This past week was filled with trying something new almost every day. As a child, change was easy to me. I lived in 12 different homes (with my parents) before I was in 7th grade. In 2nd grade I went to three different schools. This week I had to reflect on the question "Is trying something new the same as change?". I love using Chat GPT for these type of questions. Yes, trying something new is related to change but not the same.
When you try something new, you are introducing a change in your behavior, routine, or experience. So, trying something new is a specific type of change. It typically involves deliberately seeking a different experience, experimenting with new ideas or activities, or stepping outside your comfort zone to explore uncharted territory. While trying something new is a form of change, not all changes involve trying something new. Some changes may occur naturally or as a result of external factors, and they might not necessarily involve the deliberate choice to do something different. -ChatGPT
After doing multiple things that were new to me this week, here are three recommendations to encourage you to try something new.
GET OUT OF COMFORT
I have to admit, I was very anxious over the things that I had said "Yes" to that would take me out of my comfort zone. After leading 45 businesses through a daytime trick or treat experience which I had never attended, I felt more confident about event planning than I would have if I had stayed in my comfort zone.
MEET NEW PEOPLE
Typically when you try something new you experience people that you might not otherwise have met. This week when I sponsored the lunch & learn at a local chamber, I was unsure my business was big enough to be sponsoring it. I couldn't believe how supportive people were and I realized I would have never have met these people if I hadn't tried something new.
EXPERIENCE A NEW ENVIRONMENT
I have taken on a few hours a week to go into a manufacturing facility to do a service. I was so glad they didn't tell me where I was being assigned because I may not have done it. I am putting on safety glasses, earplugs and steel toe shoes and walking the manufacturing floor. This week I was on my own to perform the service. All of my senses were impacted by this new experience. It gave me encouragement about how many more new experiences I am able to do when I let myself try something new.
What is something new you tried this week?
Thanks for reading!
You made it through another week. What were your celebrations and your struggles related to your workforce? In my role as a business consultant and the interim Executive Director of a local Chamber of Commerce, every day I connect with leaders in the community. They all have very similar experiences related to their workforce and this week I heard a lot of struggles around building the team. When to hire? How to be competitive with benefits? When to let someone go? When will I get back to working on the core activities of my position? Here are a few thoughts from my experience building teams that I hope will give you hope if you also are facing workforce struggles.
EVALUATE THE JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Who do you need to do the work of your business? Start to list all the skills and experience that is needed for the various roles that will make your business operate. How do you package these skills into a job description(s) that you could use to recruit top talent? Don't forget to include a job description for yourself. I work a lot with small business owners and I encourage them to develop FAQs that could be used for a receptionist or even on a website that help customers know what to expect, what information is needed on an order and what products are sold there. I also encourage everyone to use calendar scheduling software (such as Calendly and WeSparkle) to reduce the back and forth of scheduling meetings or appointments. Lastly, voluntary health benefits are a great opportunity to support your hiring top talent with no direct cost to your business.
WHERE ARE THE EMPLOYEES?
Business leaders need to be creative. The traditional job board posting may not be how you fill roles you have. Outsourcing accounting, human resources, marketing and administration is a great opportunity to develop your back-office functions without the overhead of many employees. Part-time can be something people are interested in and could develop into full-time. Don't forget about temp agencies. There was a season where I was trying to hire a research accountant. We were realizing we were going to have hire a successful accountant and train them for a research accountant role because there weren't experienced research accountants in the applicant pools. We made an investment into an accounting recruitment agency and were successful to get four employees who brought great value to our team in a short period of time. Three of them have been promoted from where they started and are still at the institution we hired them into. This was 6 years ago. Recruitment agencies can provide value to your hiring barriers.
LETTING EMPLOYEES GO
Having to let employees go is the top reason that business leaders don't hire. So what do you do? I have experience with this both in my own retail shop and also as a manager of a large higher education department. I'm very passionate that if you have an employee who with coaching continues to bring a negative energy to the team, they must go. Be clear of expectations. Keep facts, not emotions of their behavior and the impact it has on the team. Get human resource guidance to ensure the departure is compliant to employment laws. If you don't have the work to pay for an employee and need to let them go, help your employees find another position with referrals and/or help them get to their next promotion. I do encourage you to know when you need to hire for your own mental health. You will get through whatever happens after the hire.
Thank you for reading. Was this helpful? What ways have developed a workforce? Have a great weekend!
For the past few years we have been active in the community learning about the barriers that small business owners face in running their business.
What we continued to see in all industries is the burden on small business owners to either do all their own back-office tasks and/or navigate multiple outsource entities in order to put together their back-office business solutions.
We are excited to launch My Back-Office Agency campaign providing four back-office functions that Faith, Owner, Goenner Consulting, LLC has over 20+ years of leading both in the public sector and her own entrepreneur journey.
We are now offering back-office business solutions of human resources, accounting, marketing and administration. Outsourcing back-office functions allows business owners to streamline their operations, reduce overhead, and focus on core activities to increase revenue.
With a monthly membership, we will be providing small businesses with business solutions that are developed uniquely for each business' needs.
Gold - Get all four back-office business solutions.
Silver - Get two (2) back-office business solutions.
Bronze - Get one (1) back-office business solution.
Happy Friday! I'm writing today to the business owners and managers who are exhausted by their lack of employees; the ones they have aren't the best; their high-performers are most likely looking for a new job. The reality of having a dream team may be far from your thoughts, but today's reflections are a few encouragements that you can have a DREAM TEAM REALITY.
START WITH YOU
The leadership of your business starts with you. Your ability to find healthy ways to keep going will benefit everyone. You notice this doesn't doesn't say time for yourself, you don't have this. Look around your business right now, what makes you happy? Is there a genre of music you could play in your office? Is there a non-alcoholic beverage that you could have stocked for yourself? Can you listen to a motivating podcast during your day? Can you go for a walk at the top of the hour? Focus on yourself so that you are refreshed to lead everyday. As I write this, I am seeing a super busy business owner of a very successful coffee shop. Being busy is a good thing, right? Well, she definitely was short-staffed as she was preparing a catering order and helping the customers at the counter, but the space was so beautiful with great music and I noticed she was drinking a favorite non-alcoholic beverage that wasn't sold at her business. (Emphasis on non-alcoholic because I know most people do think about their favorite alcoholic beverage during stressful times.)
YOU AREN'T ALONE
As I went full-time consulting a few months ago, I had no idea the stories I would hear from small business and nonprofit leaders and be able to emphasize for how hard it is to lead your own business. Many employees and customers don't realize the pressure when the weight of the business is on you. You may feel alone in your organization, but you aren't alone. I know there is a community of other business leaders in your area. I hope there is a supportive Chamber of Commerce and opportunities to take a break with other business leaders. Take time each week to find a group of business leaders that you can connect with or better yet, start your own. It takes a village, even for your business.
Please call 988 if you or someone you know is in crisis or suicidal.
This week I went to a education event around fraud in businesses and it was so disheartening to hear about how much is stolen from employees. Recently I heard a story of having to fire a very good employee because they were caught on camera stealing. Stealing something that had they asked they needed it, the employer would have most likely given it to them. So what does this have to do with employee engagement? If you don't know what your employees may be going through in their personal lives, you might want to find out. I don't mean going on the shop floor and asking them "Is everything ok at home?", but taking time to meet them and learn more about them on a consistent basis. Is your business to big for you to do this? I recently heard about Marketplace Chaplains and they have care partners to support your employees in their personal lives so they can keep being successful at work.
What did I miss in helping business owners and leaders keep going amidst the labor shortage, higher material costs and burn-out?
I'd love to hear your story, send me a LinkedIn message or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a restful weekend and I appreciate you!
The word of this past week was TEAM. Every day I seemed to be reading or hearing about another small business closing due to the lack employees and/or turnover. Although I know a lot of factors go into the shortage of employees, I do know that it is an employee market and if you aren't bringing the best culture and leadership to your business, you could be facing a breakdown in the success of your team.
After meeting with my business coach, Kelly, Resiliency Coaching, for the 3rd version of my business plan for Goenner Consulting, LLC, I am ready to return to my career of building strong teams.
Here are three characteristics that a strong team should have.
We are experiencing unprecedented situations in our world right now. Both leadership and employees must be able to navigate their personal and professional situations and be resilient. How can you build a resilient culture? Feeling safe is the most important atmosphere that can cultivate resilient teams. Also leadership that is able to be authentic and open to change and innovation, even if they don't like it.
People are committed when they see what is in it for them. Many of the new generations entering the workforce aren't interested in working just for a paycheck, but want to know what are they contributing to. Businesses that are able to have employees be involved in community activities will see more committed employees. Being able to support employees who are going through difficult personal seasons can also strengthen a team to be committed.
Team success can have a lot of variables. For the business owner it could be the bottom-line financially, for the employee it could be that they are growing in their career and for managers it could be that their team is able to make their goals. No matter what the measure of success, the business will be successful when all measures of success are celebrated.
Is your team broken? Are you frustrated by high-turnover and/or low performing employees? Make sure to follow me as I will be pouring out my heart as I pivot my consulting to focus on building resilient, committed and successful teams.
Thank you for reading.
P.S. Did you know we have YouTube, check out a video from this morning.
The primary value of Goenner Consulting, LLC is empathy because owner Faith knows what it looks like to lead employees and deliver to customers.
Faith launched a one-of-a-kind retail shop and sold it a few years later. She knows first-hand how hard it can be owning a business and leading a team with projects that don't fit into any other position, except yours. We can help you.
Don't worry about how you would utilize Goenner Consulting, LLC for the project that came to your mind when we asked what keeps you up at night. We will discover this together.
We would like to find out what is going on in your world, whether or not you have something keeping you up at night.
Please give us a call at 612-819-7441 or use the online scheduler link to find a 30-minute time that works for you.
Do something fun in August and let us know what you did.
When two people in a 48-hour period ask you about your business plan, it catches your attention. I know you are asking, "You don't have a business plan?". Yes I have a business plan in my head but nope I haven't written it down. I have written down my vision, but the light bulb moment for me this week is the business plan is the vision on steroids. I am reminded in Habakkuk 2, God tells us the importance of writing down the vision.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 NLT Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
I know how to write a business plan and I had a business plan for my pregnancy shop and spa. I even presented it for a local business competition. To be honest I haven't written the business plan because I was "testing" implementing before writing the business plan. How is this working for me? It isn't. I'm going to write down the business plan.
Where are you in your business plan? Here are three reasons to have a written business plan when you start your business and even if you have had the business running for years.
TRACTION TO THE VISION
A business plan will allow you to get some traction on the problem you want to solve and make money at solving. You will be able to describe what you want to solve by describing the problem and even providing data and/or articles that support the need and that people will pay for it. I know when I was working on my pregnancy shop & spa's business plan it opened my eyes to more information regarding the maternity retail and healthcare space. It made me better at interacting with experts as I learned about their barriers that my business could solve. I even incorporated some interviews as part of my business plan. It was so helpful in the traction of getting the business going.
THE LANGUAGE OF ENTREPRENEURS
As I mentioned in a 48-hour period two entrepreneur leaders asked me about my business plan. Yep, you can't talk to any entrepreneur expert without them asking you about your business plan. This can be a business coach, banker, small business government program, accountant or attorney. As a small business owner who is focused on solving a problem this can seem overwhelming to actually write down your business plan. Here are the seven questions you want to answer. Be authentic and let this business plan do what it needs to do but with your style. Official titles are listed in parenthesis. This isn't an exclusive list, but one to get you started.
A LIVING BUSINESS DOCUMENT
The business plan isn't something that you should put on a shelf once you get it completed. This document should grow and innovate along with your business. As entrepreneurial professionals ask for your business plan, it should be up-to-date and be open to feedback as they review it. It will allow you to measure your growth, identify barriers and celebrate success as you build your business.
Thanks for reading, do you have a business plan story? I'd like to hear about it.
I can't believe how much information is thrown at small businesses. All the information is intended to be helpful but it becomes too much and difficult for anyone to make decisions. From social media strategies, financial resources, investor pitch competitions and government programs it all becomes a huge opportunity that requires analysis to determine what is right for your business. In the end, how to do you know what to do?
I am a small business owner and as a small business consultant I have been following relevant entities that support small businesses. My Facebook feed is full of trainings, software and other items that claim to drive customers and crack-the-code of limitations. What good is this if you don't have a solid business launched yet? So how does someone get their a solid business launched? One step-at-a-time.
I recently joined a Facebook group of women small business owners. It was a fantastic group, but a bit too large for my comfort. What I loved about the group is women were showing their websites and/or sharing their business vision and were getting feedback. Not just "looks good" or "needs improvement", but tangible feedback with changes to make it better. I also saw many other small businesses offering to help them. This is the type of small business community that will help entrepreneurs be successful.
This may be a bit off our topic for today's topic, but I have to challenge small businesses to shop at small businesses. I recently heard a small business ordering printing from an online company instead of ordering from their local print shop. Lets shop local even when we see we can save a few bucks online.
Back to the topic, here are the three must-have's every small business owner needs. The rest will organically fall into place as you build your business with your expertise and vision.
You will not operate your business successfully without an accountant, an attorney and insurance companies. The landscape is changing and you must make sure that you have the professional expertise to navigate your finances, legal matters and insurance. The accountant will help you with payroll, taxes, budget, accounts payable, accounts receivable and other financial matters. Your attorney will help you with establishing your business, contracts and/or other legal matters your business encounters. You may need one or more insurance companies that will handle your business liability insurance, cyber insurance, medical insurance and other voluntary benefit insurances. Make sure you shop around and are comfortable with the professionals and/companies you will be working with. When you encounter a situation you will want someone that makes you feel safe, heard and supported.
It is hard for me, even as a small business owner with marketing expertise, to see how much time we spend in marketing when we could be working on our business. I understand starting out the budget is limited but as you obtain traction invest in marketing expertise. Another way to talk about marketing is your brand. Being able to have a cohesive online and print messaging will build loyalty to your products and/or services. What do I do? I am still doing my own online marketing, but I use my locally owned Minuteman Press for all promo and print materials (double-sided business cards, pens, notebooks, clothing and more).
BUSINESS PEER COMMUNITY
In a previous article I talked about the importance of community. This community can be a chamber, a mastermind group, a local entrepreneur group or one that you put together for your own needs. What this community will do is allow you to talk and have others understand what you are saying. Most people who are employees don't ever understand what the decisions and/or challenges their employer faces. You will also bring your expertise to be able to support other small businesses. You are not lonely at the top.
Thanks for reading, I hope you got something out of this and I would love to hear your thoughts. Have a great weekend.
My weekly chamber connections had us break up in small groups and discuss the advice we were given in our current career. I was with an electrician working for his dad's company and an IT guru who owns an IT company. They shared work hard and don't stop learning. Great advice!
Whenever I am asked the advice I was given, I always remember a mentor of mine said "It is lonely at the top.". I had no idea what this meant until I found myself as the owner of a pregnancy retail shop and spa. From launching, growing and implementing the vision many days I remembered my mentor's words of loneliness. I did have a lot resources and so many people who wanted to be a partner with their own business to my business, but not an active partner in leading my business. When I had to make the difficult decision to either close or sell the business, it was a tough decision because I had two fantastic young employees who would be displaced with this change. I was so grateful that I found someone who was interested in buying the business and rebranding it to a new city. I supported my employees in their next season and I am so proud of both of them in their success of owning their own businesses.
So this week has been a reflection of making sure that it isn't lonely at the top for my new consulting business. More importantly that I know how my consulting business can be the active partner that brings value to small businesses and nonprofits.
Here are three opportunities of community to make sure that it isn't lonely at the top for you:
As you close out this week and prepare for next week, I challenge you next week to connect your business with community that wants your business to succeed. Your advice won't be "It is lonely at the top.".
Thank you for reading. Please share how you make connections in your business next week.
I have empathy for the demands of the small business and nonprofit leadership however I hear in my day-to-day life from so many employees that they wished their employer offered benefits. I do live in a world of small businesses and nonprofits, so I am mostly hearing from employees of these type of organizations.
What is keeping small businesses and nonprofits from offering voluntary health benefits to their employees?
Here is what I have been hearing as I am out working in the field. I don't always get a chance to meet with the leaders to go deeper to understand their point-of-view, but from what I have heard I am sharing in the first Weekly Reflection by Faith newsletter.
Why small businesses and nonprofits have said they aren't offering benefits.*
"Lack of financial resources to contribute." - Yes, this make sense when you see the high cost of healthcare and you think that employees want you to contribute to it, it is easy to brush this off. What if your employees just want to have the opportunity to have financial protection for their paycheck, an accident, a disease or death.
"No time to implement." - Yes, we understand this also when we know the demands of small business and nonprofit leaders. What if you knew there was benefits company that would not only provide the voluntary benefits, but also provide benefit counselors and the infrastructure to implement with systems you are already using. Why would you say "no"?
"I asked the employees if they wanted voluntary health benefits that they will pay for and they said "no"." Yes, that makes sense especially if they didn't have all the details of what the benefits were and the rates. Get the facts including rates and invite a representative to explain the products to your employees so they can make a good decision.
Quality employees are an asset to your business. Small businesses and nonprofits can be competitive with benefits to retain and recruit quality employees.
We look forward to hearing your feedback.
Written by Faith