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Salesforce held their Small Business Basecamp event here in Atlanta attended by hundreds of entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners. It was a day filled with lots of great panels, sessions and networking opportunities – all focused on helping SMBs efficiently move their businesses forward.
One of the partners of the event is Zenefits, a cloud-based human resource software provider for small and midsize companies. With human capital management becoming more prominent in companies of all sizes, I had the opportunity to speak with Ben Lazarov, Senior Enterprise Account Executive for Zenefits, to better understand what HCM has to offer growing small businesses.
Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. You can see the whole conversation in the embedded video. And let me send a special thank you to Monique Johnson of Live Video Lab and Corey Webb of Webb Consulting Company for producing this video.
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Small Business Trends: Before we talk about human capital management (HCM), particularly, tell us a little bit about Zenefits.
Ben Lazarov: Zenefits is the number one all-in-one HR platform. We help companies from two employees to a thousand employees manage their back office, connect payroll, benefits and HR all in one place.
Small Business Trends: The term human capital management. Tell us what that is.
Ben Lazarov: I think of it more as an employee’s experience from hire to fire. I say employee’s experience. It’s also the company’s experience, too. Being able to manage everything from new hire paperwork, to benefits enrollment, to setting somebody up on payroll, and since we’re at the Salesforce conference, being able to connect a lot of back office business systems as well.
Small Business Trends: Where does HCM fit in for smaller businesses?
Ben Lazarov: I think it’s trending towards being able to implement something quicker at a more cost effective rate. If you mentioned human capital management to somebody today, they’d probably think of a company like an Oracle or a Workday. Typically small businesses have always managed those things on paper or Excel, and they always talk about the file cabinet they have in their office. Companies are now trending towards being able to use something that’s easier for them, easier for their employees, that’s mobile, to help with their employee experience.
Small Business Trends: Maybe give us an example or two of how small business would use HCM.
Ben Lazarov: Let’s say you start work tomorrow. First day, you come into a business, typically people are always plagued with a stack of paperwork. That’s your first experience. You come in, you fill out your name and your address 15 times before you get to do anything new. I think with Zenefits, or with any modern human capital management today, we’re streamlining that process. We’re educating the employees up front and allowing them to have a better experience on day one.
Small Business Trends: When is a time that a small company should start thinking about implementing a HCM solution?
Ben Lazarov: I’ve talked to companies that have two employees and they want to be able to prepare themselves for growth. I don’t think there’s ever a time that’s too soon. At each stage of a business, one to 50, 50 to 100, 100 to plus, you’re going to have different issues that face the business from a HR, compliance and benefits standpoint, but it’s better to get started early than wait around.
Small Business Trends: Are there certain aspects that are more relevant to small businesses when it comes to HCM versus what big enterprises are faced with?
Ben Lazarov: I think what’s interesting is small businesses today are trying to stay cutting edge. They’re looking for the next best thing to propel their business and to grow their business. A lot of these small businesses look at Zenefits as a thought leader and a space to help them determine what they should be doing from an HR standpoint, from a benefits standpoint, and even from a CRM standpoint. You look to Salesforce at their AppExchange, a lot of companies go to them to see what their integrations are. I think the same thing is for Zenefits. They come to our app exchange to see what we think are the best applicant tracking systems, or the best performance management systems. Then they’re able to integrate it into our platform.
Small Business Trends: Very cool. When you think about small businesses today, there’s a lot of technology talk that’s coming at them. What’s the best way for them to look at using HCM, implementing it?
Ben Lazarov: I talk to so many companies on a monthly basis and the biggest problem that these small businesses have is they have a lot of different systems. They have one system for time tracking. They have one system for pay role. They have one system for insurance, and from a business standpoint, they need somebody to help them manage it. That’s where they turn to us and, obviously, stay compliant while doing it.
Small Business Trends: What are the pieces of the platform that they should be aware of?
Ben Lazarov: Payroll, time and attendance tracking, time off tracking. Our mobile app allows employees to manage work flows, but mainly, just helping get their employees on-boarded. There’s so much that goes into that, like I said, the documents and filling out paperwork for the employee, first of all, and then obviously for the administrator on the back end. They always have to set people up on payroll and then obviously set them up on insurance. With Zenefits, it’s just one place and everything else is updated.
Small Business Trends: Last think I want to ask you about is Zenefits recently did a benefit study around SMBs. Will you talk a little bit about that? What were some of the key findings from it?
Ben Lazarov: Yeah, we had about 8,000 companies respond to that survey. It was really great benefits benchmarking. I’d say one common theme that I hear when I talk to most companies, they always want to know what other businesses are doing, always. One key component of that is benefits, and so some key findings were that companies are actually contributing over 25% more than what they actually need to from a benefits contribution standpoint. I think they use Zenefits to stay competitive in the market. From a benefit standpoint, we also help them manage things like commuter benefits, and 401K, and flexible spending accounts. It was interesting to see all of the data around each segment of the United States from those small businesses. They’re investing in their employees. They want to be an employer of choice.
Small Business Trends: I want to make sure the people know where they can go to learn more about Zenefits and also learn more about the study.
Ben Lazarov: Zenefits.com. Go ahead and request a demo if you want to see the technology. You fill out a request demo form and we’ll get in touch with you.
This article, "Ben Lazarov of Zenefits: Human Capital Management Should Improve Experiences for Employees and SMBs" was first published on Small Business Trends
Confusion over the future of Pizza Hut circulated round the town last week but the fast-food giant was quick to quash rumours. Last Wednesday saw a 'for sale' sign erected on the Quarry Road site - despite opening in May 2016 yards away from rival pizza firm Domino's.
At this stage of our existence here in the U.S., electricity is often taken for granted. But one natural disaster and the lights could go out. I remember being without power for five days after a hurricane and it seemed like we were suddenly back in the dark ages.
An innovative device created by Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork called LuminAID has changed the game with an innovative, inflatable and portable lighting device. LuminAID started as a simple class project and now is a true disaster relief product. LuminAid is one of the prize winners in the 2016 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest and recently I got the chance to interview Andrea, one of the co-founders.
The core idea was for the product to be solar, integrated with an inflatable structure so it packs flat, is water-proof, and floats. “The original design was a pillow shape device to keep it simple and fold easily. It could be distributed in large numbers to fulfill the needs after disasters” said Andrea when asked how they came up with the idea and design.
The first product was soft launched through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Of course, their idea was initiated for natural disaster relief however they realized it would be useful for things other than disasters. The crowdfunding helped them learn more about their potential markets. “Our biggest market is for people buying it for use on camping trips, hiking, boating (i.e. waterproof), and inside personal emergency kits.”
You might remember these two inventors from a little TV show appearance. Back in 2014, Andrea and Anna entered and were selected to pitch on the hit reality television series Shark Tank. Mark Cuban, one of Shark Tank’s investors, offered the ladies a deal and has become their first investor.
I asked how they heard about the FedEx Small Business Grant contest.. Andrea stated, “We use FedEx cause we ship all over the world. We received an email about the contest. We love every opportunity to share our story and engage our customers.”
Today Andrea and Anna are looking to expand their business to hire more employees. They currently have a full-time team and they believe the grant will be a great chunk of money to put forth to expanding their team.
You could be the next big $25,000 grand prize winner. Registration is now open at http://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com
Watch the FULL interview with LuminAID:
This article, "LuminAID Goes from Shark Tank Funding to FedEx Win" was first published on Small Business Trends
Trello is a project management and collaboration platform that utilizes the concepts of boards, cards and lists for efficient task management.
The tool allows users to discuss a task or a project in real-time while keeping all team members informed through activity logs, task assignments and email notifications.
Here are some of Trello’s key features.Trello Basics Boards
Trello is made up of three main components — Boards, Lists and Cards. Let’s start with the big picture — Boards.
You can keep up with projects by organizing them into boards. Boards are for broad subjects, topics or categories and they are the largest organizational group within the platform.List
Each Trello board is broken down into smaller units known as lists. They are great for setting up different “buckets” to organize your tasks.
Use lists to represent different phases in a project or use them to assign tasks to specific individuals within your team.
Using lists to assign to-do items helps with accountability as it points to the person who is ultimately responsible for the completion of a task.
However, as you set up your lists, remember to separate the “to-do” from the “doing” list as it provides a better visualization for the team.Cards
Cards are the smallest organizational feature and are used to represent ideas, tasks, etc. Cards can easily be moved from one list to another.
You can attach files and images, add checklists, comment, assign members, color labels and add deadlines to cards. Depending on your needs, you can keep cards highly detailed or simple and easy to read. It all depends on what’s best for your business.How it Works
Trello allows you to create as many boards, lists, cards and teams as you wish — all for free. Simply drag people from the sidebar and drop them on cards to assign them tasks. The beauty of it is that all team members are able to see the same board at the same time.
You can quickly start a discussion with comments and attachments. Mention a team member in a comment to make sure they get notified. You can also add files directly from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box. Liven your activity with emojis.
Trello sends out instant notifications once something happens on the board. The notifications are sent via email and can also be accessed from within the tool.
All of Trello’s activity takes place in real-time. When you move a card, for instance, your team will be able to see the changes in real-time regardless of the device they are using.
If you have a lot of people and boards in Trello, use teams to keep everyone connected. You can create as many teams as you wish.Security
Trello is a highly safe and secure platform. You get to have full control over who sees your boards. All data is transmitted over a secure SSL/HTTPS connection. This is the same encryption technology that most banks use. You also get off-site backups of your encrypted data in case of disasters.Pricing
Trello offers three plans. The Free version, Business Class and Enterprise plan. The free version gives you a whole lot of functionality, including the ability to attach files up to 10 MB from your computer or link any file from your Dropbox, Box, OneDrive or Google Drive. However, if you are looking to attach files larger than 10 MB’s and also get priority email support, among other features, then you should consider using the $9.99 per user per month Business Class plan. The Enterprise plan is also available for larger companies that are looking for the highest levels of support and security.Conclusion
Trello’s simplistic and open-ended interface makes this a perfect tool for collaboration. There’s really no end to what you can do with Trello. The fact that it’s affordable makes it a perfect tool for startups.
This article, "Trello: Is It Just Another Collaboration Platform — or Something More?" was first published on Small Business Trends
Synup is a local business citation management platform that manages and boosts local SEO efforts for agencies, enterprises and small businesses with multiple locations.What is a Business Citation?
Citations simply refers to your business name and address mention on other webpages. An example is an online yellow pages directory, Google Maps, Apple Siri and so on.What Does Synup do?
Synup provides you with a platform to manage your own listings or citations with ease. The platform syncs all your business information from across the web and puts it in one place where you can easily manage them.
You no longer have to manually update each online citation directory as Synup automatically takes care of this. The tool automatically adds your business to all the large local search directories.Benefits of Using Synup Local Marketing Software
First of all, the platform provides you with instant submission to more than 45 local search directories as well as live listings. The central dashboard is designed to make it easy to edit and update your business details across directories.
The platform also has an automated claim wizard that allows you to easily claim your listings across directories and also allows you to easily monitor the progress of your business verification.
Synup also provides you with instant updates to all changes. This obviously removes the hassle of having to manually make changes to each directory every time you make a change in your business.
Moreover, there are times when you may find two different listings of your business on one website. Synup, however, solves this problem as it selects the most accurate listing so you can remove the ones that may be harming your business.
Other Synup benefits include:
The company’s pricing is pretty simple and straightforward. The service costs $30 per location per month. The price reduces as your volume increases.Yext Vs. Synup
Synup and Yext offer pretty much the same service. However, with Yext there is the downside that all the citations the platforms syncs for you across the web disappear as soon as you unsubscribe from the service. Synup’s data, on the other hand, is permanent.
Another major difference is in the two companies’ pricing models. Yext bills its customers on an annual basis, with its cheapest plan being $199 per year while Synup charges, as stated earlier, by location with a decrease in cost as the number of your locations increases. So the choice may depend on the number of locations you have and the level of service you need.
This article, "Synup Offers Alternative to Yext for Small Businesses with Multiple Listings Online" was first published on Small Business Trends
If your small business has any old computers lying around, you might be at a loss about how to dispose of them properly. Recycling tech isn’t always as easy as recycling things like paper and aluminum. But it’s just as important.
Computers, including desktops, monitors, laptops and other components, contain materials that can be extremely harmful to the environment. And there are plenty of potential benefits for businesses that choose to recycle. Here’s more on how and why your small business should recycle its computers.Savings on New Purchases
There are a few different ways you can recycle computers. But one of the most attractive options for businesses is to trade in old devices with the manufacturer or a retail store when purchasing new ones.
In this case, you can potentially even save some money on your new computer purchases if the old computers are in decent shape. For example, Staples allows you to trade in old tech devices in stores or even send them in by mail. Apple, Dell, Best Buy and more also have similar programs.
The price you get back depends on the condition and type of each device. But in most cases, getting some money back is better than nothing, especially for businesses making expensive new tech purchases.Access to Refurbished Goods
There are so many tech innovations and improvements making their way into computers on a regular basis. But a lot of the main components used in building those computers remain roughly the same.
So when you recycle computers, you provide raw materials that manufacturers can then use to make refurbished models or even new devices that just use some of those rough materials or recycled components. This can lead to some more affordable options on the market.Reduced Harmful Waste
When you dispose of computers instead of recycling them, it can do a lot of harm to the environment. Electronic waste is generally dumped into landfills or incinerated. And since computers contain heavy metals like lead and carcinogens, those materials can be extremely detrimental to the air, land, waterways and the environment as a whole.How to Recycle Computers
Aside from taking your computers to a retail trade-in program or sending them into a manufacturer, you have a few options for recycling computers. You can check with your local recycling center to make sure they accept devices like computers. You can also contact other local computer shops or refurbishing centers to see if they accept devices, even if you don’t plan on making new purchases.
Whichever route you decide to take, your computers can do a lot of good when you choose to recycle them. And the materials in them can do a lot of harm to the environment if you just throw them away. So taking the time to trade in or recycle your old computers and other tech devices can be a win-win for your business and the planet.
Old Laptops Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "How and Why Your Business Should Recycle Computers" was first published on Small Business Trends
What is your favorite fast food restaurant? That's the question Marketforce was seeking to answer through its new large-scale consumer study on America's favorite fast food restaurants. The survey divided chains into five popular food categories: burgers, Mexican, pizza, chicken and sandwiches.
This article, "What the Presentation Lacked in Substance It Made Up for in Rhythm" was first published on Small Business Trends