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Yearly Archives: 2016

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

REGISTER NOW!

Presentations: Engage your Audience

Being an exceptional speaker is a wonderful skill, but sometimes even that skill does not engage the audience the way planned. Business speakers giving their “pitch” have limited minutes to gain the audience’s attention and hold it. Getting an audience interested and listening can be a struggle unless you put into practice some of the tried-and-true speaking tips from expert orators from all lines of businesses. Here are just a few strategies to get your audience not only listening but engaged in what you are saying.

  • Speak Clearly and Simply. Viewers are guaranteed to tune you out if they are having trouble hearing you or following your terminology. Practice speaking and delivering your “pitch” to others who are not in your field of work to see if they can follow your line of thought and understand your terminology. Avoid acronyms if you are unsure the audience knows them.
  • Eye Contact – Since elementary school, we all learned that if you look someone in the eye when you are speaking they will be more apt to listen and remember. The same is true for adults. Make eye contact with as many people as possible to ensure that they are listening and not checking Facebook or answering texts.
  • Know Your Audience – This should go without saying to know the audience’s skills, needs, wants, interests and experiences before speaking. Some people prefer a pre- engagement questionnaire while others mingle with the group prior to the discussion. The better you know the audience the more you can tailor your talk to them.
  • Ask Questions – Give the audience an opportunity to take part in the discussion by raising hands, writing or discussing with a neighbor. The more they connect with you and your topic, the more they will retain and engage as you continue.
  • Give them Some Resources – Most people love getting something or learning something so, give them what they want. For example, if you are talking about a service, give them a coupon or access for a discount to try-out the service. If they are gathering information give them a list of resources that they may not have known about previously.
  • Be Visual and Active – Using technology has long been a practice of speakers but be sure to have slides that are graphic in nature, not just slide-after-slide of text. And do not read from the text. They could do that later. Instead speak normally and in a conversational tone. Along with using visuals try to get your audience to move a little. If they have to speak to the person at their table or write, they may be more apt to be listening rather than be glazed over tuning you out.

 

Avoiding HR Issues

Owning a small business can be a major juggling act. Being a leader, chief financial officer, office manager and all the other roles that go into making a successful business can be hard. Keeping all the “balls in the air” can be a tough juggling act, which can cause mistakes – sometimes serious ones. Mistakes in the human resources area can be easy to make if you don’t understand and are compliant with the law.

Here are five of the most common HR management pitfalls small businesses face today and how to avoid making them. 

  • Outdated Employee Handbook – The employee handbook is your guidebook for all employees and company leaderships about work-related policies. These policies could include: discrimination policies, standards of conduct, compensation, benefits, work schedules, security, and vacation/sick policies. Each business is different so the policies laid out in the handbook should be updated regularly and be specific to your field of business. Not having company policies in writing and updating regularly is just asking for trouble.
  •  Staying knowledgeable of Changing HR Laws

    Understanding federal, state, and local labor laws are critical when running a successful small business. Compliance with these laws can be a big headache for small businesses. There are a multitude of regulations, and these laws continue to change rapidly. Have a dedicated employee or HR consultant who can stay on top of changing laws and compliance requirements.

  • Handling Terminations Poorly – No business leader wants to deal with a termination but they happen all the time. Messy fires can lead to unwanted lawsuits. Both performance and policy violations require documentation and a paper trail. “Make sure that you document any disciplinary issues, safety inspections, performance discussions, and the like. These records can save you if done right — or kill you if done poorly or not at all.”(Source: Intuit Books)  This is yet another reason why the well-written employee handbook is needed.
  • Develop a Reward System – Employees want to know how they are doing.

    Recognition of good performance is essential to a healthy workplace; without it, your business could face retention issues. Plan and maintain a reward system that will allow your company to maintain employees that do their job well. It is easier to maintain a good employee than to train a new one. 

  • Weak Hiring and On-boarding System – Too many employers hire hastily because they need the position filled quickly. Spend time weeding out unqualified candidates and on-boarding exceptional ones. Take the necessary time to be sure the candidate feels at home, has a mentor and understand the daily running of the office so they don’t feel overwhelmed or out-of-place.

Signs You Need to Update Your Website

When was your business website designed?  Was it the late 1990s or possible the early 2000s?  Websites built and designed even just a few short years ago may not have the capabilities and look of a modern website. Your business website is a window into your company where clients, consumers, employees, and vendors can learn about you and interact with you. So, if your “window”  is poorly designed, old or just hard to “see” through, then it may be a time to update. Here is a quick list of red flags that may be trying to tell you that it is time for a face lift, either aesthetic or technological, in nature for your business.

  • Your key words are not showing up on Google or any of the major search engines.

    Search engine algorithms have changed quite a bit over the years, so if your organic search engine rankings are low, it could mean it’s time for an update.

  • You can’t update your own content. If you have to constantly contact your web design company or harass your IT department to change the content, then you don’t have a website designed to be used by employees. Many companies have switched to platforms such as WordPress that allows them to change blogs, prices and other items on their site easily.

  • Your website takes too long to load. For every second it takes to load your page, whether it is on mobile or desktop, you lose visitors.

  • You have a high bounce rate. If your web analytics show a high bounce rate, low time on site and low average pages per visit, that’s a pretty strong indicator that your visitors don’t find your current site useful for one reason or another.
  • Your website is not mobile compatible. According to Smart Insights, over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device, and when it comes to local searches, more than half are performed on mobile devices. In the United States, a whopping 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device. If these stats tell you anything, it’s that the world has gone mobile, and if your website isn’t optimized, it’s officially time for a responsive re-design.
  • Your website looks outdated. It’s been proven time and time again that a person’s perception of your company is directly affected by their perception of your website. Think of your website as a virtual storefront on main street. Make sure it looks new, fresh and is easy to navigate.

Kickstart your Start Up

Starting a new business can be exhausting with the intricate planning, making financial decisions, and filling out the appropriate legal paperwork and licenses. But, embarking on a new business venture can be exhilarating as well. How do young entrepreneurs walk that fine line between being exhilarated and exhausted? Experts say that they kick off their start up with some common strategies that will take them on the path to success. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

  • Plan on Doing a lot of Planning – Create a simple business plan that includes your vision, mission, goals (both short and long term), strategies and an action plan. Break down your goals into smaller goals before you take on too much. The U.S. Small Business Administration has template and strategies to making the most of your planning stage and Business Plan stage.
  • Assess Your Finances – How are you going to afford to run your business? What sort of financing have you secured? Startups requiring a lot more funding up front may want to consider an investor.
  • Define your Legal Structure – What kind of entity is your business? If you own the business entirely by yourself and plan to be responsible for all debts and obligations, you can register for a sole proprietorship. Alternatively, a partnership, as its name implies, means that two or more people are held personally liable as business owners. If you want to separate your personal liability from your company’s liability, you may want to consider forming one of several different types of corporations.
  • Register Your Business Name – Naming your business is an important branding exercise, but if you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authorities.
  • Obtain Permits and Licenses – Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business. Read More 
  • Register for Tax Identification Purposes – Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
  • Build Your Team – Define what positions you will need to kick start your company and then find the best and the brightest.
  • Grow Your Business – In order to make a profit and stay afloat, you always need to be growing your business. Reinvesting and making connections are a great way to get started on this. Stay active on social media platforms, take part in networking groups and keep your brand in the forefront in your community.

Recruiting the Best Talent

Growing a successful business is dependent on so many components from securing adequate financing to providing excellent customer service. On top of the priority list for a first-rate company should be hiring and retaining a great team of employees. Attracting the right talent to your business can be a challenge, but there are certain techniques that can be employed to recruit the best.

Most successful business leaders will tell you that they could not have gotten where they are today without loyal, hardworking and intelligent employees. Finding that type of team member can take some trial-and-error in the recruiting department. Here are a few suggestions from Business News Daily, HR Affiliates and Undercover Recruiter  to keep in mind to attract quality candidates.

  • Sell Your Business – The key is selling potential employees on the benefits of working with you. Do you have a strong benefits program, flexible work hours an innovative idea or even a perfect location for commuters? What is it that makes your company a perfect place to work?
  • Use Social Media – Many young people are looking for a place they can call home that fits not only their salary needs but, also, their personality. Use social media to highlight what it is like in your company. Do you take part in outings together, or do community centered projects, or take part in a philanthropy that they can get involved in? Candidates usually check out the business they are interviewing with on all social media platforms before even stepping in that door.
  • Interview with a Purpose – During the interview process, look not just for competency but also assess whether the candidate will fit in with the team that you already have assembled. Will the person “play well in the sandbox” so-to-speak? Evaluate whether the candidate is also looking for a place to call home or just a stepping stone to something better. Try to figure out, as well, if the candidate has the same values as your company. These are not easy things to do but, if you listen to answers and pay close attention to answers during the interview, you will be able to get a sense of who the person is.
  • Increase your Contacts – Even when you don’t have an open position do you keep your eyes open for competent candidates? Finding the “right” person for the job doesn’t necessarily happen during an active interview process. If you network and maintain good contacts in your field, you may have already met the right person – even if that person isn’t  “looking.” Sometimes knowing someone who knows someone is the best way to fill a position.

Best Small Business Accounting Apps

A large part of being a successful small business owner is managing the financial accounts including: invoices, billing, expense reports, financial reports and reconciliations. For many business owners this part of the job can be stressful and may cause you to want to ditch the confusing spreadsheets and financial reports in search of something better.

What you may be looking for is an easier way, with less headaches, in an easy-to-read, affordable format. That is where small business accounting apps come in to play.  While there are seemingly millions of accounting programs out there (just Google it,) there are some that the experts tend to recommend more than the others. Here are the top accounting apps that made the cut: 

  • FreshBooksOf all the accounting software we looked at this name kept coming up over and over again. FreshBooks wins for its ease of use, excellent customer service, and for offering all the features small businesses need to manage their finances on the go. FreshBooks allows you to quickly create professional-looking invoices and set up credit card payment support. Other features include repeat invoicing, estimation, and one-click snail mail sending.

  • QuickBooks Online is an accounting app with a walloping set of features presented in one of the simplest accounting interfaces ever.  Quick Books handles accounting, billing, and invoicing, all from the same spot. Its colorful, user-friendly interface is home to a powerful set of features. These include estimates invoicing, time tracking, accounts payable, reporting, inventory, contacts, sales, and tax.

  • Wave With more than two million users, Wave is one of the most successful online accounting services – and it’s completely free for accounting, invoicing and receipts, although if you want personal technical support you’ll need to pay for it.
  • Zoho – Zoho Books offers all the basic features microbusinesses need, as well as advanced tools that grow with your business. Furthermore, compared with other accounting software for really small businesses, Zoho Books has the best price for all of its capabilities.

Still confused about the specific accounting software you may need to stay organized and in the black?  Check out Accounting Software Reviews for a complete list of the top accounting apps used by small business owners. They break down the cost, features and can link you to free trials. 

How to Grow Your Small Business

So you started your own business? Each sale, each new client and each business connection you make grows your small business just as you dreamed right? But maybe you want to continue to broaden your client base.  There are many options to consider when thinking about expanding and growing your small business no matter what field you are in.

What are some of the most effective small business expansion tips to grow a business beyond its current status? Let’s take a closer look at steps you may want to initiate to grow your small business. 

  • Social Media – If you are looking for a fairly cost effective and easy way to reach more of your targeted audience try a social media campaign. Do some research on which social media platform attracts your  demographic and start posting in that medium. The more your name is seen the better.  Social media can be an invaluable tool for engaging with consumers and expanding your brand recognition.
  • Open Another Location – This is often the first way business owners approach growth. If you feel confident that your current business location is under control, consider expanding by opening a new location.

  • Merge With or Acquire Other Businesses in Your Market – There are bound to be other companies in your field who may have similar goals. Explore merging, partnering or possibly even acquiring those companies as a way to expand. 

  • Stay Competitive – Technology changes so rapidly these days that it would be easy to be left behind if your new company does not keep up with the latest and greatest technology. This is especially true if your company is in anyway related to the tech world or relies on technology to provide a product or service.
  • Target Other Markets –  Your current market is serving you well. Are there others? Probably. Use your imagination to determine what other markets could use your product.
  • License Your Product –  This can be an effective, low-cost growth medium, particularly if you have a service product or branded product

  • Diversify –  Small-business consultant McGuckin offers several ideas for diversifying your product or service line:

    • Sell complementary products or services
    • Teach adult education or other types of classes
    • Import or export yours or others’ products
    • Become a paid speaker or columnist

Website Metrics 101

When it comes to websites, gathering data on who visited, how long they stayed, what they looked at and the average session duration, the data can quickly get overwhelming.  Tracking even the most basic of numbers relating to your website can give your business a big advantage over competitors. How, then, can you tell what data is meaningful for the success of your company and what data is extraneous? What scientific measurement, also known as web metrics, should you be most interested in?  Here is a cheat sheet of sorts to help you make sense of your website metrics and hopefully make your company more successful due to them.

Metrics You Should Be Most Interested In 

  • Visitors or Traffic to your Site – How many visitors visited your site on a daily basis?  The number of unique visitors should be of greatest interest to you. Unique visitors represents the count of individual people that visited your site regardless of the number of times they visited your site. So, if person A visits your site once and person B visits your site five times, you will have two unique visitors and six total visits. this number will give you an overall view of the health of your site.
  • Sources of the Traffic – While it is important to know how many  people are visiting your site, it is equally important to know where they came from or how they found you!  Google Analytics breaks down your traffic sources into four broad categories: Organic Search: traffic coming via the search engines, Referral: traffic from another website, Direct: traffic typing your domain into the browser, or Social: traffic from social media. Each source of traffic will tell you a few important snippets of information about your website.
  • Bounce Rate – How many people visit your site but then leave it immediately? This means that a visitor did not find what they were looking for on your site. This “bounce rate” is the equivalent of someone walking in the front door of a store, taking a quick look around, and immediately walking back out the door. The goal of understanding this web metric is to find ways to decrease this number.
  • Conversion Rate – The conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action such as: the number of people who buy something, fill out a contact form, or view a certain page on your site. The reason conversion rate is so important is that it is the ultimate measure of how successful your site is.
  • Average Session Duration – This metric records the average length of a session in hours, minutes, and seconds. The more relevant your site is to the visitor, the longer the average session duration will be since a visitor will spend more time accessing information that interests him.

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Benefits of Having an Internship Program

If you don’t know already, small and medium sized businesses have been reaping the benefits of internship programs for years. These programs have the potential to be a win-win relationship for both the intern themselves and the company for which the intern is working. So, is your company taking advantage of these rewards?  Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of developing a successful internship program for your business.

If your business is contemplating starting an internship program realize that while there are definite obligations and responsibilities, there are also a multitude of advantages for both the intern and company hosting the program.

For the Company: 

  • New Perspective – Many businesses have a natural routine and organization to them. Using an intern can mean a new perspective on the “old grind”. Having a younger member of the team who is fresh and optimistic may mean that they question why something is done a certain way or have a fresh perspective on how something within your product or service can be done more efficiently or can better serve the customer.
  • Knowledge of Technology – Let’s face it, interns tend to be better in touch with the latest and greatest on the technology front especially social media, and the most recent gadgets. Using that knowledge can give a boost to your company.
  • FREE Labor – While interns do take considerable effort to mentor, they also are free labor which means your employees can be freed up from the more mundane aspects of their job to do more meaningful work.
  • Future Workforce – Close to 68% of interns are offered some sort of position in a company post internship. That means that the time during an internship is a great opportunity for employers to see the talents and skills that can be added to their company – very much like a test drive before buying.

For the Intern: 

  • Exposure and Experience – Two of the main reasons why college age students pursue an internship is to gain valuable experience and exposure to a given field that they otherwise would not gleam through regular studies. This resume building experience makes it just that much easier to get a job post graduation.
  • Marketability – Students who have completed an internship tend to get jobs faster.

    On average, only 30% of graduating seniors have job offers before graduation; however, after completing an internship, that figure rises to 58%. 

  • Contacts – Even if an intern is not offered the dream position in the company in which they interned for, they have had ample opportunity to build a strong list of contacts.