Posts Tagged ‘business’

word cloud in blue and gray hues describing job recruitment

How To Market Your Job Posting  

The talent market is tighter than ever. Here’s how to best spread the word about your opening.

You’ve likely heard the labor market is tight these days. A countless amount of digital ink has been spilled recently describing what is now known as “The Great Resignation,” and the data shows that it’s not mere hysteria or hyperbole. 4.5 million people voluntarily left their positions in November of 2021 alone – an “all-time high” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[i]

These numbers have had a sizable impact on the labor market. Not only has the value of labor increased, but many companies are finding that their ability to recruit and retain necessary talent has become severely restricted. So how should companies attempt to break through the noise and find the workers they need?

Recruitment Has Never Been Easy

Anyone who has ever attempted to hire knows the process can be enormously complicated and expensive. Even before the pandemic and the rise of The Great Resignation, businesses often struggled to find, attract and hire the right people. This was and remains particularly true for smaller firms, which often lack the resources to invest in job board postings or contract with recruitment specialists. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative options for maximizing the reach of your opening. In fact, there are several.

Leverage Your Social Networks:

Social is a superweapon for spreading the word about a job, and there are many ways to leverage these platforms for your recruitment purposes. You can start with a simple organic post and request that your networks share it with relevant applicants. Major platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn also have specific functionality for posting jobs. This includes the ability to support your posting with a minor ad spend or associate it with your company’s business page.

Put Your Job at the Center of Your Website

Your website is your biggest piece of digital real estate – and it is a valuable resource when trying to fill a new post. Not only can you create a career page on your website and post your job there, but many CMS systems let you activate modals or place a promotional banner image on your homepage. Of course, this functionality differs wildly from platform to platform. But many CMS systems – for example, WordPress.org – offer easy-to-install plugins if such features are not already supported.

Conduct Community Outreach

As powerful and convenient as digital channels are, sometimes you must also go directly into your community. For example, businesses, regional colleges, universities and trade schools are a goldmine for potential talent. These institutions will also likely be happy to showcase your posting to their students free of cost, as they have a vested interest in helping their students secure internships or employment.

Take Advantage of Your Existing Staff

Keep in mind that each member of your current staff has their own professional network, and they may know several quality candidates for your open role. A great way to access this talent pool is to set up a small referral program. Not only will you gain potential candidates, but they will likely be more invested due to the pre-existing relationship they have with your team.  

To Attract the Best, Cast a Wide Net

When you need to hire a good candidate for an important position, it’s critical to get your posting in front of the maximum number of people. With close to 11 million job openings available near the end of last year,[ii] it’s safe to say that The Great Resignation is far from abating. To beat the competition, you must rely on both your digital and traditional channels. And with a little luck, you’ll find the perfect addition to your growing team.


[i] Statistics for Great Resignation (fastcompany.com)

[ii] Job openings near record high, with 11 million vacancies – CBS News Job openings near record high, with 11 million vacancies – CBS News

illustration of 2 hands exchanging a 5 dollar bill

Effective Invoicing

You can’t keep the lights on without revenue, and you can’t bring in revenue without effective invoicing

Every business needs to charge for their goods or services, but effectively invoicing or billing is not as easy as you might think. Let’s face it, nobody really wants another pricey software subscription, but routinely creating something manually can eat up time that is already in short supply. So, what to do? Here are a few critical things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about optimizing your invoicing process.

The Value of the Invoice

First things first: Did you know that businesses lacking an effective invoicing system can experience a real blow to their bottom line? According to 2016 data, the value of small business unpaid invoices was $825 billion – roughly equivalent to 5% of U.S. GDP at the time.[i] Additionally, the average small business has $84,000 in unpaid invoices.[ii]

DIY Route

Of course, collection problems can result in unpaid invoices, but there is no way to begin trying to collect on your invoices if you can’t create and process them efficiently.

There are basically two different options for how to approach your invoices: going DIY or finding an affordable software subscription. If you go the DIY route, the best approach is to create a template that can be easily updated for each client. This may sound intimidating; but don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. And the good news is that you likely already have a program that can largely take care of this for you.

Creating a template is easy with Microsoft Word, and the software includes a variety of templates that you can download. To do this, simply go through the following steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Word;
  2. Hit “File,” and then “New,” and then on the right-hand side of the window you can search for templates or optionally select a category;
  3. Type “invoice” into the search bar;
  4. Once you’ve settled on a template, download it and prepare to customize it for your business.

Before you can begin customizing, you’ll need to gather some business information. Be as comprehensive as possible here; you want your invoice to look as professional as possible. Some elements you’ll want to include are:

  1. Your agency logo (if you have one)
  2. Company contact details: name, address, phone number, website and email
  3. An invoice number – for referencing purposes
  4. An itemized list of products or services that you have provided for your clients
  5. The invoice date
  6. The date the invoice needs to be paid
  7. A subtotal for all charges
  8. Details for how your clients can remit payment
  9. A total amount owed, including all applicable taxes
  10. Your payment terms and conditions
  11. A small message thanking your client for choosing to work with you

Once you have added all the above elements, save your invoice in a handy location for future reference.

Software Subscription

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating your own invoice in a program like Microsoft Word, there are many options for anyone looking for a more automated approach to invoices – both free and low-cost.

When considering between a DIY approach and a software subscription, there are a number of factors to weigh. Invoicing software can offer benefits such as:

  1. Tracking invoice delivery and payment status
  2. Reducing missed payments
  3. Simplifying the accounting process
  4. Protecting key customer information from cyberattacks

Think through your business needs ahead of purchasing a subscription. If your agency could benefit from some of this added functionality, that may create enough positive ROI to justify the monthly expense.

Additionally, keep in mind that today’s modern solutions can frequently be integrated with other services – which can save you additional time. For instance, many invoicing software subscriptions integrate with payment gateways – meaning that customers can make their payments digitally rather than bothering with paper checks.

Boost Your Profitability Invoicing is the bread and butter of your business, meaning that you need a process in place that is clear, easy and standardized. Whether you pursue a DIY template or make a small investment in invoicing software, streamlining your billing process is never a bad idea and will — no pun intended — almost invariability pay off.


[i] [Infographic] The Economic Impact of Unpaid Invoices | Fundbox Blog

[ii] Ibid

digital solutions graphic

Selecting the Right Software Solution for Better Collaboration

Collaboration is the lifeblood of a well-functioning company; the right solution can make all the difference.

Even before the pandemic hit, collaboration challenged businesses of all sizes and industries. When offices emptied nearly 20 months ago and people retreated to their homes, these difficulties increased. In-person communication became impossible with collaboration confined to digital tools like email and Zoom. 

Thankfully, we live in a time of limitless digital innovation, where you can find dozens of solutions to streamline collaboration and boost productivity. Let’s look at a few best practices for selecting software to support your unique collaboration goals. 

What Are Digital Collaboration Tools?

Why do you need a specialized collaboration solution? If you have an internet connection, an email address and a cell phone, isn’t that enough? For some, it may be. Yet many organizations have complex processes and must manage projects with remote or hybrid teams. Modern software solutions can offer these organizations additional functionality that is badly needed. From cloud storage and scheduling to instant messaging, file sharing and alerts, today’s collaboration software keeps these teams on track and optimizes workflows for maximum productivity. 

How Do You Pick a Collaboration Platform?

Just as you would with any other solution, choosing the right collaboration software means following a strategic process. First, focus on identifying problems or pain points that you hope your solution will mitigate. Next, make a list of features that you need to have and that you want to have. Because of the sheer variety of available solutions, it is wise to do your research upfront to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Luckily, there are plenty of reviews and commentaries that can help you begin to zero in on the ideal collaboration tool.  

One way to think about it is to determine your core workflows. For example, if you deal with a high number of digital documents, you will want your collaboration software to include a secure mechanism for transferring files between users. If you have projects that must go through several levels of approval and sign-off, then you’ll want robust scheduling features for you to layout clear, step-by-step processes. 

Other considerations are whether the tools you select are secure and flexible. Cybersecurity is a major problem for businesses across the economy, so you’ll want to inquire about built-in protections. A couple of examples of this would be end-to-end encryption for any chat features and multifactor authentication deployed during sign-on. 

Pay special attention as well to how receptive or malleable your solution is to integrations. Chances are, you already have a few programs or services you are using to conduct business. You’ll want the option to integrate new tools with pre-existing IT infrastructure. 

Finally, inquire about the pricing for any solutions you find yourself considering. Many IT products now function through an “as-a-service” model, meaning that you will pay a monthly fee for the service. Don’t forget to ask if this applies to your platform or if you will be primarily paying an up-front fee. Additionally, there can be other associated costs – such as network bandwidth, supportive infrastructure, deployment costs and user training expenses. Take the time to calculate what’s known as total cost of ownership (TCO) ahead of making any final decisions. 

Strengthen Your Collaboration for Better Operations

Without effective communication and collaboration throughout your company, it’s extraordinarily difficult to operate efficiently and scale your business. In our fast-paced digital world, keeping a close eye on your projects and optimizing your workflows is even more important. Thankfully, many solutions can keep employees connected and productive whether your team operates via headquarters or home offices. 

rendering of a compass with a CMS icon

What Content Management System (CMS) Does Your Organization Need?

Your CMS is what supports your business’s digital front door. Be sure it’s the right one!

Last month, we shared a post on selecting the right customer relationship management (CRM) solution for your business. At the time, we highlighted the fundamental importance of such platforms, in that it’s difficult to make sales without first having access to the clean, organized and insightful customer data that CRMs provide.

All of this remains true; a good CRM can help make or break a business. Yet if there is one solution even more important, it would be your content management system (CMS). While CRMs can help you sell better and optimize your processes, without a great CMS you may not need processes as you likely won’t have customers to sell to. CMSs let users create, manage and modify content on a website even if they don’t possess specialized technical knowledge like coding. And since we live in a digital-first world, without a website it is extraordinarily difficult to find, attract and establish an audience for your products or services.

Here’s how to select the right CMS for your business needs and ensure that you’ll always have an easy way to manage your content.

CMS Platforms 101

What do we mean when we say that CMS platforms allow you to create and modify content without advanced knowledge of computer programming? Well, without a CMS, you would need to write a static HTML file and upload it to your server if you wanted to present your audience with a fresh piece of content. A CMS does all this heavy lifting for you. With an interface roughly comparable to Microsoft Word, these platforms make it a breeze to compose, format and optimize your content with elements like links, videos, polls or photos.

In addition, CMS platforms assist users with designing the look and feel of their site. They also often support functionality like eCommerce, blogging, forums, portfolios, social networks and more. The amount and variety of features vary across platforms and price points, but increasingly, most leading CMS brands, such as JoomlaTM, DrupalTM, WordPress.orgTM, SquarespaceTM and WixTM, can accommodate a wide variety of different use cases.

What Type of CMS Do You Need?

Whenever investing in a new piece of software, you should always start by addressing who your stakeholders are. If your agency has a marketing professional on staff, for instance, they will likely need to be involved in the decision. The same goes for IT and, of course, sales. Gather their input before moving forward with a vendor and be sure that they are a part of the conversation during the implementation process.

It is also crucial to think through your priorities and the priorities of your stakeholders. Consider what CMS features are organizational needs or, in other words, your “must-haves,” and what are your organizational wants or “nice to haves.” Write these down to help guide your conversations with vendors. If you’re finding it difficult to think through the features you do or do not need, never fear. There are plenty of articles online that can help get you up to speed on the features offered by many top platforms.

Next, you must grapple with the logistical question of how your CMS will be hosted, choosing between either cloud or on-premise; each have their pros and cons. Of course, these days when it comes to new software solutions, many people extol the values of a cloud-native approach, and it’s not difficult to understand why. From lowering IT workloads to reducing costs, the cloud clearly holds some major advantages. However, you must carefully consider the merits of each option to decide what will work best for your organization.  

After that, take a good, hard look at your internal capabilities – that is, the technical competency of you and your staff. This is a pertinent question to explore, as the amount of digital acumen required to fully leverage a CMS depends completely on the brand you select.

There is no need to worry too much on this point. Many of the leading CMS brands have reached their current market position due to their incredible usability. But there are still major differences between systems, and the last thing you want is to invest in a new solution that is difficult or impossible for your staff to use.

CMS: A Pathway to Sales and Business Success

CMS platforms have been around for decades now, and it’s quite likely that you have already had some experience operating one. Still, you may never have gone through the process of implementing such an important system. Thinking through the questions outlined here can be a helpful exercise. It can ensure that you and your agency create a dynamic digital experience for your customers, which, of course, is a sure-fire way to start bettering your sales.

The words: sales, CRM, Analysis, support, strategy, service and marketing in magnifiers on white background. All words are black except CRM is in red.

What CRM is Right for You?

Having well-organized data is the lifeblood of modern business. Do you have the right system in place?

Running a successful business hinges on data. Without it, you cannot gain a clear picture of your customer base. You can’t understand your sales productivity or optimize your team’s communication or collaboration processes. But it’s one thing to recognize the need for data; it’s another thing entirely to know how to organize and leverage it. Thankfully, a solution exists that can help you streamline your business, improve customer relations and successfully grow your revenues. That solution is a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

What is a CRM Platform?

A CRM platform is a technology solution that allows you to easily manage all interactions you have with an existing or prospective customer base. On a broader level, however, these platforms assist companies with streamlining processes and improving profitability.

Why Do You Need a CRM?

A good CRM can unify your business. By leveraging the solution properly, each department within your agency can gain real-time insights into your sales, business objectives and overall profitability. This solution also gives every department a clear view into your customers, utilizing data the CRM typically organizes into a customizable and exportable dashboard. You can optimize your marketing efforts with this information, harnessing data to implement better campaigns and make more sales.

CRMs have a role to play in customer service as well. We live in a world of omnichannel communication, which can often make managing customer interaction complex and arduous. CRMs, however, make it easy to engage with customers across multiple channels and ensure that each touchpoint is carried out perfectly.

Where to Begin?

Whenever you are making an IT investment, or any business investment, it’s always wise to begin with your goals. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? With a CRM, companies are often trying to accomplish a few different objectives, such as tracking leads, customers and sales; unifying operations; increasing productivity; and making data-driven decisions. Think about the features that are the most important to your organization so you can prioritize those during your CRM selection process.

Then start conducting your research on potential vendors you’d like to work with. There is a glut of information online that you can use to inform your search, with this article, in particular, giving a good overview of the best solutions for different types of businesses.

Understand the Process

Once you have some idea of what you need, you can begin working with a product vendor. This can be a complex and, at times, lengthy process. Depending on the size of your organization, your vendor may even assign you a project manager to keep the implementation of your solution on track. Be sure to rely heavily on the expertise of your vendor, and when you are trying out a demo of the product, make it a priority to test every function so you can obtain a clear and comprehensive picture of its capabilities and whether they align with your goals.

Gain Buy-in

Implementation with your vendor should not occur in a vacuum. Your team needs to be involved in various capacities from beginning to end. Not only will your team ask pertinent questions that you haven’t thought of, but they are, in fact, the people who will need to use the solution going forward. It is crucial that you gain a sense of your CRM’s overall usability and how steep the learning curve might be upon adoption. Remember, staff training time will reduce their bandwidth to work on other projects.

CRMs Bring Positive ROI

Implementing a new system can be a unique challenge for businesses. Not only does it cost time and money, but benefits can feel intangible and unproven – at least initially. What’s important to note, however, is that a CRM can make a real, long-term difference to your business, both for your customer relations and your bottom line. For anyone operating in a customer-centric business, it can have a transformative impact by increasing customer lifetime value, reducing your operating costs and facilitating remote or hybrid work. It’s an important investment to make if you hope to streamline your current operations and succeed in the future of work.

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