Full Employment Economy

How to Survive and Thrive in a Full-Employment Economy

Just like the real estate market sometimes it’s a buyer’s market and sometimes it’s a seller’s market.

Employment is cyclical too.

When unemployment is high, employers have all the power and can often put the company first in capital deployment knowing that if they lose an employee, there is a long line of qualified others to take their place.

Full Employment Economy

However, when employment is tight (as it is now) and near or at full-employment, the ball swings in favor of the employee—they know there are ample opportunities out there if they were to leave. For top-notch, talented employees, they can often write their own ticket during a hot economy where there are more job openings than there are people to fill them.

What’s an employer to do, especially small and medium businesses that don’t have the deep pockets the large companies have? There are a number of things you can do:

  1. Offer employees more perks.
  2. Use HR best practices.
  3. Lower other costs to generate more money to redirect toward your employees.

Offer More Perks To Improve Retention

This can be a small thing, like switching to gourmet coffee or offering free soda, or it can be something big, like treating your employees to a catered-in lunch once a week or once a month. Have a weekly employee drawing, the winner of which gets to pick the restaurant or caterer to supply the lunch.

Wellness-related benefits will also go a long way for both you and your business. Most small businesses cannot afford to sponsor gym memberships for their employees but occasionally they can bring in healthy smoothies or a trainer for stress management or for yoga to help elevate your team.

Offer Productivity-Based Rewards

Don’t forget merit or productivity-based rewards. Gift certificates, company logo-wear or swag, and time off are all good ways to show your valued employees you appreciate their efforts and consider them important and vital to your company’s success.

Appreciation & Recognition Goes a Long Way

Another perk: a simple “thank-you.” Never underestimate the power of appreciation and letting someone (publicly) know it. Get down on the line once in a while and find out from the foreman who’s doing a great job among their teams and publicly thank them, make them feel as important as they are to your company and to its success. Let them know you appreciate them going the extra mile, and by all means, let them know that if they ever have any ideas for improvements in productivity or safety in their jobs, you’ll be all ears.

Speaking of improvements, offer a bonus for any productivity, safety or other valuable suggestions that an employee suggests and the company ends up implementing.

You win three times:

(a) The employee feels more important and typically will put in extra effort,

(b) You receive increased productivity, which helps improve your bottom line, and

(c) You motivate others to take a closer look at how they are working and to make additional suggestions. In other words, you get another opportunity to put more money on your bottom-line or apply back to your valued employees.

Another perk your employees are going to want to see is some sort of employer-offered retirement plan. According to Fidelity –a giant securities brokerage firm:

There are 4 types of retirement plans that small-business owners might consider:

  1. Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP IRA).
  2. Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE IRA).
  3. Self Employed 401(k) plan.
  4. 401(k) plan (better for larger companies given setup costs, administration, fiduciary responsibilities, etc.).

Next, we will focus only on the first 3, which are generally more suitable for very small businesses—typically, 100 employees or less.

Why have a small-business retirement plan?

There are 3 compelling reasons:

  1. Your plan not only helps secure your future—it may be the primary way your employees can help secure theirs.
  2. Offering a small business retirement plan helps make your business competitive when it comes to attracting and keeping good employees.
  3. There are potential tax benefits to offering a plan because plan contributions for the business owner are deductible as a business expense.

This article does not pretend to come from tax experts or advisors, so please contact a CPA, attorney or HR expert for assistance in picking and setting up an employee retirement plan.

Ask your employees for perk suggestions. I’ll bet you get 100% participation AND some great ideas. You might even add a bonus to this too. Depending on the suggestion, maybe you can offer a bonus for the best idea or allow the employee to take time off their regular duties to plan and implement their idea. They’re going to love you for this one!

Leverage Best HR Practices

What exactly are HR best practices? Who knows? Most small and medium businesses probably have no clue. They can’t afford a full-time HR person or department and the cost to keep them up-to-date on the latest in HR best practices. Many of them will choose (or have no choice) but to just wing it. Winging it is not the solution; in fact, it’s not a solution.

Keeping your fingers crossed and hoping you don’t screw up your hiring, firing, and everyday HR issues aren’t going to work in this age of litigation and constantly changing rules. Your company needs a professional HR talent and ideas, whether you can afford it or not.

How can you have something you can’t afford? Easy, by purchasing it by the drip. Of course, many small businesses can’t afford an HR professional or staff. That could easily run you $60,000 or more, and most companies just can’t afford that. The solution: only buy what you need. Hire a part-time, outsourced, freelance HR person or company.

You Are Going To Love This

A freelance HR assistance is easy to find and easier on the pocketbook. They can provide such things as an employee handbook, employee record tracking systems, best practices, and be at the end of a phone call for almost any need you may have whether it is hiring, firing, or ideas to retain and reward key employees. You can obtain all this for a fraction of the cost of a full-time HR staff but with all the benefits!

How to know which HR outsourcing individual or firm to go with? Well, there are a couple of ways. Use an online freelance service like guru.com, Upwork, or Freelancer and pay special attention to the reviews posted on these sites, and possibly even call a couple of their long-term customers and ask about their experience.

Of course, you can just Google something like “freelance HR” or “part-time HR services” or you can select a freelance HR service from someone who has done the vetting for you like Concerto Marketplace (www.concertomarketplace.com). This company has researched and vetted not only outsourced HR services but more than 70 other products and services too. Learn more about Concerto Marketplace in the next section.

Lower Costs, Generate More Money and Redirect The Funds Toward Your Employees

How long has it been since you reviewed pricing with your suppliers or payment terms?

We recommend giving them a call to discuss your long relationship and history of on-time payments.

Ask for a little bit of price reduction based on your strong partnership.

Likely Positive Outcomes

They might adjust your rate card up to the next bigger customer level. They aren’t going to want to lose a good customer, so they’ll likely be willing to speak to you.

Ask for More Favorable Payment Terms

Asking for payment terms can give you a quick 1-2% discounts over 10-30 days, which is equivalent to much higher savings.

For example, if you receive a 1% discount for paying in 10 days rather than your usual 30 (1/10 net 30), essentially you are receiving an annualized 18% return on your money. Similarly, 2/10 net 30-terms gives you a 36% return.

Now, that’s hard cash with long-term benefits that you can use to keep your employees happy and wanting to stay put.

Everything we mentioned previously applies to general and administrative (G&A) expenses as well.

Negotiating lower prices like we discussed in the previous section is great, but what if you have a large number of suppliers of your G&A expenses?

You probably don’t have the resources to call all those suppliers and enter into discussions with them. Even prioritizing them by largest spend and calling the large ones first is time-consuming and may not be viable. Also, many small and medium businesses don’t have the volume necessary to ask for discounts, so what do you do?

Bulk Pricing Discounts Without Volume Purchasing Requirements

Wouldn’t it be great to combine your spend with other small and medium businesses to obtain lower prices based upon larger volumes? However, how? What if someone has done that for you? Wouldn’t you want to take advantage of the opportunity?

Great news – they have! Concerto Marketplace has done just that, not only with G&A products but also with commonly used services. Concerto Marketplace can become your one-stop shopping place for most everything and assist you in selecting a best-in-class outsourced freelance HR company.

Lowering your business costs is a good idea anytime, but what better incentive than now when you need more money to target toward keeping and retaining skilled and trained employees, so take the above steps NOW to free up some cash to redirect toward your employees.

Don’t wait until the business down the street hires them away from you with these same ideas. It might be too late to do anything about it.

Start today! Good luck and good savings!

About the Authors: JR & Liz are partners in Concerto Marketplace, a company which helps small and medium businesses save money by combining their spend to get volume discount pricing on over 70 products and services with the objective of assisting them to increase their profits. JR is a CPA and has over 35 years of business management, financial management, and entrepreneurship experience. He can be reached at [email protected] Liz is an operational and customer service professional who has helped startups through Fortune500 companies be successful in implementing their core business strategies. Liz can be reached at [email protected]

Dashlane Password Manager: Advanced Password Protection For All Your Digital Data

It’s no longer enough to store your passwords in your “Notes” App. You need a safe, secure place to store all your sensitive and personal information, namely your passwords. Enter Dashlane, the cloud-based password manager that’s changing the game for how we store, manage and secure our passwords across platforms.

In this article, you’ll discover why Dashlane is our top pick for protecting your digital property online.

Prolific Time Management Tips: 5 Tips to Trick Your Brain into Giving You Even More Time in Your Day

Is it really already November? Days are getting shorter, the holidays are quickly approaching, and your time seems to be more limited right now than ever before. Wouldn’t it be nice to get even more done in your day?

You’re about to find out how you can:

  • Get even more done throughout your day
  • Stop feeling rushed from one thing to another
  • Begin managing your time even more effectively right now

Get ready for some actionable ways to manage your time even more effectively and get the absolute most out of every day.

Time Management Tips

Time Management Tips To Trick Your Brain Into Giving You More Time!

5 Tips to Trick Your Brain into Giving You, Even More, Time in Your Day

Time Management Tip #1: Ditch the “to do” list and plan it out

Okay, you don’t have to ditch the “to do” list completely, but let’s be honest: lists like this are great to a point — they remind us what we need to do without holding us accountable to doing them. Accountability comes with a plan, which means you need to map out the times in which you’re going to accomplish certain tasks. Invest in a pocket calendar, fill it out thoroughly and refer to it often.

By the way, this applies to more than business. If you want to get to the gym, write it down. What days are you going? At what times?

If penciling in times seems seriously daunting to you, start by prioritizing the tasks on your “to do” list. Rank them 1 to 10 or 1 to one million depending on how many things you’re juggling right now. Then give yourself the sweet satisfaction of drawing a check mark as you complete them one by one.

Time Management Tip #2: Declutter from distractions

Wouldn’t it be nice to get something – anything! – Done in one sitting? It all starts with your space. If you want to complete a personal or professional task promptly, be sure to remove the clutter from your environment. The more distractions, the less progress. Clutter is proven to trigger stress, so do yourself a favor and clear the mess.

And did you know clutter goes beyond your home or workspace? There’s clutter on your electronics too. How many browser tabs do you have open right now? Are all of your apps open on your phone?

Online or offline, you’ll thank yourself for decluttering and making more room for what you want to accomplish.

get expert productivity tips

Time Management Tip #3: Overestimate how long tasks will take you

How often do you set out to do something that seemed so easy only to realize it’s going to take you all day? When you underestimate your tasks, you immediately allow for overwhelm. Instead, give yourself some extra time.

If you initially anticipate something will take you an hour, allow yourself an extra 20 minutes to complete it. This way, you won’t overbook yourself. For larger projects, consider extending your personal due date by a day or two. Similarly, set realistic service level agreements with new clients. Nobody wants to fall short on promises.

When you allow more time for your tasks, you’ll notice you feel less rushed and more focused, and you’ll actually get more done in your day.

Time Management Tip #4: Sound the alarm

You can use alarms for much more than waking up. Set an alarm as a conference call reminder, to tell you when it’s time for your work out, or to remind you when to take a shower. Hey, we’re not here to judge. You can even use alarms to give yourself some old-fashioned “me time.”

For instance, if you want to read a book for an hour but you know there are so many other things you “should be doing,” set an alarm for an hour from now, open that book and get lost in it, and trust that your alarm will remind you when to come back to reality.

Alarms are so helpful it’s actually alarming — in a good way of course.

Time Management Tip #5: Find balance

There are things you love to do, and there are things you’d rather do without. You love spending time with your family, but you hate doing your taxes. You love cooking, but you don’t enjoy cleaning up afterward. So, how do you find the balance between the two and why is this balance so important?

If you only do the things you love, you neglect mundane yet important tasks (like paying your bills on time). If you only do the things you dislike, you’ll fall into that deep, monotonous hole most know as “going through the motions.” But when you balance what you love and what you don’t enjoy as much, you’ll find a greater sense of accomplishment throughout your day.

Now YOU (and Your Brain) are ready to roll into the holidays with ease! Get ready to accomplish even more than ever before and begin feeling the many benefits of managing your time with maximum efficiency.

learn from mistakes

Learning From Mistakes: 70+ Business Leaders Share Their Key Insights on How To Bounce Back From A Business Failure

An engineering professor held up a large book. He told his class that for every question in the book there is provided a solution. However, in the real world, there isn’t an easy answer for every problem. It’s your ability to solve problems that will enable you to face the real world. Successful entrepreneurs tell us that failures will occur. True failure takes place only when you fail to learn and get back up.

Expert Productivity tips

Expert Productivity Tips From 14 Celebrity Entrepreneurs Who Are Crushing It Everyday


Successful and busy entrepreneurs rarely fear work or shun the idea of working hard—but finding enough time in the day is often a significant barrier when you run your own business.

Taking advantage of as many tips, tools, and hacks as you can will help you boost your efficiency and find time in your day you never knew you had.

Small business may have lost the price war, but it’s winning this other battle

Small business may have lost the price war, but it’s winning this other battle

Source: The Business Journals Published October 10,2016

Few contemporary prophecies have stood the test of time better than this one by John Naisbitt.

He wrote in his 1982 watershed book, Megatrends: “The more high-tech, the more high-touch.”

I call that “Naisbitt’s Razor.”

The reason for Naisbitt’s accuracy is simple: High tech, by definition, means digital. But you and I are not the least bit digital. We’re 100 percent analog.

And our analog nature manifests as a desire to connect with — or as Naisbitt says, “touch” — other humans. So the value of touch increases proportionally with the increase in the velocity of our lives.

Digital is fast; analog is not. We may transport ourselves virtually at the speed of digital, but once there, we touch — eye, ear, hand – at the speed of analog.

So how do we reconcile the fact that as high-tech consumers who desire and eagerly adopt each new generation of digital, we’re still, and will always be, analog beings?

One word: Trust.

Nothing is more capable of accelerating with high-tech while simultaneously governing down to high-touch than trust.

Naisbitt didn’t directly address the concept of trust in his book. But I interviewed him twice on my radio program and I think he wouldn’t mind if I expanded his razor to: The more high-tech we have, the more imperative trust becomes.

In another of my favorite books, Built On Trust, by co-author and frequent guest on my radio program, Dr. Arky Ciancutti, I found this: “We are a society in search of trust. The less we find it, the more precious it becomes.”

For millennia, customers did business with the same businesses because they wanted to deal with the same people. We trusted the people first and the company second. In an era where erosion of the high touch of trust is often lamented by customers and employees, there are still places where it not only exists, but was actually born. Where, in contrast to the rest of the contemporary marketplace, trust is still found in abundance.

Those places are almost all on Main Street in the form of small businesses.

With trust now more precious than ever, build the foundation of your small business’s culture on it. And when you can deliver on trust as your North Star, you’ve earned the right to go to market with it.

Here’s an example: Reveal the combined industry tenures of your leadership team (101 years), or the average tenure of your staff (18 years). When prospects see those numbers, they hear T-R-U-S-T.

In one interview on my show, Arky said, “An organization in which people earn one another’s trust, and commands trust from customers, has an advantage.”

Since contemplating that, I’ve maintained that being devoted to trust is not only the right thing to do, it’s a business best practice. Let me explain.

As the velocity of the digital marketplace increases, our business has to move faster, and our stakeholders — employees, vendors, etc. — have to keep up. As one of my vendors, if I can trust you to keep up, that’s a relevance value worth more to me than the competitive price of a low-bidder I don’t know. You just converted trust into higher margins.

In the greater marketplace, where devotion to trust is no longer ubiquitous, small businesses have been handed a rare gift. And all they have to do to claim it is create and leverage the relevance advantage Arky means when he says, “The advantage trust gives your organization is there for the taking, waiting to be harvested. It’s not even low-hanging fruit. It’s lying on the ground.”

You may have heard me say that the Price War is over and small business lost. Well, the Trust War is on, and small business is winning.

Write this on a rock …

To claim that victory you must operate at the speed of trust.

Jim Blasingame is the author of “The Age of the Customer — Prepare for the Moment of Relevance,” and a thought-leader on small business and entrepreneurship. Blasingame helps small businesses have the maximum opportunity to be successful, and teaches big businesses how to speak small business as a second language. He also is the host of the syndicated radio program “The Small Business Advocate Show.”

Excellent article.  Trust is so important in today‘s digital world.  That’s why Concerto GPO shares their trusted, thoroughly vetted and qualified vendor relationships and passes them on to their membership. Concerto members save time, money and simplify their supply chain..  With our ability to help SMB’s lower their costs they may not have lost the price war.  www.concereto-gpo.com.

Decision Making Thoughts

Last night I had trouble getting to sleep.  All the decisions I’d made and all the things needed doing while leading a startup can lead to anxiety if you are not careful.  So instead of counting sheep I decided to count decisions that I had made during the day to see if that would help with  my current insomnia.  It  was an interesting process and culminated in the following discovery about decision making that I’ll share with you here:

  1. IconGood informed decisions are a result of getting the facts, considering the options, mulling it over and then – making a decision.  Oftentimes people can’t  take that final step and I promise you that will lead to sleepless nights.
  2. Then I found the most interesting thing about making decisions.  While thinking about one of the biggest decisions I’d made that day, and a scary one at that, I noticed I was smiling (yup in the dark – in bed) and a peacefulness sort of set in.  The point here is that I found out that by taking a few moments in retrospect to feel good about my decisions brought a clarity, confidence, and a good feeling about the decision I’d made.  This in  turn lead to my final thought I had before falling asleep:
  3. It was then that I realized I was ready, willing, and able to meet the next day head on with determination and confidence that I’d keep making good decisions.

Last decision – I’m going to do this before sleep more often… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz