A summary of two important sources for small business.
In the article, “How to Establish a Mentor Program; Tips for small businesses looking to enhance employee development and performance with formal — or informal — mentoring” the author Karen Klein discusses the use of mentoring programs as a means of developing human resources. Klein shows that mentoring programs can improve employees by matching them with more experienced workers. The advantages of mentoring, according to Klein, are that entrepreneurs can develop employees into future managers and possibly into partners. This mentoring process also has the indirect benefit of reducing turnover and increasing employee satisfaction. As well, employees are able to learn directly from experienced leaders and the leadership training will pass on proven methods of dealing with workers and customers. Klein does relate in the article that finding people to be mentors is often difficult at the organizational level because many experienced employees will not wish to dedicate that much time to the endeavor. There are a variety of methods discussed in the article on how to find mentors but these methods in many ways only seem practical when the business is large in nature. Some avenues for mentoring might have promise for the small business owner such as online mentoring. This method could be a realistic method for companies as long as the cost in time was not tremendous. While mentoring is a powerful means of training and trading experience, most small companies could not afford or will not have the practical means for creating a mentoring program (Klein, 2008).
In the article, “Entrepreneurism + customer service = success” author Stones and Lynn discuss how customer service can be used to create a successful business. In the article several areas of customer service are analyzed that different entrepreneurs used that made their companies realize success. Two of these areas included community involvement and treating customers fairly. As an entrepreneur, the individual owner is often the face of the company and this makes public relations a necessity for community support and building a customer base. The article discusses how La Madeline Restaurants used their involvement in the local food bank as a means of increasing community support. This involvement is an important means for the entrepreneur to gain a positive public outlook. The other method discussed in the article was treating customers fairly. Treating a large customer with the same respect as the financially small customer is strong means of building long-term customers. This is not always easy because small customers do not always seem worth the time and energy. When a company is small, the limited staff might not allow for time to be equally given to all customers. As well, there are issues of practicality in which small business owners might be forced to choose between treating customers differently because of time and human resource constraints. However, the success of the examples shown cannot be argued. The company discussed had a 35% increase in growth in a year by adopting this policy. For the small, business owner this method would be extremely beneficial for building a new customer base.
Klein, K. E. (2008, February 7). How to Establish a Mentor Program; Tips for small businesses looking to enhance employee development and performance with formal — or informal — mentoring. Business Week Online.
Stones, L., & Lynn, K. O. (1993, November). Entrepreneurism + customer service = success. Management Review, 82(11), 38.