6 Human Resource Essentials for Small Businesses


By Anica Oaks

Small businesses often struggle with human resource needs because of limited manpower and financial resources. However, here are six fundamental sources of HR support that will help small businesses make better decisions and stay competitive.

The Local Chambers of Commerce

A local chamber of commerce, or other business alliance organization, will offer useful resources and networking opportunities for small businesses. A chamber of commerce is the first step in reaching out to the local community to obtain legal, financial and commercial support. Many chambers of commerce have employees whose primary function is to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses. As part of this, many chambers of commerce partner with local community colleges to offer free workshops and formal business training.

The Small Business Association

The Small Business Association (SBA) is the federal government’s organization that supports small business development. They offer a wealth of educational resources and training modules that can answer almost every business question through their learning center. As part of this, the SBA offers online and in-person training and mentoring. Local SBA officials are available to assist small businesses through counseling and on-site training. In fact, most local chapters offer inexpensive training events through their Small Business Development Center.

The Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the premier HR organization that is dedicated to promoting best HR practices. They provide valuable resources for HR topics, legal issues and public policies. They also offer beneficial how-to guides and HR policy templates. Their HR process and procedure standards are the benchmark for companies around the world. They also offer education resources for HR professionals through seminars, webcasts and their e-learning platform. This includes their popular Essentials of HR Management course. Finally, they also offer regular publications, such as their newsletter and HR magazine.

The Department of Labor

The Department of Labor (DOL) is charged with promoting and protecting both the employed and the unemployed. Part of this goal involves regulations that protect employees’ rights concerning wages, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and other critical laws. For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the standards for overtime pay. In fact, the DOL enforces over 180 federal mandates that protect workers across America. Every HR professional should familiarize themselves with the DOL’s major laws and principle statutes.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is one of the major DOL programs that guarantees employees the right to work in a safe workplace. Certain industries are more heavily monitored by OSHA, such as the construction, manufacturing and agricultural industries. In fact, industries that employ people in dangerous environments performing hazardous work must have an active OSHA-friendly safety program that goes above and beyond legal and industry standards. Otherwise, surprise OSHA inspections can result in hefty violation fines and temporary business closure.


A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a great way to centralize and standardize information. This is especially important because HR tasks involve continual updates to very different tracking systems and include topics such as benefits, performance reviews, disciplinary documentation, and even hiring protocols. Integrated data means that HR managers will be able to generate in-depth reports that can help them streamline operations and obtain accurate HR numbers, such as the turnover rate. You can compare available programs with HRIS software reviews. Finally, HRIS programs can also act as a central access point for safety procedures, company policies and employee handbooks. As a result, HR professionals can spend their time on more important things.

To sum up, managing human resources can be a challenge for small business owners. However, there are excellent tools and resources to help small business owners with their HR needs. This includes the SBA, DOL and using HRIS software.

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.




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Small Business Optimism Continues

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Small businesses in the U.S. are continuing to demonstrate optimism about the future, according to results of the latest Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine Private Capital Access (PCA) Index.

The Q3 2015 PCA survey showed that for both businesses with annual revenues under $5 million and those between $5-100 million, private capital access increased by 2.8 percent, compared to three months ago, with demand increasing 0.7 percent.

For Q3 2015, 49 percent of respondents revealed their main purpose for raising financing was for growth or expansion, up from 42 percent in Q3 2014. The PCA study also revealed that a greater percentage of respondents indicated demand for new financing in the next six months, a reflection of continuing optimism about the economy among business owners. Sixty-two percent (62 percent) of respondents planned future growth or expansion in Q3 2015, a 12 percent increase since Q3 2014, while 56 percent expect growth due to increased demand in Q3 2015, compared to 43 percent in Q3 2014.

“Many of these signs are very positive, pointing to an improved business climate and resulting in an increased demand for private funding. And if we look at these results solely, there’s every reason to be bullish on the U.S. economy,” said Craig R. Everett, PhD, director, Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. “But with new research indicating that consumer confidence plunged this summer to its lowest level since September 2014, and the upheaval in global economies, we remain cautious about the possibility of future volatility and its impact on small and mid-sized businesses.”

Small businesses turning to alternate financing. The study also found that businesses are increasingly turning to financial sources other than banks. An increasing percentage of small businesses also said they attempted to raise financing via personal and business credit cards: 45 percent of respondents sought to raise funds through personal credit cards in Q3 2015 (compared to 34 percent in Q3 2014); and 55 percent attempted to raise financing through a business credit card in Q3 2015 (versus 40 percent in Q3 2014).

Thirty-four percent (34 percent) of respondents said they transferred personal assets to their businesses over the last three months, and 40 percent of respondents have financing coming from outside sources. When asked to identify likely sources of future funding, 31 percent of small businesses said friends and family in Q3 2015 (versus 23 percent in Q3 2014); and 28 percent of small businesses said personal credit cards in Q3 2015 (versus 37 percent in Q3 2014).

“The nexus between credit and growth is critical for small businesses to succeed. This recent analysis shows small businesses are resilient and continue to prove they have the resourcefulness to secure funding,” said Jeff Stibel, Vice Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet. “As small businesses show momentum in profitability and growth, lending should accelerate.”

Surprisingly, bank lending slid to 63 percent in Q3 2015 vs. 66 percent in Q3 2014. Of the 49.6 percent of private businesses who sought financing through a bank loan in the last three months, about 37 percent were successful. About one third (25.9 percent) of those who attempted to get financing applied for an asset-based loan; only 22 percent of them were successful.

Small businesses the least successful at securing financing. Businesses with annual revenues of less than $5 million continue to be less successful in securing a bank loan. Thirty percent (30.1 percent) of businesses with less than $5 million in revenue were successful securing a bank loan in Q3, 2015, compared to a 46.1 percent success rate in securing a bank loan in Q3 2014.

Very small businesses fared even worse. Businesses with annual revenues under $500,000 reported success rates of only 20 percent with bank loans and 16 percent with asset-based lenders.

While optimism grows, concerns about the regulatory environment remain high. Fifty-seven percent (57 percent) of respondents report the current business environment is restricting their growth opportunities for business and 48 percent of respondents report the current business environment is restricting their ability to hire new employees.

The results are part of the Pepperdine Private Capital Access (PCA) Q3 2015 Index report, a private capital markets data survey produced quarterly by Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet. The purpose of the PCA Index is to gauge the demand of small and medium-sized businesses for financing needs, the level of accessibility of private capital, and the transparency and efficiency of private financing markets.

The Q3 2015 Index report is derived from 2,893 completed responses collected from June 29 – July 17, 2015, and contrasted with survey results collected from Q2 2015. Download the latest index data at Pepperdine Access to Capital and follow us on Twitter at @GraziadioSchool and @DnBUS.