Build Your Business (on a shoestring): Hire a College InternWritten by Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff
Starting up a new venture or business can be one of most exciting times of your life. It can also be one of most stressful. In early months, or even early years of your business, cash flow is often not what you would like it to be. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’re wearing many hats – in fact, you’re probably wearing all of them.
Not only are you selling your product or service, you’re marketing it, doing accounting, paying bills, answering phones, designing and updating your website and preparing and sending out mail. And, certainly for your own business, you can easily think of ten or fifteen additional tasks to be done in addition to these. In early days of your start-up, many if not most of these tasks seem doable. But, once you’ve started making sales or public interest in your business begins to grow, wearing all hats becomes impossible, frustrating, and highly stressful.
One quick and easy solution is to hire an intern – a college intern. During my corporate career in finance, I made use of many college interns over years. Not only were they diligent, responsible, and some of best employees, they were eager to learn and to contribute ideas. My interns were reliable and many of them hired on as regular employees after graduating from college.
With more and more college students choosing to start their own businesses rather than working for others, having a first-hand opportunity to work in a business start-up, like yours, might be just what they’re looking for. So how can you find an intern that will be just right for you and your business?
Simples Steps to Hiring an Intern
1. What do I need to do? What can intern do? One of first things to do is to take a clean sheet of paper and begin writing down all tasks that you perform in your business – and I mean everything. Next, decide what tasks you absolutely need to do yourself and which ones might be assigned to an intern. Typical tasks that you do might include: • inputting business card data into your database • contacting local chambers of commerce and ordering mailing lists • marketing mailings – printing letters, stuffing envelopes, putting stamps on letters • writing and updating your marketing plan • keeping your marketing calendar current • calling on prospects – phone and in person • writing marketing collateral • updating website information • confirming appointments with clients • writing and updating your business plan • appearing at tradeshows (perfect for an intern to work as your assistant) • buying office supplies • going to post office to mail packages, letters, etc. • miscellaneous errands • meetings with clients • reviewing local newspapers, business periodicals and trade journals for possible business prospects or other opportunities • article clipping • attending chamber functions and other networking events • filing • answering phones • bookkeeping
Certainly there are a lot of things to do in your business! And, obviously, not all of these can be done by anyone other than you. Once you’ve drafted a comprehensive list of tasks, using different colored high-lighters, or something as simple as a check-mark, determine which of these tasks can be assigned to someone else. This will become basis for writing up a job description for your intern.
2. Drafting a job description. Write up a simple job description that includes a list of tasks you need completed on a weekly basis. Also, estimate how much time these tasks will take and, if possible, what days of week might be best for someone to work for you.
3. What type of intern? My suggestion is to hire a college intern who has background in areas that you most need help with. For example, if your start-up is heavily focused on using computer technology to either produce your product or service, or if it is a significant part of interface with your clients, hire an intern who is studying computer science. On other hand, if you have a business focusing on delivering corporate sales training programs, hire a marketing major. If you have general office work that needs to be done, consider a business administration student.
4. To pay or not to pay? That is question. Nowadays, interns are readily available for pay or no pay. The hiring market for new college graduates is rather strained so they know that any and all work experience they gain prior to graduation will serve them well in future.
Exceptional Leadership Inspires the Best Effort in OthersWritten by Michael Beck
There is a steady stream being written and taught about leadership these days. There are tips about leadership, courses about leadership, books, retreats, and continuing education – all focused on leadership. While all of this material is useful and can certainly enhance one’s leadership knowledge, for most part it avoids asking and answering two questions:
1. Why does better leadership make a difference? , and 2. How does better leadership achieve those differences?
We all know we’re “supposed” to work to be better leaders, but why does it matter, what impact does it have, and how does this all work?
Whenever I ask “Why” question, answers that come to mind of most people are something like “better leadership creates more productivity, higher profits, lower turnover, greater job satisfaction, more loyalty… you get picture. But these responses bring us to real question which is, “How does better leadership create those things? How does being a better leader lead to more productivity, higher profits, lower turnover, greater job satisfaction, more loyalty?” It is answers to these two questions which elevate us from simply learning and understanding better leadership principles to pursuing a course of action which transforms us and our leadership abilities into something that really makes a difference.
I often suggest that my clients use their own experience as their best example. Ask yourself when, during your career, you felt most satisfied, most productive, proudest, most focused, and most committed. When we reflect back on those times, most of us would acknowledge that we didn’t feel like we did because our “leader” had made a good decision, or that they had gone through “leadership training” (That term is in quotes because leaders need to be developed, not trained.), or that their leaders were efficient, met their goals, or had success in past. No, typically we felt way we did (satisfied, productive, proud, focused, and committed) because of what we did – what we accomplished. It all comes back to us and how we felt. It’s generally not about anything external – it comes down to our emotions. The key to exceptional leadership, therefore, lies within our ability to relate effectively with people and their emotions.
Imagine if everyone at work felt satisfied, productive, proud, focused, and committed! What would consequences be? The consequences would be that everyone would create greater productivity, higher profits, lower turnover, greater job satisfaction, and more loyalty! The key then, to better performance, is helping people feel more satisfied, productive, proud, focused, and committed. Notice absence of any technical or intelligence issues? Notice that we’ve haven’t brought up idea of “motivating” people? We haven’t touched on motivating people for one simple reason… people can’t be motivated! Trying to motivate someone is analogous to physically trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do. You won’t succeed. What really works is when we’re self-motivated – when we do something because we want to. When we’re inspired, we enjoy our work. We’re productive and proud of our efforts. We remain focused and committed to task at hand. In short, we put forth out best effort.
Exceptional leadership, therefore, is leadership that inspires people to give their best effort. Although, for a leader, being productive and having good time management skills are important and necessary, they are not sufficient. Having good judgment becomes increasingly important higher in an organization we rise, however it too is insufficient for truly effective leadership. Exceptional leadership is about relating to people in such a way as to inspire them to give their best effort – for themselves, their organization, their community, their family, and/or their world.
How is this accomplished? The foundation of exceptional leadership – of inspiring others – comprises thee areas - Effective Leadership Philosophies (for yourself and your organization), Effective Purpose, Mission and Values, and Effective People Skills.
* EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHIES
Leading by Example - Whether we acknowledge it or not, we always lead by example. In our words (what we say or don't say), in our actions (what we do or don't do), and in our expressions (what we show or don't show). The things we do and say, during moments of “apparent insignificance”, make an impression on those around us.