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Build Your Business

Build Your Business

Starting a new venture or business can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It can also be one of the most stressful. In the first months or even the first years of your business, cash flow is often not what you want it to be. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you wear a lot of hats – in fact, you probably wear them all.

Build Your Business
Build Your Business

Not only do you sell your product or service, you market it, do the accounting, pay the bills, answer the phones, design and update your website, prepare and send mail. And of course, you can easily think of ten or fifteen additional tasks that need to be done in addition to these for your own business. Most, if not all, of these tasks seem doable in the early days of your start-up. However, once you start making sales or the public interest in your business begins to increase, it becomes impossible, frustrating, and quite stressful to put on all the hats.

Build Your Business

A quick and easy solution is to hire an intern – a college intern. Throughout my corporate career in finance, I have benefited from many university interns over the years. Not only were they hardworking, responsible and some of the best workers, they were also eager to learn and contribute ideas. My interns were reliable and many were hired as regulars after graduating from college.

With more and more college students choosing to start their own business instead of working for others, having the opportunity to work first hand with a business organization like yours may be just what they’re looking for. So how do you find an intern that is right for you and your job?

Simple Steps to Hiring an Intern

1. What do I need to do? What can an intern do? One of the first things to do is to grab a clean sheet of paper and start writing down all the tasks you do in your job – and I mean everything. Next, decide which tasks you absolutely have to do yourself and which can be assigned to an intern. Typical tasks you do may include:

entering business card data into your database
communicating with local chambers of commerce and ordering mailing lists
marketing mailings – printing letters, stuffing envelopes, stamping letters
write and update your marketing plan
keep your marketing calendar up to date
calling potential customers – by phone and in person
writing a marketing collateral
update website information
confirm appointments with clients
write and update your business plan
appearing at trade shows (perfect for an intern to work as your assistant)
buy office supplies
postal parcels, letters, etc. to the post office.
various jobs

meetings with customers

reviewing local newspapers, business magazines, and trade magazines for possible job prospects or other opportunities
article clipping
attend room functions and other networking events
filing
answer the phones
accounting
Surely there is a lot to do in your business! And of course, no one else can do it all but you. Once you’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tasks using different colored highlighters or something as simple as a checkmark, determine which of these tasks can be assigned to someone else. This will be the basis for writing a job description for your intern.

Build Your Business
Build Your Business

Build Your Business

2. To draft a job description. Write a simple job description with a list of tasks you must complete on a weekly basis. Also, estimate how long these tasks will take and, if possible, what days of the week would be best for someone to work for you.

3. What kind of trainee? My suggestion is to hire a college intern with a background in the areas where you need help the most. For example, if your startup focuses heavily on using computer technology to produce your product or service, or if it’s an important part of your interface with your customers, hire an intern studying computer science. On the other hand, if you have a business that focuses on delivering corporate sales training programs, hire a marketing specialist. If you have general office chores that need to be done, consider a business student.

Build Your Business

4. To pay or not to pay? That’s the question. Today, interns are available on a paid or unpaid basis. The hiring market for new college graduates is very tense, so they know that any work experience they gain prior to graduation will serve them well in the future.

5. Offer benefits other than money. Money isn’t the “all being, the end of everything” relationship with your intern. Many interns want to learn new skills that can best be learned in a real-life scenario. They also know the importance of networking and the possibilities that can arise from meeting the right person at the right time. Additionally, if they really enjoyed the experience (and you do), they will ask you to write them a letter of recommendation or serve as a reference in the future.

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