Good small business reads #30: Advice on hiring, websites, media interviews and more

I’m squeezing right in at the end of the month here with the August issue of Good Small Business Reads, a monthly potpourri of articles that have caught my attention recently. Each of these pieces contains practical advice that should help you with various aspects of running your small business.

First up is a piece from my friend Rieva Lesonsky writing on the Small Business Trends blog. In “The Biggest Problem Small Businesses Still Have With Their Employees,” she reports on the results of a survey from the staffing firm Robert Half, in which 60 percent of small business owners said the biggest challenge they face with employees is finding skilled workers. But then, you knew that was the biggest problem already, didn’t you? The next closest challenge in the survey, chosen by only19 percent of voters, was maintaining employee morale and productivity. Rieva’s article provides three good tactics for finding good people to hire. I have to say that I’ve seen many small business owners do the exact opposite of the advice she provides, with the results being about what you’d expect…a revolving door as employees come and quickly go.

In “7 Ways to Destroy Your Media Interview,” PR guru Mark Ragan, of ragan.com, describes that I’ll call the seven sins of dealing with the media. You work so hard to get an interview in the first place, so you definitely should not blow an opportunity to get great publicity for your business by committing any of these faux pas.

Also on the marketing side, I absolutely love this piece from “You’re the Boss,” a New York Times business blog; it’s called “The Problem Social Media Cannot Solve” and addresses the issue that many small businesses focus tons of attention on driving people to their website through Twitter and Facebook, only to have people get turned off because the site is lousy. The blog post recounts the story of one small business owner who got taken to the cleaners by a website design firm and then offers sage advice on how to go about assuring that the professional you hire really has the goods to make your website a winner.

In “Why an Accountability Buddy Is Your Secret Weapon for Faster Grown,” from Entrepreneur, freelance writer Stephanie Vozza introduces a new concept: the accountability buddy. Such a buddy is different than a mentor in that both of you are working on growing your business and so you take advice from each other. I love this! Tips are offered on how to go about finding your buddy.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone! And if you’ve read anything lately that you think other small business owners would enjoy, please let me know.

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