Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tip #22: Writing Effective Job Descriptions

While “Jack of All Trades” might sound like a fitting job description for the position you are looking to fill, having a more specific title and description will help you find the most qualified job candidates. Additionally, an accurate job description helps both you and your employees to know what is expected of them and understand their roles within the company.

So, what should be included in a job description? We found the following tips in an article by the U.S. Small Business Administration and thought they would be great to pass along.

A job description includes:
  • Job title.
  • Job objective or overall purpose statement.
  • Summary of the general nature and level of the job (no longer than three to four sentences).
  • Description of the broad function and scope of the position.
  • List of duties or tasks performed critical to the success (including principal duties, continuing responsibilities and accountability of the occupant of the position).
  • Most important functional and relational responsibilities in order of significance.
  • Description of the relationships and roles within the company, including supervisory positions, subordinating roles and other working relationships.

Be sure to check out the full-length article for what not to include in a job description.

RCI members can find more tips like these on the RCI business owners list serve, an email list of members that discusses issues business owners face. Click here to sign up today. Not an RCI member? Click here to join.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tip #21: Fun Summer Product Ideas

Summertime is just around the corner so we have rounded up some fun product ideas for you to incorporate in your candy store this year.  

  • Chocolate Flip-flops – Use colored chocolate to draw flip-flop straps on Nutter Butter cookies covered in chocolate and package with cello bags and colorful bows.
  • Summertime-themed moulds – Take advantage of the hundreds of chocolate mould options available to candy makers. Incorporate items unique to your area that tourists may enjoy such as palm trees for a tropical area.  
  • Incorporate Seasonal Foods – Fruits and vegetables are great in the summertime. Pay a visit to your local farmer’s market to see what seasonal ingredients you can incorporate into your products.
  • Seasonal Flavors – Use flavors that invoke the memories, images and feel of summer. For example, coconut flavors nearly always bring images of the beach to mind so you could create a coconut-themed item and even have fun with the merchandising to have a beach theme.

If you have more ideas, please share them with each other by leaving a comment. If you are you looking for a supplier of seasonal items, RCI members can use the RCI Buyer's Guide to find supplier members who provide just what you need!

Bonus: Attend Candy Clinic at our 92nd Annual Convention & Industry Expo for even more great seasonal ideas!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tip #20: Create Fun on the Job

RCI members and staff were recently in Florida for the RCI Spring Regional Institute event as well as a Mastering Caramels educational course. While networking, education and behind-the-scenes tours were key reasons for attending the event and course, we couldn’t help but notice that the attendees were also having fun while networking and learning.

Attendees want to walk away knowing they learned something new and maybe met new people or reconnected with other fellow candy makers, but when they can also say they had fun, they walk away with an added level of value from the event. Do your employees walk away from work with a sense of enjoyment and fun? Some studies have even suggested that having fun at work increases loyalty, productivity and job satisfaction.

We have gathered a few ideas to incorporate fun into your company’s workday:
  • Celebrate employee birthdays – If you have too many employees to have a party for each individual birthday, you could have a monthly or even quarterly celebration. Get some balloons, provide some of your candies (of course!), and maybe even play a game (pin the stick on the apple, anyone?).
  • Create a ‘fun committee’ – Charge the committee with coming up with a fun activity for the team or company once a month. Allow them the freedom and creativity to come up with something outside the box. And be sure you participate to show everyone you do know how to have fun.
  • Company-wide competition – Why not intertwine fun and charity? For example, create a competition between departments or stores to see who can raise the most money for a charitable cause and reward the winning team with a fun outing or bring lunch or breakfast into the office for them to enjoy together.

Want more ideas? Check out this list of 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work.

If you have more fun ideas to share, please leave us a comment!

Check out ‘fun’ photos from Florida on the RCI Facebook page. Plus watch the RCI YouTube page for video recaps! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tip #19: Stale Pretzels are Best for Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Everything is better covered in chocolate, right? We agree! If you’re taking the ever-popular sweet and salty route and covering pretzels in chocolate, we have a tip that will help keep the chocolate from cracking once the pretzels are covered. Open your bag of pretzels and leave it open the night or day before you plan to enrobe them. By allowing the pretzels to get slightly stale, you are removing moisture which helps prevent surface cracking in the chocolate.
Happy pretzel-dipping!

Do you have additional tips for the perfect chocolate-covered pretzel? Please share by leaving a comment below!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tip #18: Add a Facebook ‘Like’ Button to Your Website

So, you’ve taken the time to set up your business Facebook page. You’ve even updated the page with a cover photo for the new timeline feature. That’s great! But, how are customers finding you on Facebook? We recently visited a variety of candy store websites to connect with their Facebook page and were surprised to find that while many of them had a Facebook page, they were not connecting to it from their website. Or, if they were, the link was tucked away and difficult to find.

Facebook actually provides the images available for you to use on their website  (and other marketing materials) along with the guidelines for use. You can find the files and guidelines here (read the guidelines for usage and then click on ‘downloads’). Be sure to pay attention to where you place the link and image on your website. Your customers will likely not take the time to search for it, so you want to be sure it is somewhere that grabs their attention and encourages action. And when they do take action, why not reward them? Offer them a discount or coupon just for liking your store on Facebook. You may want to make it valid for just the day or week they have 'liked' you so that they are motivated to get to your store asap.

Note: Today’s tip is focused on adding a Facebook ‘Like’ button to your website, but we would go one step further and encourage you to be sure all of your online media is connected. Do you have Twitter or a blog? Be sure you provide an easy-to-find link to those features as well. You want to be sure that if a customer lands on your blog in an online search, they also are able to easily connect to your website as well as Facebook and any other online media you manage.

If you haven’t set up a Facebook page for your business yet, RCI members can check out the Jan/Feb/Mar 2012 edition of Kettle Talk for an article on how to get started with Facebook.