, marketing, distribution or other requirements – but the bottom line they are doing this to help increase their profits.
Before you ask someone to take a risk in you and your business, make sure you have all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed so that you find the right investor and the money you need to help your business take off.
RK Fischer & Associates