Fa·cil·i·ta·tion – To facilitate is to make possible, to ease, to assist.

We provide strategic facilitation services to help you articulate a more realistic and exciting future or solve a specific organizational problem or question with client-centric events and processes.

Members of: 

Boston Facilitators Roundtable

What we are up to


How to Find Freelancers to Boost Your Small Business

Hiring employees, especially full-time employees, is a big investment for any company to make. And many small businesses need help getting certain tasks done but the help they need doesn’t warrant the efforts or costs of hiring a full-time employee.

Another option, which is proving to work well for a lot of small companies, is to hire freelance professionals. When you work with freelancers, you only pay them for the hours they work or for each project they complete. And you’re not responsible for providing them with office space, health benefits, and so on. From virtual assistants to web designers, there are freelancers for pretty much every kind of business task. Here is some advice on how to find and hire good freelancers, as well as common types of freelancers that can help your company succeed.

Finding Candidates

If you have a network of trusted professionals who use freelancers, start by asking them for references. This can save you some time searching and vetting candidates. The next best option is to hit online job boards like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, many of which are free or inexpensive to use. These sites make it easy to find qualified candidates for your needs.

Hiring Candidates

Rarely will the first candidate you see online be the right one for the job. So, spend some time sifting through potential candidates, and set up an interview with any candidate you’re interested in. Also, give each candidate a paid test project before discussing any future work. Even if you find freelancers through the recommendations of professionals in your network, it’s essential to conduct interviews and see how they fit in with the work your company does.

Paying Freelancers

If you want to keep working with the talent you hire, you’ll need to make sure your freelancers are paid promptly for their services. If you find candidates through online staffing sites, you may be able to pay your freelancers through these platforms. If not, there are several secure online payment portals that you can use for this task.

You may need to give special consideration to how you pay foreign independent contractors as the fees of some payment software options are cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, there are solutions available. For example, if you’re hiring freelancers from India, Remitly allows you to send payment in as little as four hours when you use your debit card. Best of all, there are no fees if you send over $1,000.

Virtual Assistant

One of the best types of freelancers you can hire is a virtual assistant. This is because qualified virtual assistants can perform a wide variety of tasks, from managing appointments to returning phone calls. And the best part is that these assistants can do all these things remotely, and your company will still come across as more professional to clients and customers.

Some virtual assistants can even handle bookkeeping tasks such as invoicing. However, if your assistant already has enough things to do, or if you want to save a little money, you can streamline your invoicing process by investing in quality software to save you time and money in the long run while leaving you more room to hire freelancers for other projects.

Web Designer

There’s no doubt about it: You definitely need a great website. And while you may save money in the short-term by building your own site through a free web platform like Wix or Weebly, chances are slim that you will be able to create a unique, professional website this way. Plus, web design is just like any other field in the sense that it takes time to learn. Save your company time and money by bringing in a freelance web designer to build your site.

Social Media Manager

No matter what kind of business you run, marketing is critical to your success, and social media is critical to marketing these days. Hire a freelance social media manager to boost your online marketing. A good social media manager will know what and when to post on your social media accounts, as well as other ways to engage customers and drive them to your website.

The freelance economy is booming these days, as more and more businesses are realizing the benefits of working with freelancers. Search your network of professionals and online job boards to find potential candidates, and be sure to conduct interviews and give test projects. The types of freelancers listed here are generally good hires for any kind of business, but you will need to consider your specific needs to determine exactly what type of freelancers you should hire.

Does your business need a new direction? Lighthouse Consulting Group can help you implement effective and thoughtful strategies that can get you back on track. To learn more, call 401-247-0313.  

Image via Pexels

Affordable Tech For Today’s Small Business

There is no doubt that technology plays a significant role in the success or failure of corporate America. Thankfully, much of the technology available today is also available to small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. Some — like communication tools, website development, customer management software, and social media — can even help increase proficiency and profits.

Communication Tools

Lighthouse Consulting Group has had to shift how it does business in light of the pandemic. One thing it routinely recommends now for businesses trying to maintain an open line of communication with clients and customers is software, such as Zoom and GoToMeeting. Both of these video meeting programs are affordable and run well with most operating systems. Zoom, for example, is just $149 per year for teams of up to 100 people. In addition to video software, many businesses find that using instant messaging apps, like the free version of Slack, minimizes disruptions when individual team members need to communicate but a phone call would be too intrusive.

 

Website Development

In today’s digital climax, the accessibility of your company online is paramount to capturing your share of the market. If you don’t already have a website or your web presence is lacking, look for an individual with experience that can offer WordPress development services to take your website to the next level. WordPress is not only free but is also fully scalable and customizable. Your WordPress developer can build you a comprehensive e-commerce site, which makes it easier for customers to shop and spend money. Before you hire a freelance developer, take into account their most recent reviews/referrals and ask about both cost and estimated turnaround time from project acceptance to site publication.

 

Customer Management

SuperOffice very clearly underscores the importance of customers by citing that, “no business exists without its customer base.” This sentiment holds true for businesses in every industry and at every level; thus, investing in customer relationship management systems is a smart choice for businesses hoping to acquire more and retain their current customers. Customer relationship management can help you maintain your contacts and show your employees how much or how little interaction they’ve had with each client. It can help you schedule reminders and serve as a central database for your entire customer list.

 

Social Media

Most of us spend a great deal of time on social media, and we often forget that this form of technology was not readily available until 1997 when the first social media site, SixDegrees.com, was founded. Now, personal and professional online networking is just a part of our everyday existence. Because of this, businesses should stay on top of their social media presence by engaging with their customers on every platform available. And considering that many small businesses still aren’t leveraging the power of social sites, like Facebook and Instagram, engaging on social media is an excellent opportunity to scoop up potential customers looking for your products or services. Before you start making profiles, ensure that you have a unified brand and that you designate one person or group of people as your social media representatives.

There are literally endless bits of technology popping up every day. But those listed above are readily available, inexpensive, and invaluable. From using videoconferencing to communicate with your clients to harnessing the power of social media to interact with customers, the technology you use now will impact your bottom line. So put on your digital thinking cap, and don’t be afraid to push your company into the 21st century.

 

Lighthouse Consulting Group can help you take your face-to-face event to the next level. Reach out to see how your business can benefit. 401-247-0313

Marketing during a pandemic

During these unpredictable times, Lighthouse has had to re-imagine how to maximize communication for the associations we manage and industry members they represent. No longer having the option to hold face-to-face conferences, shows, meetings, and training courses, created a gap in our communications and networking business strategies. Like other businesses, Lighthouse had to adapt. We prioritized COVID-19 relevant content, increased our information output, made our content free and accessible to all, and explored and utilized new channels in which we communicate.   Here is an article outlining “5 Content Marketing Action Items During a Pandemic” that we found helpful as we navigate today’s landscape.