Category Archives: Published Articles

Hire Like a Pro

Laimoon.com is forming a strong relationship with Potential.com and we are contributing by providing strong relevant content, as seen below.

Talent development for SMEs is tremendously challenging, as the majority of SMEs do not have the capacity to develop top talent. As an SME, if you do have the time to identify, develop and nurture talent to full potential, your company is on the right growth path.

Whether you do have or lack the capacity to foster talent, importing talent is a requirement for companies of all sizes. Winning the war for talent is particularly important for SMEs, as just one wrong hire can have immense consequences.

When hiring in your fast growing company, it is a time to step out of your comfort zone. While hiring through personal networks is an acceptable place to start, the chances are small you will be referred unknown top talent. A more exhaustive search is required. This search should include job ad and database searches online, such as the free database search on Laimoon.com. Even going so far as to engage recruiters on a contingency basis can pay dividends when seeking top talent.

Once you have started the recruitment process and have potential candidates to interview, it is important to keep in mind these 3 tips.

You need a compelling value proposition – What is the unique selling point that sets your company above all the others? Top talent is motivated beyond a paycheck and need to understand the value being created by your company is truly helping people.

You need to tell them why their position matters to the company & why they should want to work for you – Be bold. Explain to potential candidates how you will be relying on their experience to drive your business in new directions. Make sure they understand exactly why someone would want to work for you

You need to be hiring ‘Do-ers’ – What are Do-ers? A do-er is a future manager or director that can draw from experience to bring ‘big wins’ for the company. Do-ers are people thrive on going out and doing the hard work required of them, while one day developing into potential leaders.

As a focused business owner, one day you will be lucky enough to have talent development programs within your organization. Until then, hiring top talent who can one day turn into your future leaders is a great method for success. Keep one eye to the future and one eye to accomplishing today’s task and you will set the stage for strong talent development in your organization.

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Sales Challenges in the Middle East IT Market

I was recently published in Reseller Middle East where I discussed valuing your sales staff. There are stark differences between the Middle East & the US regarding sales. I attempt to shine some light on how MENA managers can value their sales staff similar to how it works in the west.

You can find it on the ResellerME Online Magazine-Page 51. Or read the unedited article below.

Talent Retention starts with Recruitment

All recruiters and employers face common problems, yet here in the Middle East, and particularly in IT these problems all are noticeably amplified. Overall the perception is there are not enough qualified candidates – however common problems such under prepared, under educated or already gainfully employed are consistently mentioned. As a result many hours and much hard work go into the recruitment of the staff of your company. Despite this hypercompetitive marketplace rife with problems, and sincere intention of attracting the top talent the recruitment, development and retention for the position of sales is often overlooked.

Perhaps another article for another time, would be due if I have to tell you why skimping on the hiring of sales people is a bad idea. Instead addressing the larger prevailing attitude throughout the region that the sales profession is viewed a more of a stepping-stone to a ‘better’ position does more to help us understand the problem of attracting and developing top IT sales talent. While both job seekers and employers foster this misperception it causes pain on both sides of the equation. As a virtue of being treated as second-class employees sales professionals are always on the hunt for their next higher paying job, ready to jump ship with an increase of a few hundred dirhams at a moments notice. Employers are aware of this and thus treat sales people as a flight risk, under compensating, micromanaging, and fostering the atmosphere of irreplaceability. This results in a vicious cycle of disloyalty where by sales ‘professionals’ hop from company to company acting as hired guns for the next highest bidder.

Since this retention of top sales talent starts with recruitment, how do you attract the top talent? Simply put treating your employees well. A more complicated answer would be a larger organizational change, fostering an environment that is view upon as a great place to work. Since we as humans spend the better part of our days and particularly our lives at work we look for a great and dare I say fun place to work. But what makes a great place to work and how do I attract great people to work here? When advertising and recruiting for the position it is ok to use unique incentive structures to attract top talent, and just like offering value added services, this will distinguish your business in the market place. Besides straight monetary compensation here are some other incentive ideas to attract top talent, particularly sales talent.

A flex work environment – Offering the ability to work one day at home a week To keep employees productive on these days clear and measurable benefits and goals must be set

Emphasis on a diverse skill set – Talented people appreciate the opportunity to perform a wide array of tasks and responsibilities. Proclaiming this to be the case when recruiting and hiring will drive you top talent.
Offering training and continuing education – Along with a diverse skill set, top talent needs to be driven to excel. Mastery of concepts and technical aspects will contribute to employees personal and professional growth as well as creating more knowledgeable employees for your business.

Laying out a clear career path – Business is not expected to grow without a clear business plan, why should your employees be any different? Laying out clear career paths assist in showing employees how they must perform to get to where they want to be.

Unfortunately workers can become comfortable at their jobs figuring out how to do the least amount of work, but still impress their bosses. This is why unique and goal driven compensation can enable employees to perform not only for your business, but also for themselves.

There are many challenges in sales in the MENA region. Only when perceptions change and a few forward thinking companies start to change environments will then the market change and sales professionals will then soon follow.

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Social Media for Small Business – 2009

This was an article featured in the Scottsdale Airpark News, a local business publication in the Scottsdale Business Airpark. Published in 2009 it already feels dated.

Click here to see a scanned version of the article

 

Unless you have been living under a rock on Mars chances are you have heard about Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo, LinkedIn, the list goes on, and on…and on. Frankly, it can be exhausting. But just what are these forums and online communities and why should business people care?
Social Media is a broad and daunting form of media. It can take many forms and have many different users. Social Media can take just some of these forms such as blogging, video blogging, microblogging, social sites, email, podcasts, forums, and music sharing. All of these forms of communication can be done very simply and cost effectively. Social media is highly accessible and is changing the day to day activites of how people read, write, share news and information. Wikipedia even goes so far as to call it the “fusion of sociology and technology…and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers to publishers.” No that’s is a very powerful statement. Sociology is an extension of social sciences and is the study of human social structure. In the Social Media-sphere we are applying classic sociology understanding with the evolution in technology, to drastically change the way humans are interacting.

ONCE UPON A TIME

Just how did social media start? Well many attribute the start of social media directly to free email clients. Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, these still are email sites that allow people to directly communicate, and publish thoughts, feelings, and keep in contact with others next door, in the next state, or in the next country. Email was and still is an instant communication tool and the most widely adopted form of social media.

Social media, as it has more traditionally been come to be known has generally been acknowledged with the beginning of the out of favor site Friendster. Friendster’s initial goal was to “create a safer, more effective environment for meeting new people. Friendster allowed you to connecting to friends, friends of friends and so on, allowing members to expand their network in face-to-face type scenarios.” Friendster was the first to actually take away the anonymity and encouraged users to use their real name. Now I would be “Jacob Lebo” instead of “kinglebo2027” thus allowing all users a more personalized and fulfilling online experience. Friendster is mentioned as falling out of favor and sure, you can still get a profile and actively participate on Friendster, but good luck finding your friends and family to engage with. Friendster suffered a fabulous and almost instant death, similar to what is happening with MySpace right now.

In fact Jon Gibs, vice president of online media and agency insights for Nielsen Online notes. “Remember Friendster? Remember when MySpace was an unbeatable force? Neither Facebook nor Twitter are immune. Consumers have shown that they are willing to pick up their networks and move them to another platform, seemingly at a moment’s notice.”

DOWN TO BUSINESS

As a business owner it is in your best interest to have a strategic plan to understand just what networks are worth engaging in. So do you need to participate in social media? Does you business need social media?
A recent Anderson Analytics report found an estimated 110 million people in the U.S. — or 36% of the total population — are regular social networking users. A regular user is someone who logs in at least once a month Within those regular users Facebook dominates with 78 million regular users, followed by MySpace with 67 million, Twitter with 17 million, and LinkedIn with 11 million regular users.

With 110 million members in a captive audience, members that willingly share their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, wouldn’t your business be hurt by not participating in Social Media?

Getting started on social media, is best done personally first. Then you can decide if it right for your business. Obviously an informed decision is the best one so here are some points to get you started.

DO NOT Accept every social media invitation. I constantly turn down invitations to many different social media circles because quite frankly I don’t have enough time.

DO NOT use social media during the day. I know it can be addicting, however in addition to building relationships, it can be a time vacuum. Many social media activites should be done off business hours.

DO engage. In Facebook, wish happy birthdays, and make relevant comments to your friends. In LinkedIn pose and answer relevant questions that relate to your business. On blogs and forums leave thought provoking comments and compliments. “that was a great aritlce” doesn’t work! I said thought provoking.

DO NOT get overly personal. Remember these comments are generally read by your peers and business associates. Do not write anything you wouldn’t say in person, and be aware these will be listed forever.

Remember the key to any successful social media strategy is to actively listen participate and engage with you industry, customers, and other relevant players. If you do this correctly, the relationships you build will foster a greater ROI for your business and brand.

Nothing is ever deleted from the web; it just goes into Google’s cache… What’s a cache you ask? Google it!

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