What a perfect onboarding packet looks like

September 21, 2022

Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s only the biggest small and medium-sized business conference of the year. Playbook 2022 kicks off at 9 a.m. PDT today — and the best part? It’s FREE (and completely digital). Check out the schedule and register now! (And don’t worry if you can’t attend live — we’ll send you the recordings!)

Hot off the SMB press this week:

  • Are you a microentrepreneur? 
  • Forget layoffs. Tough times call for labor hoarding.
  • Speaking of labor, build an onboarding plan that gets five stars on Glassdoor.


How to scale your biz as a microentrepreneur

A woman talking to a puppy and saying, "You're small but good things come in small packages."

Who you callin’ a microentrepreneur?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), if you own a business with one to nine employees, you fall squarely in the microentrepreneur camp. And while their teams may be tiny, these microbusinesses are making a huge impact — they account for 92% of businesses in the U.S.

What services and products typically fall under the microbusiness category? Think: home services (like cleaning, babysitting, and tutoring), coaching, graphic design, bookkeeping, nail salons, bakeries, and coffee shops.

Another key feature of microbusinesses is they often require minimal capital (typically less than $5K) — in fact, 16% of microbusinesses launched with no need for capital at all.

I’m a microentrepreneur. Any tips on scaling when you’re small?
First things first: You don’t necessarily need to scale. Plenty of microbusinesses prefer their small and nimble size. It allows for simplicity, less risk, more profits, and better work-life balance.

But if you have your sights set on boosting your business’ size, here are some steps other microentrepreneurs have taken to position themselves for growth:

  1. Find a mentor. Reach out to someone else in your industry who’s already had success  with scaling and growing their company. Nonprofits like SCORE can help connect you to the right person.  
  2. Look for funding. Sometimes, it takes a boost of cash flow to push your business to the next level. The SBA and other government entities offer grants and assistance specific to microbusinesses. 
  3. Aim for process — not perfection. Get your processes for conducting business down pat and continually improve upon them as you grow.


Why companies are hoarding employees instead of cutting them loose 

What’s labor hoarding?
When companies hang on to employees despite an economic downturn to save money. Even though everyone and their mother is anticipating a possible recession, many businesses are labor hoarding to save money in the long run. 

How can keeping people on board save money?
Think of it this way. You hire someone new, spending an average of $1,500 and 50 hours getting them set up (depending on the efficiency of your hiring process). If you have to let them go and re-hire someone else, you may as well have thrown everything you invested right out the window.

Bottom line: Employee turnover — whether you orchestrate it or not — can cost you up to 200% of an employee's annual salary.

Well, when you put it that way… I should never let anyone go!
Now, hold your horses. You first want to be sure you’re hiring the right people and training them to be successful. If someone’s not the right fit, it might be time to make some tough calls.

But if they are the right fit, you may want to think twice about cutting ties. Even when things get tight. (After all, it could keep it from getting even tighter down the road.)

👉 More on planning ahead with labor hoarding.


Onboarding 101: How to build the best new hire packet

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 
Onboarding is extremely important. It’s your new hires’ first introduction to your company — when you show off what makes your business unique while also preparing them for their specific roles on your team.

A good onboarding system accounts for 62% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention. But, you know, no pressure.

Here’s how you can alleviate the stress of providing a great new hire experience:
It starts with your onboarding packet. It should have all the necessary information a new hire needs while serving as an introduction to your business. And the right onboarding packet makes it possible for new hires to learn at their own pace and consistently access the information they need.

Some of the things you’ll want to include:

  • Passwords and login information.
  • Important HR documents, like tax forms and payment authorizations.
  • Training information, including standard operating procedures and a training deadline calendar.

And if you want to elevate your game…
Don’t limit yourself to those 50-page paper packets that could crack a desk with their weight. Treat your new hires to an easily-accessible, digital onboarding packet in a knowledge management system. The trees will thank you for it.

👉 Find more tips on creating the perfect onboarding packet.


Headlines that caught our attention this week

  • Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the hilariously extravagant lengths people have gone to answer life’s biggest questions. Like, this one: Could Ferris Bueller have really pulled off every one of his shenanigans on a single day of hooky? Three righteous peeps decided to find out. We couldn't possibly expect you to handle work without knowing how it ends, so (spoiler alert) they actually pulled it off.
  • Patagreenia. Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor brand Patagonia, is our new biggest hero. He transferred his $3B ownership of the company to a trust and nonprofit that’ll make sure all profits go towards combating climate change and protecting undeveloped land around the world.
  • When words aren't enough… use an emoji. Especially since they can help express ideas, make decisions, and boost creativity in the workplace. But keep in mind that people interpret emojis in different ways. Like… 🙃(your guess is as good as ours 🤷).
  • Drinks on me with an NFT. Before you send your dad on a coffee run, see if you can earn experience rewards with Starbucks Odyssey. The coffee chain officially added NFT tech to their existing rewards program. Instead of collecting stars, customers can collect stamps and eventually earn their way up to free virtual espresso martini-making classes, exclusive merchandise, or even a trip to a coffee farm in Costa Rica.


What you might’ve missed on Organize Chaos 

Need something new to listen to during your commute? We’ve got the perfect SMB-focused podcast for you. Every weekday, founder and CEO of Trainual, Chris Ronzio, hosts the Organize Chaos podcast. It’s chock-full of entrepreneurial and small business leadership advice covering everything from people to processes to productivity — and how to organize your life around it all.

Banner featuring a white man, labeled "Alan Stein, Jr."

Basketball fans will especially appreciate last week’s episode with Alan Stein, Jr., a performance coach who has worked with superstars like Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry. Alan shared how business leaders can take notes from these hoop legends on how to raise and sustain your game while managing stress on a daily basis. If you’re feeling a little stagnant in your business, listen to Alan and Chris talk about dealing with mediocrity and performing on a high level.

Can’t spare time for a longer episode? Try these bite-sized nuggets instead:

Organize the chaos
of your small business