5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Small Business by Sam Marcum (sam@bizbenefitguide.com)

Mistakes are inevitable in business, especially if you’re new to entrepreneurship. While it’s completely okay to make mistakes and learn from them, taking preventive measures is even better. Learn from the setbacks of all the business owners who came before you! Small business owners tend to make many of the same mistakes, from neglecting their legal responsibilities to overlooking the importance of employee onboarding. Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid as you get your business off the ground.

Think your business is too small to worry about HR? Think again! Human resource management benefits small businesses in several ways. Fit Small Business explains that good HR practices (https://fitsmallbusiness.com/why-is-human-resources-important/) will help you secure top talent, improve employee retention, minimize miscommunication, boost productivity, and avoid compliance issues. You don’t need an internal HR team to enjoy these benefits. If you don’t have the time or resources to handle HR internally, consider outsourcing your HR needs to EBR HR Experts. Our HR consulting experts can help your small business establish strong HR programs, practices, and policies.

Avoiding Traditional Marketing Strategies

Today, many business owners focus all of their marketing efforts on digital strategies. Although digital marketing has incredible value to offer businesses of any size, traditional marketing methods are far from dead. Traditional advertising is still fantastic for raising brand awareness (https://wmkagency.com/blog/traditional-advertising-4-reasons-its-not-dead). Plus, offline advertisements tend to work great for local businesses and companies targeting older demographics.

Business cards are one form of traditional offline advertising that any entrepreneur can use to their advantage. They’re affordable, easy to distribute, great for events, and more visible than an email. Plus, business cards are easy to design when you use pre-made templates. You can find all kinds of tools that let you create business cards online even if you have zero design skills.

Doing Everything Yourself

As a small business owner, it’s normal to wear many hats. But you don’t have to do everything on your own. Often, you’ll get a better return on your investment by outsourcing extra work to freelancers or delegating tasks to employees. Delegate (https://ebrhrexperts.com/task-delegation-for-small-business-owners) time-consuming tasks or projects that require specific skill sets. For example, you can delegate data entry, employee recruitment, HR management, and customer service!

Classifying Employees Incorrectly

Do you know the penalties for misclassifying your employees? Whether or not it’s intentional (https://www.mbopartners.com/blog/misclassification-compliance/employee-misclassification-penalties/) misclassifying employees as independent contractors can put you at risk of paying back taxes and penalties in the future. Misclassifying employees could put you in violation of various wage, tax, and employment laws. Be proactive about protecting your company from worker misclassification with a defined plan in place for managing independent freelancers.

Not Establishing an Employee Onboarding Plan

Establishing a solid onboarding system is important whether you’re hiring employees or contractors. Without proper onboarding procedures (https://www.apollotechnical.com/why-onboarding-is-important) your business may experience poor employee engagement, increased turnover, and lost productivity. An onboarding plan will ensure your new hires receive the training, information, and resources they need to thrive in their new position. It should also help your new employees understand your company culture and how it aligns with their personal values. Create an employee onboarding program designed to support your new employees for at least their first 90 days at your company.

Business owners make all kinds of mistakes. Often, mistakes create valuable learning opportunities that can help you become a better entrepreneur. While you shouldn’t fear mistakes, you can take steps to avoid disastrous and costly consequences. Learn from other business owners so you can avoid setbacks as you grow your new business.

Could you use some HR advice? EBR HR Experts (EBRHRExperts.com)supports small businesses with a variety of HR services, including management training, employee handbooks, and HR policies. Contact us today! 972-855-8009

5 Benefits of Career Coaching; How coaching can improve your job search


Have you considered a career coach for your job search but you aren’t sure if it is worth the money? Job searching shouldn’t cost you money after all! A career coach is much like a real estate agent. They aren’t necessary to get the job done, but they sure can make the process easier. A good career coach isn’t an expense, it is an investment in your future.

1. You don’t know what you don’t know.

A good career coach will help you navigate all the advice out there – both good and bad. The job market continues to change. They can help you stay current on your job search knowledge. They can also help you determine what makes the most sense for you, your industry, field, and level of experience and ensure that you’ve considered everything before accepting that job offer.

2. Practice makes perfect

The number one mistake people make in their search is being unprepared. Your coach will make sure that you are prepared going into each step of your search. From creating the right personal brand (resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter) to knowing how to answer interview questions and successfully negotiating your total compensation package.

3. Emotions run high during a job search.

A coach is there to help you work through the process without the emotion you and inevitably your partner will bring to the process. Your coach cares about your success. They will let you work through those emotions, then help you to get to the core of what is holding you back.

4. Coaches have connections

Your coach can help connect you to people in your field – either through personal connections or teaching you the best ways to reach out and connect. Your job search shouldn’t just be about hitting the “easy apply” button. Most people find their next position through their network so if you aren’t reaching out, you are losing out on many opportunities.

5. They will keep you on track

A good coach will act as your accountability. For many, the skills associated with the job search do not come naturally. That makes it easy to find excuses to procrastinate on some of the more difficult parts of the job search. With accountability, you are bound to get to your next position faster.

Coaching covers many aspects of the job search depending on where your needs lie. A good coach will start with making sure you are clear on where you want to land next. From there, they can assist with tips on improving your search process, interview prep, salary negotiations and everything in between.

While investing in your job search can be daunting, especially when you aren’t currently pulling in a paycheck, when done right it is a solid investment. Career coaches will help you navigate an unfamiliar and complicated process creating clarity and peace of mind that you are taking all the right steps.





Salary Surveys for a Small Business?

Most likely, when you started your business – the “employees” were just you, your partners, and maybe a family member or two.  Now, your business has grown, and you have hired two or three employees, and that’s terrific!

But – hiring employees means you have to pay a competitive wage, or you will have to install a revolving door.  In today’s post-pandemic job market, this has become even more true.  What is a competitive wage in our area for the job your employees perform? How do you find out? The smart move here is to hire a consultant to help you.

The first thing a consultant will do is ask you for your job descriptions. When you hired your first employee, you probably advertised the position.  What did you call the job?  How did you describe it?  This is an essential part of hiring and should not be taken lightly. This list of reasons for a good job description from GO2HR will help you understand just how vital job descriptions can be. https://www.go2hr.ca/attraction/why-you-need-job-descriptions

  • Job descriptions assist in making sure your staff duties align with your company vision
  • They allow you to make informed hiring decisions by developing recruiting strategies that clearly outline to applicants their role and responsibilities
  • When conducting interviews, job descriptions should form the foundation for the development of interview questions
  • Job descriptions can also be used to determine areas in need of training and development when expectations or requirements are not being met
  • Having clear job descriptions also allows for a basis on which to develop compensation plans that ensure jobs are being compensated in ways that reflect their levels of responsibility and qualification in the organization
  • Finally, when used to communicate expectations, job descriptions can also be used as a basis for performance management. For the employee, having a clear job description allows them to understand the responsibilities and duties that are required and expected of them

Number 5 in the list is why I started this article by talking about job descriptions. If you have good ones, it’s simpler to make comparisons and decide if you are paying fairly for the work being done.  A good consultant will take your job descriptions and use them to compare with other businesses not only just like yours but those with comparable jobs.

The salary survey takes in not just what’s being offered on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other online services but will include local job board postings, Chamber of Commerce, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as well as information from questionnaires sent to local and area businesses. (Fair Warning:  the more in-depth a survey is, the more it could cost.)

Job seekers are becoming far more sophisticated about negotiating salaries with ready access to this information themselves.  Knowing your employees ‘ worth is essential when you couple that with the competitive market we are currently in.

Once you’ve determined what salary range you will offer, it is time to consider benefits.  As a small business, you might think you are at a disadvantage, but that isn’t necessarily true.  You’ve got far more flexibility to offer your employees what they want.

If major medical isn’t a realistic option for you, get creative.  Consider offering more Paid Time Off (PTO) than your industry average, salary allotments so the employees can choose their medical coverage or provide supplemental and life insurance.  Do your employees need credit for continuing education?  Consider paying for that and their professional associations and give them time to attend those events.  Tuition reimbursement, childcare assistance, and gym memberships are more creative options.

Bottom line, employees who feel valued stay put.  The financial piece begins with a competitive salary and ends with the benefits they want.

We are presently extremely short of applicants for many jobs.  Ensuring that you are attractive to employees is an excellent way to beat the shortage!

What Every Jobseeker Should Know about Recruiters

There are 5 common types of recruiters, and it is likely that if you are on an extended job search, you will come across all of them.

Internal, In House, or Corporate*: Internal recruiters work for and source full-time employees for the company they work for and are paid a salary and benefits like any other employee. Companies often use contractors to work as recruiters to avoid paying outside agency fees, effectively insourcing this activity.  Example:  WalMart, US Army, Amazon, Google

Contingency Recruiter:  A Contingency Recruiting Agency does a full-time employee search on a contingency (paid only if they find a candidate) basis for a client company. The recruiter is responsible to do the initial recruiting, screening and interviewing and arranging interviews with the candidates for the client/company. The company pays either a flat fee or a percentage of the first year’s salary usually 15-35% depending on the difficulty. Jobseekers do not have to pay a fee. A lot of regular staffing companies typically offer contingency services too. They will typically advertise these jobs as ‘Direct Hire’ or ‘Contract to hire’ to indicate they are different than the regular staffing positions. Example: Robert Half, Spherion, Matrix-FA

Retained Recruiter: A Retained Agency is similar to a contingency recruiting with the main difference that the client company pays a retainer (fixed upfront amount) fee to have that company perform a search. A portion of the search fee is paid upfront and the remainder is due upon a successful hire. The initial retainer fee is paid irrespective of whether a placement is made. This is more typical for higher level positions to incentivize the recruiter to spend time on a low probability of placement. (It is harder to find a CEO, CFO as opposed to a software developer) Such firms may also call themselves Executive Search firms to distinguish the kind of talent they acquire.

Example: Korn Ferry, Witt Kiefer

PS: Both Contingent and Retained Search companies are also commonly called “Headhunters”. (A term many recruiters don’t like).

Staffing Agency (Temp/Contract): A Temporary/Contract Staffing Firm hires temporary employees for a client’s company. The individual is employed by the staffing agency and the staffing agency pays all wages, employer taxes, medical insurance and benefits. For all purposes the individual is an employee of the staffing company but their work is determined by the client where they work. The client company pays an hourly rate for the contract/temp employee which is higher than the employee cost – the premium or markup to take care of the staffing company’s costs and profits in exchange for the flexibility and ease of hiring and terminating such resources.

Example:  Volt, Adecco, Manpower, Aerotek

Outplacement Recruiter: An Outplacement Agency provides job seeking assistance to downsized/displaced/riffed employees. Often the employer will hire an outplacement company to help their recently downsized workforce find jobs as a matter of goodwill. Outplacement services provide resume and interviewing assistance, career counseling, etc. Several of these companies are divisions of larger staffing companies.


Regardless of which recruiter approaches you, there are some “Do’s” and some “Don’ts” to keep in mind.


Tell the truth – Recruiters cross reference information, check references, check education claims.  That’s their job! If you have been out of work for a while or are concerned about a past issue, be up front.  Recruiters have pretty much seen and heard it all and will know immediately whether they are wasting your time – and theirs.

Always be on Time – When a recruiter wants to talk about a potential role or even wants to interview you for an impending one, it’s crucial not to be late. The recruiter always wants to put the best candidate forward for a job. They’ll be taking note of the basics when it comes to timing, appearance and preparedness before they refer you on. Show up approximately 10-15 minutes before if in person. Dress well,  be organised and friendly even if you’re Zooming the meeting!.


Ghost a recruiter -While your recruiter may not be able to help you with one specific role at one specific time, they may be able to help you with a role in the future. In this day and age, jobs aren’t forever.  It’s in your best interests not to completely ghost a recruiter if things didn’t work out the first time round. Be strategic and think ahead, do not ghost your recruiter.

Bluntly say that you won’t do something minor – If there’s merely one aspect of the job spec that you’re not overly thrilled about, it’s better not to say ‘well I’m not doing that’. You can navigate the small things before signing a contract. Try to be open minded without compromising your preferences.

It’s important to remember that a recruiter wants you to succeed – because then they have also succeeded.  Be sure that you are really interested in the job they are recruiting for and show that interest when you talk with them.  If you are not interested – say so, that doesn’t mean that a recruiter won’t keep you in mind as they take up other positions to fill. The better relationship you can create, the better the chance that they will help you find your dream job!


Task Delegation for Small Business Owners

Task Delegation for Small Business Owners

Small business owners understand the value of task delegation and the high costs that
failure to do so can cause. With so much at risk with every business transaction, both
internal and external, sometimes it can be challenging to make sure everything is running
smoothly. But, with the help of these task delegation tips from EBR HR Experts, you can rest
assured that your business will be more efficient than ever.

Delegating Tasks
We’ve all heard it enough – delegating is vital. And while we all know it to be accurate, why is
it that sometimes it can be so tricky? Running a business comes with a never-ending to-do
list, but optimizing your delegation skills is rarely a top priority. Unfortunately, this can be
detrimental to your business. Rather than risking costs associated with doing everything
yourself, here are a few examples of tasks you can delegate out.

Data Entry
Date entry is an excellent place to start when it comes to delegating tasks. Not only are
these tasks relatively simple, but they are known for being incredibly time-consuming. Rather
than spending your precious time working on the data entry, delegate these tasks out to
You can hire remote staff to handle your data entry or task it out internally to other staff on
your team. Whichever option you decide, you’ll be able to instantly see how beneficial
delegating time-consuming tasks can be for you and your business.

Forming an LLC
Forming your business structure as a limited liability company (LLC) helps you limit liability
protection and pass-through taxation. There are several benefits of forming an LLC for your
small business, including:
● Limited liability
● Pass-through taxation
● Flexible membership
● Limited compliance requirements
● Heightened credibility

If you’d like to create an LLC for your company, instead of doing the legwork on your own,
you can avoid spending many hours of your time on this task by using a formation service.
Luckily, you have plenty of options when it comes to finding a formation service for your LLC.
Check out some of the best LLC filing companies, like:
● Rocket Lawyer
● ZenBusiness
● Incfile
● Legal Zoom

Recruitment and HR
As your company grows, you’ll find that your human resources needs will become more
complex and nuanced. For this reason, it’s important to outsource the work to professionals
who are knowledgeable in all aspects of HR, from recruitment to onboarding, compensation
and benefits to training and growth. EBR HR Experts has the HR experts who can take care
of all these (and more) — and well within Fair Labor Standards and anti-discrimination laws.

Tips to Help Delegate
There are countless other opportunities around your business that you can task out to other
people to free up your schedule for more pertinent tasks. You can follow these steps to help
you figure out what to delegate in your business:
1. Determine the tasks you’d instead not do yourself
2. Pick who you will delegate to carefully
3. Set your expectations clearly
4. Delegate based on your needs
5. Make sure to acknowledge who will take over the process
Are you ready to delegate? EBR HR Experts can help you find the best and most
knowledgeable professionals for the tasks you needed done yesterday.

Contact us at EBRHRExperts.com today!

Critical Thinking – Soft Skill Article # 4

“Critical thinking skills are essential in every industry at every career level, from entry-level associates to top executives. Good critical thinkers can work both independently and with others to solve problems. Issues such as process inefficiencies, management or finances can be improved by using critical thought. Because of this, employers value and seek out candidates who demonstrate strong critical thinking skills.” (https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/critical-thinking-skills)

Critical thinking: the ability to analyze information objectively, assess different perspectives, and reach a logical conclusion uninfluenced by emotion or personal bias.
Close your eyes and pretend that you are in a very dark place, sitting on a chair.  You can’t see anything and you can’t hear anything.  What’s the first thing you would do?  Whatever your answer is – you used critical thinking to formulate it.  “I would speak to see if someone answers.”  If they do or don’t, you have information you didn’t have before, and can then decide what to do next – critical thinking in action. “I would jump up and run around screaming” – not critical thinking, not productive, potentially dangerous!

There is a process in critical thinking. Following it allows you to arrive at a decision that is fact based, well-considered, and devoid of emotion or prejudice.

Step 1.  Identify the problem – the real problem.  Use the 5 times why process by asking “what is the problem?” and then “why is it the problem” until you get to the bare bones of the issue.

Step 2.  Gather data, opinions and arguments – be sure it comes from reliable sources and is as unprejudiced as possible.

Step 3.  Analyze and evaluate the data – are the sources reliable?

Step 4.  Identify assumptions – are your sources unbiased?< Step 5.  Make a decision/reach a conclusion – decide which – if any – conclusions are possible.  Weigh strengths and limitations of all possible options.  This is the most important step.  Make a decision – not making a decision is making a decision and it’s the wrong one. Your ability to critically think through a problem is nullified if you don’t make a decision and follow through with it. To start working on your critical thinking skills, begin with applying these simple strategies: Ask simple critical thinking questions

  • What do I already know?
  • How do I know that?
  • What am I trying to prove?
  • What are my motivations?

Oppose “common sense”  This is where you can lose a good resolution to a problem.

Be aware of your biases

  • Confirmation Bias: we always subconsciously assume we’re right.
  • Action Bias: we act too quickly before thinking something through.
  • Association Bias: why did the rain dance always work? Because they’d dance until the rain came.
  • Unconscious Bias: Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about an individual, group or institution. Everyone has unconscious biases about various groups, and they are often not aligned with one’s conscious values. Here’s a place to test your unconscious bias: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html 

You can highlight your critical thinking skills on your resume by using these terms to describe your successes:

“Evaluated and analyzed”

“Identified a major design defect and instituted a work around”

“Interpreted the results”

“Developed a new strategy”

You can develop your critical thinking skills every day by applying the process to small problems that occur and there are some good books that can help.  I recommend Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument by Stella Cottrell.

I also found this great video from the Department of Labor that can help you understand critical thinking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPiI44XEKgs