Effective Employee Feedback

Good job sign

Photo (CC 2.0) by Steven Depolo, on Flickr

We all know that some guidance will help us to do our job more effectively and efficiently and in line with the needs of the company.

Yet most of us also know how nervous we get when its time for the annual appraisal. We are afraid of what we will hear and so we enter the conference room with our shields and rebuttals already in place and formulated.

And the person doing the evaluation may have had little support in providing effective feedback and also may find these conferences scary and perhaps of little value.

With this background, should we be surprised that the results are less than what we would hope for. A recent article confirms the idea that annual appraisals offer little in terms of results.

The University of Wyoming Extension’s, Enterprising Rural Families, looks at the issue of effective feedback in their July newsletter. Juliet Daniels, the author of the article, outlines the need to give feedback often, quickly and in private. She discusses the need to focus on observable behaviors, something that can be seen and something that can be changed. She gives the example of a “bad attitude.” This comment isn’t specific and may be something that the employer and employee see quite differently.

As you think about your employee development program or you work with small-business owners who are involved in such an activity, this newsletter offers some practical advice and a great background of effective feedback.

The goal is behavior change. Effective feedback can help make that happen.

Find the full article at: http://eruralfamilies.uwagec.org/Newsreleases/2016_07_NEWSLETTER.pdf 

Be a Destination

destination sign

Photo (CC) 2.0) by Mai Le, on Flickr

You probably have heard small-business owners talk about being a destination.  And you might have said to yourself that while it works for them, the type of store you have would never lend itself to that. But why let traditional thinking stand in your way?  This owner didn’t http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/08/convenience-store-owner/494756/

Support and Mentoring for Small-business Success: A Missouri Example

Success sogm

Photo (CC) Bruce Berrien, on Flickr

There is one truth about the small business segment. They rarely have all of the resources they need.

For them the practice of bootstrapping is an every day occurrence. And one way that many small-business owners use is finding mentors and technical assistance through networking.

In Missouri, one such resource is the University of Missouri Extension and their business development program. In addition to one-on-one assistance they have a monthly newsletter filled with news and alerts for the businesses they support. It also provides a calendar of upcoming events and funding opportunities.

Learning from other business owners is part of their effort as well. They support this by having two success stories in each addition. As you look through the stories, you will come away with tips and ideas used by other business owners; information that you might find helpful in your own business.

These same stories have a dual purpose in that they form a regular posting on the success of their work.

Keeping up with people who have come through their system takes time but the stories help other business owners as well as provide a story for the University of Missouri Extension.

So business owners, tune in and see what people like yourself are doing. And for Extension colleagues, get ideas on what you might try to help grow your small-business community.

Food Entrepreneurs: Change is Here

Nutrition label

Photo (CC) by USDA, on Flickr

If you are a food entrepreneur, or foodpreneur as sometimes reference, there has been a change in your world. The rules governing what goes on your nutritional label are changing.

Consumers are more and more using this label. The changes being made will provide them with more useful information.

The Oklahoma State University Food and Agricultural Products Center has posted an article regarding these changes. They also have a short (1 minute) highlight video.

You can also find information on these changes from the USDA Food and Drug Administration here.

Keep your business on the right side of these regulatory changes.

Agritourism Interest Continues to Grow

Female farm worker

Millennial and Food, Photo by Mary Peabody

Agritourism – Bringing people back to the farm!

More and more people are showing interest in having an agritourism experience.  It may be picking fruits and vegetables or a wine tasting or a corn maze. Others are interested in learning how their food is grown and others want to purchase local foods. And the list goes on.

Many small farmers and ranchers are looking at responding to this growing interest by starting a agritourism venture alongside their ongoing enterprise. However in lots of cases, the agritourism business is substantially different than their current business and requires different skills, talents, and marketing

Extension across the country has stepped up to provide educational programs to cover these new areas of  education and support that agritourism operators are requesting. An example of a recent effort has been the University of California Cooperative Extension Small Farm Program. It has provided lunchtime webinars, led by Penny Leff, as part of their offerings.

The webinars were recorded and offer tips on marketing as well as negotiating regulatory issues. And you can find more agritourism resources on their website. A colleague and I have done several articles on the topic including:

Agritourism is an opportunity that continues to grow. Check it out to see if it might be right for you.