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Articles filed under Kendall, Jim

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  • New rules affect job application process, pregnant employees Jul 7, 2014 8:07 AM
    Jim Kendall' focuses on two pieces of legislation that will change the way small businesses deal with job applicants and pregnant employees.

  • Learning, leveraging differences can build stronger team Jun 30, 2014 5:03 AM
    I’m generally skeptical of those HR-related tests that purport to provide takers with insights about themselves, though I did learn a few things from the Myers-Briggs personality indicator test I once took. Myers-Briggs, the DISC personal assessment program and the BOSI Entrepreneurial DNA assessment tools have their backers. Yet a new entry in the genre, Entrepreneurial Dimensions Profile (EDP), is intriguing because it offers a way for business owners to make assessments that will allow them to structure their companies for maximum performance. Introduced 15 months ago by the Leadership Development Institute at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida, and available locally through the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Elgin Community College, the EDP “recognizes that the differences between people can be a tremendous asset — or get in the way,” says Jennifer Hall, director of coaching and feedback at the Institute. The distinction, Hall says, “depends on (the entrepreneur’s) ability to recognize and leverage differences” into an effective team. Taken online but assessed in personal conversations with either Hall or Sybil Ege, SBDC director at ECC, the EDP gauges individual strengths and weaknesses in both personality and skills. In a team setting — a management group or the next generation taking control of a family business, for example — “understanding the strengths and weaknesses of group members can be very useful,” Ege says. Benjie Hughes would agree. CEO at Backthird Audio Inc., an Aurora recording studio-professional musician management business, his senior team numbers two — Hughes included. There are three in the office, but two carry the bulk of the responsibility, Hughes says. He and Anna Hammond, Backthird Audio’s managing director, took the EDP assessment to determine how to identify and take advantage of their different abilities. So far, so good. The EDP assessment is helping the two recognize and build on each other’s strengths. EDP “gave the two of us a common language,” Hammond says. “He’s a vision and ideas guy. I focus on the small picture. “My long-term planning is October. Benjie’s is 2018.” “We looked at our internal operations, how we get things done in the office,” Hughes says. “I generate ideas. Anna takes those ideas and connects them. ” As a result of the EDP assessment, “We’re revamping our project process,” Hughes says. “We have a freer sense of our roles. We’re figuring things out.” Among the things Hughes has learned is that “I need to leverage people who are better at execution. (That would be Hammond, mostly.) And I have to learn to be more patient.” The process and analysis “has enabled me to look ahead and not feel overwhelmed,” Hammond explains. “Now I play to my strengths (and) we’re a lot more focused” as a two-person team. Hammond’s strengths include sometimes slowing Hughes down. “I wasn’t giving pushback,” she says. Now, however, Hammond will push back when necessary and Hughes understands — a tangible result of the EDP process. • © 2014 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter, and at Kendall Communications on Facebook. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com.

  • Social media can help level business playing field Jun 23, 2014 6:12 AM
    Sue Kirchner believes small businesses can level the playing field that the big guys dominate, but time and effort will be needed. So will some social media expertise, she says. “Small businesses need social media,” said Kirchner, president of Brand Strong Marketing Inc., Palatine. “They need to market their company, to be noticed online. They need a web presence, not just a website.” Social media isn't a selling channel, Kirchner says; instead, it's a place to build relationships that can lead to sales. That's why presence matters. “If you want clients (and prospects) to find you, you must have a presence on the web that tells your story,” Kirchner says. That presence, she maintains, comes via social media — which, in Kirchner's storytelling sense, are akin to mini websites. Kirchner is a believer that social media — a process most everyone talks about but few are comfortable implementing — can make a difference. She has some suggestions. “You want to spend your social media time where your customers are,” Kirchner says. If, for example, you have a business page on Facebook but your customers are using SlideShare (a LinkedIn unit that allows you to share content) or Pinterest, you may need to rethink your social media presence. Finding where your customers congregate on social media is a process similar to researching marketplace needs. Survey Monkey may be the tool that gets information, Kirchner says. So, she adds, might a cup of coffee with a customer or two. “Ask them 'What's up?'” Kirchner says. “Ask what projects they're working on, what's happening in their business or industry.” Assess the information you gain and you'll be able to develop a profile of your customers that includes their social media preferences. Take a similar approach on the web, where it's easier to reach a greater number of people. “Search for conversations online,” Kirchner says. “Look for LinkedIn groups that are interested in your topics. “Find a logistics conversation (if that's your focus) and join the group,” Kirchner says. “Find a marketing conversation that fits you. Join the group. “Target one or two groups on LinkedIn and spend 20 minutes a week getting into conversations, getting your name in front of people.” Another Kirchner option: Your blog. A blog, Kirchner says, “is a forum to share your thought leadership, especially in B2B sectors. Use your blog for a case story. Get your name, or your business' name, connected positively with business issues and ideas.” Once a week is a good blog frequency, Kirchner says; twice a month works if time gets squeezed Blog content matters, especially because “Google has changed its search algorithms,” Kirchner says. “Content is key.” Three hundred to 500 words is a good blog length, according to Kirchner. Of course, you'll want someone to read your blog thoughts. “You'll spend 20 percent of your time writing the blog, 80 percent promoting the post,” Kirchner says. • © 2014 Kendall Communications, Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter, and at Kendall Communications on Facebook. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com.

  • Process for business’ potential sale moves forward Jun 16, 2014 6:11 AM
    A small business owner shares his thoughts and experiences so other entrepreneurs thinking of selling have some information.

  • How to protect your business from hackers Jun 9, 2014 4:55 AM
    Apparently there’s no such thing as being too small a business to be hacked. Columnist Jim Kendall looks at this trend and what to do to prevent hacking.

  • Decision to move business ‘was not easy,’ partner says Jun 2, 2014 5:02 AM
    There are certain steps common to most business moves. Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall talks to a motorcycle dealership about his move.

  • Owner mines LinkedIn for connections, prospects May 26, 2014 5:00 AM
    Ned Miller is a LinkedIn believer, calling the business social media site “a God send for the small business owner.” Small Business Columnis Jim Kendall looks at the issue.

  • A disconnect: What you say, what employees hear May 19, 2014 5:07 AM
    Aargh! The strategic approach you described to your sales team on Monday became five different approaches on Tuesday, though each sales person believed he, or she, was in step with the program.

  • One question every start up entrepreneur must answer May 12, 2014 7:49 AM
    Regardless of the product or service, every starting-up entrepreneur must answer this question: Will someone write a check — actually buy the great idea you’re planning to bring to the marketplace?

  • Owners could be missing out on retirement dollars May 5, 2014 4:56 AM
    Business owners could be leaving mounds of retirement dollars behind, simply because they don’t know all the options.Small Business Columnis Jim Kendall looks at the topic.

  • Senior creates senior services Web company Apr 28, 2014 5:54 AM
    Mark Snow has introduced two cloud-based document storage services based on his own needs, which may turn out to be a nice happenstance for others as well.

  • Try selling your solution, not your product Apr 21, 2014 9:01 AM
    Not quite random thoughts about small businesses: • Remember what you’re selling, which for the more successful among us most often is a solution to a customer’s problem. If you run a hardware store, you’re helping customers solve plumbing problems or lawn care issues. If you’re a sales consultant, you’re selling a way to help your prospect’s sales team improve its numbers, not a sales training package. Selling a solution to a problem is different from pitching a widget or other product — and requires a different selling approach. You have to know what’s bothering your prospect; the glories of your widgets aren’t enough. I like the question manufacturing sage Paul Heinze (Paul M. Heinze Co., Barrington Hills) asks early in his conversations: What keeps you awake at night? • Form strategic alliances. Own a restaurant? Offer the most popular flavors sold by the local ice cream parlor for dessert; promote them with a tent card on your tables. In return, the store can put up a poster for your restaurant and each week hold a drawing for a free dinner at your place. If yours is a breakfast stop, work a similar alliance with an up-and-coming local bakery. • Know your referrers and treat them like the important people they are. For many of us, especially service providers, our referral base is the key to success. That means a thank-you note to the accountant who referred one of her clients to you; the same to a municipal economic planner who suggested your services to a potential new business in town and to the consultant who brought you in on an assignment. Treat your best referral sources to lunch. Remember, however, that the best thank you is a return referral: If you have a client looking for IT help or a reliable auto repair shop, think first of the folks who’ve helped you. • More mothers are staying home with the kids, although 71 percent of all U.S. mothers work outside the home. And, perhaps sadly, a growing number of Moms are home because they can’t find a job — six percent today compared to one percent in 2000 according to the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. Still, if Moms are your market, there might be an opportunity in, for example, Mother-and-baby exercise classes or baby-sitting services. With annual household incomes of about $130,000, working mothers not surprisingly have more money to spend. Trying offering many of the same services evenings or weekends. • Know your market, not only so you can provide the products or services your customers want but so you know how to reach them. Sell to seniors? Provide senior-oriented services? You likely can reach the 65-plus crowd on the Internet. Pew says that almost 60 percent of seniors use the Internet; more than 70 percent are on every day. Slightly more than 25 percent even use social networking sites. Ideas perking yet? • © 2014 Kendall Communications, Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter, and at Kendall Communications on Facebook. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com.

  • The Millennials are coming. Will we be ready? Apr 14, 2014 5:00 AM
    More than preceding generations, maybe even more than the Baby Boomers, Millennials will impact how we manage our businesses. Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the topic.

  • How one entrepreneur is selling his business Apr 7, 2014 6:04 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall evaluates how one owner is selling his business.

  • Business owners become social media marketing believers Mar 31, 2014 5:04 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the topic that social media could be one of your business’ most effective marketing tools.

  • From 'incredibly awkward' to making more money Mar 24, 2014 7:32 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the GGOB: From 'incredibly awkward' to making more money.

  • The Great Game of Business is a game you might want to play Mar 17, 2014 5:16 AM
    The Great Game of Business really isn’t a game. Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the principles developed by Jack Stack in a desperate (and successful) attempt to turn around a failing International Harvester remanufacturing facility.

  • Good news: The speaker being introduced is you Mar 10, 2014 9:36 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall talks to two experts about their thoughts on successful speech giving.

  • Successful team building needs strategic goals right team Mar 3, 2014 5:46 AM
    There's nothing like the word “team building” to get conversation going at a business luncheon — or, apparently, to provide fodder for business and management book authors and other assorted gurus. Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the topic.

  • Feeling isolated? Peer groups provide support Feb 24, 2014 7:52 AM
    Small business columnist Jim Kendall takes a look at peer groups where noncompeting business owners gather to share insights and experiences.

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