October 1, 2012

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

Almost anything can affect the success of a business. Economics, location ...Read More

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Women-Owned Business

Utah Business Staff

October 1, 2012

That work/life balance thing can be an obstacle and I think it’s a myth and we need to help women entrepreneurs know, especially those just starting out, there’s no such thing as balance. It’s important for us to help as mentors, as women in business, that it’s about knowing what priorities are the most important and when. Time management is one of those things that really can be a big obstacle if we are not managing our time efficiently.

JOHNSON: My biggest obstacle is finding talent. Finding engineers that can write.

WOODBURY: That is a rare combination.

JOHNSON: I have an outstanding staff and they are all men. But the layer below them, we are struggling. My biggest thought process is succession planning: Who is going to replace me? Who is going to replace each person? So talent is a huge issue for us.

TURNER: The challenge that we are seeing is the tremendous increase in cost of goods versus what the market will bear. Especially in a community like Utah that is so conservative, we tend to be behind the national average and really coming up to speed with that. So we find that to be a real challenge, especially at a time when food products are increasing so dramatically.

RICE: What I try to focus on with challenges is working “on my business” versus “in my business,” where I get down and I get pulled into the everyday concerns from an accounting issue and from a project management over here to an HR issue over there. I try to focus on the strategic vision and keeping the company moving forward, versus getting pulled down into the everyday noise. That’s a challenge for me every day.

Marilyn, you are in recruiting. What do you see going on in hiring? Are people having a tough time finding the people they need?
BECK: They are. We are incredibly busy. Probably the most busy we have been since I opened the business in 2003. It’s still hard to find good talent. What is happening is when we do find someone, you make them an offer, they accept, they go back to leave their company and they get a counteroffer. It’s huge. People are trying to keep their good people.

With all the upsweep in social media, I’m interested to know what everybody here does. Is everybody tweeting and on Facebook, or do some ignore it completely?
AKERS: Our social media presence is very limited. Because of our business model we are now working mostly through resellers, and our goal is to make our resellers as successful as possible. Our primary website is used to help educate anybody who comes to it, but we really are pointing them towards the resellers because they are the ones who have the connections in the human resource community.

What our product does is reduce the redundant paperwork issues related to hiring new employees and make that all electronic. Sales and marketing was not our background. We tried to go that route and we just did not have the expertise. We are also self-funded, so it’s just an issue where that’s not been our focus this year. We need to get there, but not yet.

RICE: It’s pretty minimal for the industry that we are in. We have our website but we don’t have Twitter or Facebook, and don’t really see the need for us to do that. But it really has helped leverage small businesses to be able to compete better when you have that technology at hand to do those things. That has been a benefit not only with myself but with other small businesses.

TURNER: I’m in an industry where social media has had a huge impact on us. We have now established a division to our marketing department where we are doing nothing but blogging and Facebooking and that sort of thing every single day. We see marketing changing tremendously, where we are doing less print. There are other forms of advertising that we have really let go to the wayside because other things have really taken over—Yellow Pages and that sort of thing. Social media for us has been dramatically positive, especially during a very difficult three years.

GRAMMER-WILLIAMS: Social media is a really great way to bolster your business, especially as it relates to your reputation online. It shouldn’t be the sole source of your marketing efforts but it really can add to your core.

Many of our clients are challenged on the best approach to integrate into the social media arena. It’s really not a huge science, you just need to start doing it. And you can do it on a little-by-little basis and it will grow from there. But your reputation online, if your potential customers are going to the internet to determine whether they want to do business with you, that is a critical place for you to be putting yourself out there.

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