Entrepreneurs Add Value

Entrepreneurs rock! They have a spirit that I find contagious and motivating. They have new ideas, drive and a customer focus that I think can add value to any company looking to grow or improve how they do business.

Today I met a few entrepreneurs at a 1 Million Cups networking event in Savannah. Some have successful businesses. Some are looking to start a business.

Jennifer Atkinson and her husband help people with disabilities become employees. Their Progressive Abilities Support Services (PASS) company has four offices in Florida and Georgia and works with individuals and employers. This is employee communication at the earliest stages — even before someone becomes an employee. Helping young people and those with disabilities learn how to be good employees is a great service to those involved and community at large.

Companies can learn from Atkinson’s work and recognize that employee communication starts with the first contact a prospective employee has with a company — often through the job requisition posted on a careers page.

That’s why the staffing and employee communications teams must work together to create and manage the company’s career website pages so that they do more than just list job openings and connect to an applicant tracking system. Those pages should promote the company brand, highlight the best of the company culture, and set the stage for future employee communications. The first online interaction is the start of a conversation that could go on for many years, if the candidate is hired. Make it a good one.

I also met a marketing guru who does contract work for large and small firms. He’s a sharp guy who once had his own design firm — and the employee management responsibilities that came with that — then became director of marketing at a large corporation, but now is on his own again after the company downsized. He’s helping companies and individuals improve their brand message, and along the way, he’s educating them about how to attract and retain good employees.

Mark Bruemmer, founder and CEO of eXcess Capacity, provides a service that helps companies gain revenue by sharing business resources. Through online tools and apps he’s connecting companies that have excess or unused equipment, space or other resources with those who need the resources. I quizzed him a bit about how the business works and makes money. He answered the questions quickly, directly and with clear explanations. I was impressed.

His drive and customer focus must surely come across to those he works with as he helps employees at various companies interact with each other and build relationships, which are key to any business success. Lesson to be learned: Good employee communications relies on sufficient product knowledge, clear communication and good relationships.

The event speaker was Attorney Kate Stain of Belzer PC, who provided guidance on establishing and protecting trademarks. Do your employees know your trademarks, or registered marks? Do they know what it means to have these marks? The marketing, PR and legal teams probably do, but should others, such as the sales team and those working with suppliers and vendors? Consider this an opportunity for employee communication that will help protect your brand. Informed employees might someday spot and stop a trademark infringement. How valuable would that be?

It’s good to know there are entrepreneurs out there adding value to our communities by educating future employees, helping people find jobs, connecting people with common needs, and motivating others through their passions. They are all part of the employee communications puzzle and adding value to our business community.

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