Are You Hiring Ms. Power-Hungry, Mrs. Over-Achiever or Mr. Popular?

The ability to recognize employee types will give you, the business owner, an advantage in hiring and managing a productive workforce. Let's start with the basics. Employees are people. People have needs. Employee types are defined by the primary needs that drive their daily actions:

Need for Power -A two-edged sword for sure. These rare individuals have the ability and desire to step into the top role. Relishing responsibility, they are willing to go great lengths to prove their prowess. These people are opportunistic, easily bored and capable managers. But be careful, they're also the most likely to go to your competitor, with your customer list in hand.

Need for Achievement - This is the gold standard of employees. They have applicable skills even you don't have. You'd hire more of them if you could. In fact, if you are running a start-up, or high-tech company you should be seeking only these employees. They generally are seeking monetary rewards and/or recognition of their ability. They are premium employees and should be treated as such. Let them take measured risk or do things a little differently than everyone else.

Need to Belong - This is the most common employee in corporate America. On the positive side, these people are easy to please. Make the work environment a reasonably enjoyable place to be. You will reap the benefits of a stable, dependable employee. However, don't expect great things. After all, this is an individual that primarily wants to be liked! (Einstein didn't derive e=mc^2 because he spent every afternoon trying to be mister popular at the office).

Now that you understand the basic types of employees, take inventory! Depending on your business needs, you need the right balance and composition in your workforce. Next time you hire for a position, identify the candidate's fundamental needs. Certainly most people fall partly into more than one category. But overall, do the candidate's primary needs match the job at hand?


How to Hire a Web Developer (On a Budget)

This blog will explain how to get a decent website done within a tight budget. I'm sure you're either: A) glad to finally have a respectable website that represents your business online or B) it's one of those headaches you know needs attention. Another day in the life of a business owner. When hiring a web developer you have two basic options:

Option 1) Go inexpensive and hire a freelance web developer (cost $500 to $2,000)

Options 2) Go expensive and hire a reputable agency (cost $4,000 to $15,000)

Since I'm trying to save you money, we are focusing on option 1. Keep in mind: You cannot buy a new Cadillac for the price of a high-mileage Ford Pinto. Don't even try. Assuming you have found a trust-worthy web developer, here's the steps for getting a respectable website built, without wasting a lot of time:

Get It In Writing - I'm not saying you need an elaborate, attorney-prepared document. But mandatory elements of the contract are: total cost, monthly hosting charges, payment dates, number of "minor revisions" and a deadline for completing the work. Also, take some notes. Repeat back your expectations to the web designer to ensure good communication. Don't get surprised when the website is completed without certain functionality you thought was part of the agreement.

Special Features - If you saw a website and you must have one just like it...make sure you communicate this clearly up front. The typical freelance developer probably hasn't done anything like it. If he claims he has, be sure to see the website and ask for a reference. If it's a deal breaker and you realize you need a more capable developer, be glad you haven't paid a deposit yet.

Design - Insist on seeing a couple design options. Usually, this includes 1 home page and 1 body page design (to be used on the other 4 or 5 pages within the site).

Document Basic Info - If you ever need something changed with your website, it's no time to start trying to contact that "no-name" freelancer from 14 months ago (who recently moved to Texas). Make sure you know where your site is hosted and what your login credentials are for changing the content on your website.

Plan Ahead - Remember that the web designer will need items from you as well. Site content and images need to be provided to keep the project from stalling. If you drop off the map for two weeks and then ask why the site isn't done, you're heading for Project Disaster. For the sake of both parties, do your part.

Test the Site - When the site is done, click through it. Also, there are no guarantees your small-time developer has tested the site on multiple browser versions. If he did excellent work, he wouldn't be working on the cheap. It's easier to get "weird" problems corrected now than after you've given final payment.

One clarification. This blog assumes you are dealing with a proven freelance web developer. The bad stories we've all heard (e.g. "the third web developer I hired never returned one phone call after he took my deposit...") are usually the result of randomly selecting an individual based on price. Never a good idea. There are productive freelancers out there. Once you find one, head off problems by following the above steps.


Social Media Floundering

Business marketing is in a state of unrest. As Wall Street experiences a "tech bubble" in 2011 (i.e. fantastic valuations of unprofitable .coms), there is a parallel movement afoot in the field of social media and online business marketing. To top off the chaos, nobody seems to be able to predict what's coming next.

To imagine how different the internet world could be in 5 years, consider Google's latest effort to create a social networking platform. Google+ has the insurmountable task of dethroning Facebook (which boasts 520 million entrenched users). All the analysts proclaim a single, resounding question: "Why would anybody switch"?

The short answer is that Google+ will attempt to create a better user experience in terms of content control. Of course, Facebook has publicly acknowledged they will be making significant changes to their own platform in the years to come. Could it be that any successful elements created by Google+ will be quickly duplicated by Facebook? Or maybe at some point in the future the two networking platforms will peacefully co-exist with two separate user groups (e.g. tech and business users on Google+ with family& personal friends on Facebook).

Maybe you simply think that Google is stupid. That they're wasting time and money. I doubt it. I think they see that the game is far from over, which extends to the rest of the technology application and internet universe. We're just getting started. So, when you as a business owner hear the wild, raving claims of "social media consultants", don't be alarmed. Much like you, Google execs and many other ostensibly well-informed people... they're trying to figure it too.