Contact: Clayton Falk
Airdrie Counselling Centre
#5, 620 1st Ave N.W.
Airdrie, AB T4B2R3
Phone: (403) 703-7025
This past week we had Clayton Falk with Effective Solutions presenting on "How to choose the right Mental Health Practitioner". To help navigate and better understand all the options out there we've included a PDF of his presentation. If you have any questions (whether for yourself or on behalf of a loved one) please remember that it never hurts to ask.
Contact: Clayton Falk
Airdrie Counselling Centre
#5, 620 1st Ave N.W.
Airdrie, AB T4B2R3
Phone: (403) 703-7025
The challenges of finding and retaining great employees is the same whether you are a small business owner or you run a large corporation. The good news is that the same principles and practices apply, and if you put the work in up front, you will save time and money in the long run. The four crucial areas to this process are:
1) Identifying the need to hire
2) Writing a comprehensive job description
4) Training/Orientation upon hiring
How do you know you need to hire someone? This may seem like a simple question but many small business owners are so busy that they may not even recognize that they should consider bringing in a new employee. You may be spending way too many hours working on tasks that someone else could be doing e.g. administrative duties, instead of focusing on running your business, or you could be missing important deadlines because you are overwhelmed with the day-to-day functioning of your business.
Once the need is recognized, the most important step is to write up a detailed job description. This becomes a tool that will assist you and your new employee every step of the way.
“A well put together job description is a good business investment because it can be used to support most HR functions: recruitment, selection, orientation, training, work plans, compensation, performance reviews and legal defence.” (Service Canada Job Analysis 2011-11-30).
This can seem like a daunting task if you have never written a job description, however there are lots of great templates to guide you in the process, including one in Microsoft Word. Another great resource is the HR Council of Canada (http://hrcouncil.ca/hr-toolkit/right-people-job-descriptions.cfm) which provides a template and samples (NOTE: This website is for non-profit organizations, but the examples are still useful).
Recruitment is your next step, and there are several ways to go about this:
- Referrals (friends, colleagues, peers, family)
- Posting on your company website
- Online Job Boards (Kijiji, Job Bank which are free; Workopolis or Monster for a fee)
- Industry or Professional Associations
The job description can be used to write up your job posting, and once again, there are lots of great templates available to guide you through the process (Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is a comprehensive resource for the whole recruitment process along with samples, templates and links).
Once you have hired your new employee, the last and often overlooked step is a good orientation and training plan. It can be as simple as spending time going over the job description, discussing your company goals, values, and standards, introductions to other staff members, and training on equipment and processes.
Hiring the right employee and retaining them is critical to the success of your business. The cost of hiring the wrong person can be massive; some statistics indicate that it can be as high as 30% of the employee’s annual salary; other statistics show that recruiting and training a new employee can cost up to 2.5 times their annual salary. Putting in the time and effort at the beginning of the process will contribute to success for your business and for the new employee.
1) Alberta Human Rights Commission (Provides information on the Alberta Human Rights Act)
2) Service Canada (Screening and Interviewing Job Applicants)
3) Government of Canada (National Occupation Codes)
4) HR Council (Selection and Hiring Tips)
5) Alberta Government (Hiring and Keeping Employees, Business Tax, and Payroll)
6) Alberta Employment and Labour Relations (Employment Standards and Labour Code; Employment Equity and Human Rights)
7) Canada One (Effective Hiring for Small Businesses)
8) Law Depot (Legal Forms and Documents for Canadian Businesses)
Author: Loanne Benner - Benner Database Designs firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrepreneurs are by definition independent. However, sometimes that independence can become a barrier when trying to achieve certain personal goals, such as becoming a Home Owner. Anita Lemke with Mortgage Architects recommends 3 simple steps to overcoming those barriers:
1. Know your Credit Score. People often think that they shouldn’t check their own credit score as it can adversely affect their rating. However when you check your own score it’s called a “Soft Hit” and does not show up in your credit history. It’s only when another lender checks your score that you see their inquiries – the more you have the more detrimental it can be for a mortgage application. (Only give permission for credit checks if you are fully committed to financing your purchase, whatever it may be.) You can check your personal credit score for free at Equifax Canada. It ranges from 300-900. A score above 680 is considered excellent, and a score below 620 is considered challenging.
2. Financial Discipline. Something as simple as just paying your bills on time can dramatically increase your credit score and begins to build trust with possible lenders. Being consistent when managing both your personal and business financials, along with filing your income taxes with future buying power in mind; can be worth more than your actual numbers.
3. Documentation. When applying for a mortgage, make sure to have ALL your documentation ready. If your record management and bookkeeping are well organized you will have a clear picture of your financials and so will your lender. If your documentation has gaps in it, this creates confusion and can result in either disqualification or a less than favourable rate.
Knowing upfront the extra requirements a self employed individual will need to obtain a mortgage; can smooth an otherwise daunting process. A qualified mortgage planner with Mortgage Architects can definitely help and will come highly recommended.
-They have access to a broad network of lenders. They will work to pair you with the right type of lender based on your financials with the best possible lending product. When you go into a bank you only have access to one.
- They do one credit check which is then used to approach only the right lenders. Going to several banks results in several credit checks.
- They know what documents are required for any type of financial situation and can help make sure your application is complete.
- They know when to submit your approval documents based on the current real estate market activity.
All this and more, at no cost to you! Yes that’s right. FREE!!! Mortgage Brokers are paid on a commission basis by the lender. So why not take advantage of all these tools, resources and experience? If you are self employed and ready to achieve your goals, contact Anita Lemke. She can certainly help pave the way for your success.
Records management all comes down to telling a story. What did you do? Why did you do it? When did you do it? How did you do it? The clearer and more accurate the story the easier it is to follow. Jennifer Benner with Benner Database Designs believes there are many benefits to taking the time to make sure your story is constructed properly. It acts as a reminder to oneself; it serves as direction for others and creates accountability for what is being done. Here are some quick easy steps that Jennifer recommends to ensure that your records are organized and well managed.
Create an Index – With any book there is an index which explains what you should find inside. Records should be the same. Consider taking your monthly bank statement for example and use that as a front index for all of the corresponding receipts you should attach in behind. The front page is a quick summary that relays all the pertinent information quickly and the attachments support your summation. *Helpful Hint – Use envelopes to store loose/small receipts. The envelopes can be attached in such a way that you can access, edit or add additional receipts.
Multiple Copies – Don’t be afraid to photocopy or print duplicates, (you can always recycle later). If you have copies in more than one spot you will be able to tell more than one version of your story. For example if you keep a deposit slip for your bank account, you may attach it as a receipt to your statement. (As outlined above) However if you also photocopy it, you can keep it in a separate file for Deposits and Deposits only. This allows you to view your information in more than one way. One would be Any/All Banking Activity within a Date Range. (Bank Statements) The other would be Specific Banking Activity within a Date Range. (Deposits File) Also if you happen to lose a copy you may be able to find it in the other location.
Colour Coding – Assigning a Colour to a Form, Folder or Item can instantly relay information and serves as a quick visual cue. It can let you know where you are in a process or establish value/priority to a task. As an example, perhaps you have Work Orders in one colour (Pink) and Invoices in another (Yellow). If you see a mountain of pink you know that you have to prioritize getting the work orders completed so you can convert them to invoices. Hard to tell if your inbox is all white.
Delete vs Void – If possible ALWAYS Void something rather than delete it. Deleting can create questionable gaps in your story. When you void you often have an opportunity to say why you’re voiding even if you have to do it multiple times. You may look like an idiot but at least you’ll remember why.
Back Ups – If nothing else make sure you back up your files, and verify that your back ups are actually working. A computer can crash. A hard drive can be stolen. Paper can burn or get wet. Nothing is fool proof but if you ensure that you have both a Hard Copy (Paper) and a Soft Copy (Electronic) then chances are if you find yourself in a pickle you’ll be able to get yourself out.
Consistency – Being consistent in your processes and how you create your files makes it much easier to search through and makes errors or gaps much more visible. Try printing file folder labels instead of handwriting them. Keep the same naming convention when creating electronic file names. Ensure you staple your forms together in the same way, in the same order. Taking 5 extra minutes now can save you hours later.
At the end of the day you need to do what works best for you. However it’s always wise to bear in mind that others may need to understand what it is you’re doing. Have fun organizing!!!
This past weekend marks the end of Artember with the grand finale having been Culture at the Creek. Artember is an amazing 17 day event celebrating Arts and Culture in and around Airdrie. It was started 4yrs ago by Creative Airdrie Society and is quickly emerging as an artistic Mecca for Alberta. Their goal is to help make arts and culture accessible to everyone across any border. If Artember’s success continues to grow at its current rate it could become to Airdrie what the Stampede is to Calgary.
We were fortunate enough to have Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, who is one of the Creative Airdrie Society founders, come in to explain to us how businesses could become more involved in Artember. We were surprised at some of her suggestions as most of us didn’t realize many of the options open to us as business owners.
Did you know that for a nominal fee you can display a local artist’s creations in your store front? In return you get free artwork for your office, advertising space in the Artember guides and a sandwich board in front of your business indicating your support and welcoming more foot traffic to stop in. This program has been so successful some of the companies have opted to display the artwork year round, rather than just for Artember.
Did you know that if you own a building with a blank wall, Creative Airdrie can match you with a local artist to paint a mural on it? (I think we all know how much a mural improved the look of the metal quonset on 1st avenue.) You can’t advertise by putting your business name in the mural but you can certainly choose a subject matter that highlights your business. For example a coffee shop might choose to have a painting of coffee beans and a cup done.
Did you know that if you have one of those ugly utility boxes or fire hydrants in front of your store or in your neighbourhood the city can approve artistic coverings for these? Just by contacting Creative Airdrie you could collaborate with them to have a unique cover created which complements your business or community. As an example the fire hydrants in Bayside could be painted up as lighthouses. This project could become our version of the painted cows. The possibilities are endless and the goal is to have every single one in the city done.
Creative Airdrie has also recently launched the Artistic Flags along 1st avenue and have been inundated with calls to have more flags added in other locations. Put your request in now so as not to miss out on the opportunity to display your civic pride and artistic support.
Are your creative juices flowing? Do you want to get more involved now that you know how easy it is? Well here’s how you can help... Creative Airdrie is currently looking for new board members. They can always use help from volunteers. They are also in need of places to host Pop-Up Galleries or “Dirty” spaces for Artists to create in. If you’d like to go all out, how about opening a full time Art Gallery in Airdrie? A first for our city and grossly overdue.
Statistics show that for every dollar invested in the arts, double that is returned to the community. A 50% return on your money is certainly nothing to laugh at. Airdrie’s population growth and development is unprecedented and seems to attract hard working, entrepreneurial individuals along with some amazingly gifted artists. Building our community pride and unity through support and cooperation between these two groups is the foundation of Artember’s immense success. We are truly blessed to live in such a great city, and the sky’s the limit when we work together.
For more information on Artember visit their website: http://artember.ca or to become more involved please contact the Creative Airdrie Society at email@example.com
Stay classy Airdrie!
How to solve your #1 most frustrating office supply problem!
Do you ever find that you go into the supply room to grab a new pen and there is an empty pen box sitting on the shelf? Who took the last one and why didn’t they tell anyone?! Argh!
If you’ve never heard of the Kanban system of Inventory Management you are about to have your mind blown. Kanban was implemented by Toyota in 1953 to ensure that they were never met with the empty pen box situation. It is deceptively simple, easy to implement and amazingly effective. Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
Say you order a box containing 10 reams of paper. You find out that the time it takes to order a new box of paper from your office supplier AND have it delivered, equals about the time it takes to go through 3 reams of paper. What you do is create a Kanban Card.
1. This card is preferably laminated as you will reuse it
2. It should be bright in colour to catch one’s attention.
3. Have instructions on it to be given to whoever is responsible for ordering office supplies. Ex) Reception
4. Lists the amount that needs to be reordered. (In this case a box of 10)
This card is then placed under the 7th ream of paper or on top of the 3rd ream from the bottom as you know it will take that long to restock. When reached, simply give the Kanban card to reception and they will know to re-order the paper and how much is needed. Wow! You will never be out of paper and you will never order more than you need. (Told you it was mind-blowing.)
Now if you’re reading this and you are in the market for ordering office supplies you may also want to check out Rocky Mountain Computer Products (RMCP) Office Supply. Here’s why they’re different and definitely worth your consideration:
1. Instant account set up – all they need is your business card and a Yes!
2. Their system does price comparisons twice/week with the big box stores and automatically beats the best price. Guaranteed!
3. Dedicated drivers that do NOT just drop and run. They are as committed to customer satisfaction as the RMCP staff is. So if you need that heavy box of paper put in the back, they will do that for you.
4. Need a Rush Order or Same Day delivery? – No problem! RMCP is local to Calgary and the surrounding area guaranteeing you prompt service.
5. No Minimum Order requirements. Think it’s easier to just pop into Staples for a few things yourself? Why? You’re already on account, and they will deliver to your door. Save yourself a trip.
These are just a few of the reasons RMCP sets themselves apart. Feel free to visit them at www.rmcp.ca or talk to Aaron Kendall at firstname.lastname@example.org - Happy Ordering!
Our Events page is created by the members of the TAN Group to promote our upcoming Luncheon Seminars and our commitment to various Community Events in Airdrie.