9 Things for Entrepreneurs to Watch For in 2012

Now that the Mayans have proven to be a bust on predictions we thought it might fun to see who else was going out on a limb for the future. Here is a fresh list from blogger Ilya Pozin who is highly regarded in some circles.

Nine Things for Entrepreneurs to Watch for In 2012

It’s now time to turn our attention next year’s biggest entrepreneurial trends.

Here’s my take on trends entrepreneurs should watch in 2013:

1. Crowdfunding

With the flow of capital to entrepreneurs becoming smaller and smaller each year, we’re likely to see an even greater rise in crowdfunding platforms. In fact, these collectively generous communities are estimated to transact as much as $500 billion in 2013.

2. Going Global

Today’s technological world allows us access to customers from all over the globe. Bringing successful U.S. business models into developing or trailing countries presents an opportunity for startups in every industry. Startups like Pheed, 2U, and Threadless have already made the jump into the global waters with successful outcomes.

3. Augmented Reality

Moving past the mobility wars that have taken place in the smartphone sector, brands like Apple and Microsoft are making the move to augmented reality. With the release of Google’s Project Glass prototype–the augmented reality head-mounted display revealed back in June–this sector is certainly an area for tech entrepreneurs to keep their eyes on in 2013.

4. L.A. As Tech Startup Hotspot

Earlier this year, L.A was ranked tenth on PayScale.com’s list of Hotspots For Startup IT Jobs. With the help of accelerators, L.A. will continue to grow at a hotspot for startups in 2013. After starting my web design company in L.A., I’ve been able to see the unmatched level of talent and opportunity available in the area, which will only get stronger throughout the next year.

5. Business Focus For Startups

Startups that have a bigger focus on business and revenue models are set to succeed in 2013, drawing away from businesses with a focus on big ideas and user acquisition with no clear cut revenue model.

6. Better Social Platforms

The need for higher quality content online will certainly drive a social trend in 2013 with the creation of more advanced content-driven social networks. Pheed is an example of a social platform that I feel will reach even larger audiences in 2013.

7. Great Emphasis On Company Culture

Creating a positive company culture will be of stronger emphasis for startups in 2013. Many startups are taking new steps toward building cultures that define their products. One step I firmly believe in: dismantling hierarchies, which can eliminate micromanaging and other attitudes that squash innovation.

8. Corporate Incubators For Funding

The trend of corporate-backed funding, known as “corporate incubators,” are certain to take 2013 by storm. While these funds will ultimately provide smaller amounts of support than traditional venture capital funds, they will be able to support a larger number of innovators and have a greater impact long term.

9. Internet TV

The growth of internet usage has spawned the next generation of television — Internet TV. In 2013, I expect Internet TV to take off with the help of Google and Apple TV, leaving space for new innovations in this market.

Five Keys to implementing an effective pay-for-performance program.

1) Leadership articulates pay program priorities

The first key is to outline the real priorities for your pay program. It’s important for the leadership to be aligned around the real issues at hand. Pay program priorities typically include things like:
•Attracting and retaining most people
•Attracting and retaining the key people or groups
•Motivating effort
•Aligning effort with goals
•Keeping costs competitive
•Ensuring overall fairness and equity
•Ensuring that cost of living increases are given if appropriate (assuming this is the goal of the company)
•Ensuring that there are no surprises in the way the program is run (this year should be similar to last so the employees get what they expect)

When establishing a pay-for-performance system in your organization, first ensure employer and employee expectations are explicit. When goals compete (as some of the examples above do), this can be discovered by clearly articulating the goals up front and determining how to proceed. If employees expect rewards without clarity about the employer’s business-based expectations, rewards become an entitlement instead of a motivator.

2) The pay structure should define the opportunity

The second key to creating an effective pay-for-performance system is ensuring that the pay structure defines the employee’s pay opportunity. Employees should understand what pay is available for their role. This means that the appropriate pay structure needs to provide (for each person and job) both market equity and internal equity. The pay opportunity should outline the base amount and the amount available if goals are met.

3) The goals should be set at the top and aligned throughout the organization

Individual goal and priority setting must be done in light of company and unit goals and priorities, and with cross unit alignment. In other words, the CEO and executive team set the company and executive goals. They should also review unit goals.

Then the business units cascade the corporate goals to middle managers and to the overall business unit objectives. They also align goals across functional units. Finally, individuals and their managers ensure employee goals and priorities are linked to the unit goals. Expectations should be clear. The overall goals and objectives should be visible to others.

4) Ratings should be differentiated

The fourth key to effective pay-for-performance systems is to ensure that ratings are differentiated. “The trend is away from a forced distribution or away from a forced ranking.” Jim Kochanski explained in a recent BLR webinar. In other words, ensure that the distribution of ratings is not forced into a pre-defined set. Instead, successful companies are creating a target distribution that is linked to organizational performance and making the actual distribution – which may differ from the target – visible to company leaders.

5) Managers should meet to discuss compensation decisions

Calibration of goals and ratings across managers improves rating differentiation because it reduces the subjectivity of ratings and encourages similar standards across groups. “What we mean by calibration is saying that before those ratings and rewards and sometimes goals are finalized, that peer managers compare their recommendations with each other and their boss.” Kochanski explained. This allows them to develop performance norms and calibrate ratings.

This must be done before the ratings are finalized. Having peer managers meet to calibrate ratings and compensation decisions creates and reinforces performance norms and creates positive tension to differentiate appropriately. Senior management should approve decisions in a final calibration meeting.

10 Things to Ask When Choosing a Recruiting or Placement Firm

Have you ever checked out BarryStaff’s web site. The first thing you’ll see are several of our current customers having nice things to say about us. They like the job we do for them and they aren’t afraid to tell other companies about us. Referrals are a great tool to use when selecting a Recruiting or Staffing agency to work with your company. But there are some questions you should ask. Check out the article below from the Washington Business Journal. And PLEASE ask us these questions at BarryStaff.

10 things to ask before … Choosing a recruiting or placement firm
Washington Business Journal
Date: Friday, November 30, 2012, 6:00am EST

We asked several experts what new entrepreneurs should think about when selecting a recruiting firm. Next up in our biweekly manual of sorts for startup businesses: how to choose a security company and how to choose office space.

1. How long have you been in business? You want to select an experienced recruiting firm that has a good reputation and has been around long enough to have built a large network of available and qualified candidates. A newer firm might be able to offer only a limited range of qualified candidates.

2. What type of clients do you represent? Asking the recruiting firm to describe its typical client will help you better understand the firm’s focus. Does it align with your own company’s plan of action? Always ask a potential firm for client references who can speak about the quality of the firm’s service.

3. How do you check the qualifications of prospective candidates? Determine how a firm customizes its candidate search process beyond reading resumes. Find out if it conducts reference checks and employment background checks or skills testing when screening candidates for their level of qualification.

4. Do you have available candidates? Get the firm’s the success rate in placing candidates with companies that are similar to your own. Be transparent about your budget so you can get qualified candidates within your salary range.

5. Will you come meet my staff? Recruiting firms are often removed from the immediate decision-making and hiring, so it may be helpful to get some face-to-face interaction with the recruiter to help that person understand your staffing needs. Have the firm meet you on-site and check out the workplace dynamics of your office.

6. How collaborative are your recruiters? Some firms give recruiters specific company assignments, which means you may get job candidates from an individual recruiter’s candidate list rather than from a companywide list. Once you know how collaborative and integrated a firm is, you will be able to better assess how its relationships with clients and job candidates are managed and assigned.

7. What’s your time period for placements? Ask the recruiting firm for time estimates. How long will it take before you see qualified resumes and get a candidate you can hire? Does the firm provide a guaranteed period forjob placement? Is that time frame reasonable and binding?

8. What is your placement success rate? The length of time a new hire stays in a filled position often reflects the placement success of a firm. Ascertain whether the firm has filled more temporary job positions or more permanent positions. The more permanent positions, the better that firm’s success rate.

9. What is your exclusivity policy? Some recruiting firms require that you do not use other agencies for your staffing needs. That may be fine if the firm offers a strong network of available candidates, but if you are under a time constraint to fill the position, using more firms may widen your pool. Consider your time demands and other needs before agreeing to an exclusivity agreement or contract with a firm.

10. What is your billing process? Recruiting firm fees usually vary by the type of position you want to fill.

For mid- to lower-level positions, the recruiting firm will usually bill you once a placement is made and charge you a small percentage of the hire’s first-year compensation. When filling senior or high-level positions, a recruiting firm will charge you a larger percentage of the hire’s first-year compensation.

Ask the firm about the timing for paying fees.