Category Archives: Blog

Putting your best face forward online

Have you done a Google search of your business lately? We highly recommend you do.

In fact, the way to access what information shows up for your business is called Google My Business. This is a free tool to manage your online presence across Google products, including search and maps.

We recently attended an event hosted by Louisiana Travel and our partners at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, where they offered tips and best practices to make sure our local businesses are putting their best online face forward to increase your traffic and visibility.

What happens when you Google your business? If there is a listing on Google already, you can click “Own this business” to claim it. And, you will want to claim it so you can make sure your business is properly represented on the internet.

You’ll need a Google account to become the “owner” of the business but those accounts are free and easy to obtain if you don’t already have one. 

If your business is not listed, go to business.google.com and click “start now.” 

Here’s three things to note about your business profile: 

  • 1. Your business profile on Google is an enormous source of exposure for your business.
  • 2. Make sure your profile is optimized, meaning you don’t have any missing information like location, hours, phone number, etc.
  • 3. Customers are creating much of the content for your business through the photos and reviews they post. 

Once you have secured your business listing and made sure all of the information is correct, it’s time to make sure your business listing stands out. One of the most important things you can do to have a good presence on Google is use eye-catching, relevant photos to entice customers to visit your business or use your services. Just know – horizontal images are preferred. And, include an exterior and interior photo if possible. This will help potential customers identify your storefront.

What about reviews? These can make or break whether a customer decides to patronize your business. In Google My Business, you can respond to reviews directly, which is a great practice to show you are a proactive business owner. Studies show customers trust a business more if it has positive reviews so encourage your customers to leave their feedback as a way to grow your clientele. Make sure when you do respond to a review to stay away from getting personal – be helpful and courteous and thank the reviewer for taking the time to review your business. 

While we are sharing these tips from this helpful Google My Business event, these aren’t just tips for your Google presence alone – they include all of your social media channels, your signage, advertisements, etc. as well. Make sure all information about your business is correct and up-to-date through any communications you have with your clients. Any time is a great time to check all of these accounts, refresh your photos and make sure you are maximizing your web presence.  

Community Resource: SUSLA offers affordable center for entrepreneurs

The Center for Business and Community Development facility houses eight offices for new and emerging entrepreneurs, 2 office spaces for program partners (Martin Luther King CDC and SUSLA Business Studies Department), one Facility Manager’s Office, Clerical Office Space, one Resource Room, one Break Area, one Computer Laboratory, two classrooms and two conference room areas.  

  • One-to-one business mentoring with regular monitoring for adherence to business plan 
  • Access to free and discounted financing, legal, marketing, public relations and Web design services.
  • Virtual office opportunities
  • State-of-the-art VoIP telephones
  • Rent is only $350/month and $450/month (larger offices) (utilities included)

SUSLA offers a variety of services from entrepreneurship training, Small and Emerging Business Development Program and training classes.
For more information on the services they offer, visit SUSLA’s website.

Community Resource Series features LA Job Connection

Louisiana Job Connection brings the latest technology to Louisiana employers as they search for qualified job candidates. The website is a smart technology solution provided by the State of Louisiana. It is provided by LED FastStart® at no cost to Louisiana employers and at no cost to job seekers everywhere. Simple to use and free, this web-based tool allows hiring managers to connect to the right candidates more quickly. Let’s take a closer look.

Louisiana Job Connection connects Louisiana employers with qualified candidates from everywhere, via a free job-matching website. Employers are able to post jobs, and matches are made instantly. Here are some of the site’s features:

  • You may post as many jobs as you like, and link them directly to your applicant tracking system. Or you may opt to accept resumes through your Louisiana Job Connection account.
  • As you add new jobs into the system, you will be notified of new job-seeker matches.
  • Our interactive job-description builder helps you create detailed job descriptions with work activities and required skills.
  • A list of qualified candidates tailored to your needs will be generated instantly. You will be able to review resumes and contac

As the demand grows for skilled professionals, Louisiana Job Connection gives you quick access to a large pool of talent, and our innovative matching system delivers relevant matches based on your employment needs.

Louisiana Job Connection’s goal is to make job recruitment easier for all Louisiana employers by reducing the time you spend reviewing stacks of resumes. We connect you with qualified candidates instantly, and at no charge. Begin the process now by going to LouisianaJobConnection.com.

Get paid to help your community with the 2020 Census

The 2020 Census team is looking for individuals to apply for their various openings. Once you apply with one application, you may be considered for several positions, including census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk, and supervisory staff—and help your community while getting paid.
Some of the positions and duties include:

Address Canvassing:

  • Review assigned work to locate households for verifying addresses.
  • Update the Census Bureau’s address lists and maps in areas that showed change
    since 2010.
  • Employees will work during the day to see addresses on buildings.
  • Employees will document maintain and submit record of hours worked, mile driven
    and expenses incurred during duties.

Census taker: Hiring in Sept., Training in Jan 2020

  • Review assigned work to locate households for verifying addresses and conduct
    interviews.
  • Conduct interviewed with residents in assigned areas by following stringent
    guidelines and confidentiality laws. Explain the purpose of the census interview
    answer questions, collect information following a script, and record census data.
  • Update address lists and maps.
  • Validate addresses and map updates for quality purposes.
  • Follow procedures to conduct accurate work while maintaining acceptable
    production rates.
  • Meet with supervisor, as necessary, to review procedures, report concerns and
    receive additional instructions.

Census Field Supervisors: Hiring in Sept, Training in Jan 202

  • Supervise enumerators, including reviewing their work. Facilitate group training
    sessions using Census Bureau training guides and materials.
  • Conduct personal observations of enumerators as they work in the field and
    conduct on the job training.
  • Monitor and resolve alerts by following up with assigned staff
  • Monitor progress and performance of staff and ensure assignments are completed
    on schedule.
  • Retrain enumerators as necessary.
  • Recommend and document termination of poor performing employees.
  • Apply EEO principles in hiring practices, training, and employee development.

Community Resource Series features Goodwill Industries

Goodwill Industries is proud of the services and programs they offer to the community, specifically veterans. Most recently, Goodwill was proud to partner with the Bossier Chamber of Commerce for the Veteran’s Job Fair to offer their individualized, holistic job services to allow each veteran or soon-to-be veteran to succeed.

“There’s a high population of veterans in our community needing our help and this is what our mission is about. Our thrift store sales support this critical community mission by providing more than 15 different programs, all aimed at employment – thus changing lives, helping those become self-sufficient and productive members of society, and oftentimes breaking the multi-generational cycle of criminal behavior, low education, and unemployment,” said David Tinkis, President and CEO.

Goodwill’s mission is “Improving People’s Lives through the Power of Work” and their organization strives to fulfill this every day.  Each client is offered job readiness training, life skills, career coaching, job placement and retention assistance by qualified, dedicated staff.  Employers are offered opportunities by partnering to conduct open interviews, hiring events and job fairs. Currently, more than 125 businesses and organizations partner with Goodwill, but they are always seeking more.

Last year, Goodwill worked with more than 2,500 individuals seeking employment and placed 713 individuals into competitive employment. Their success rate of those placed and employed after 90 days was 93%.

The Goodwill movement was founded in 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts by the Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a married missionary, who collected clothing and other used items for the immigrants getting off ships as they arrived in America.  Initially he gave the items away, but soon discovered that by selling these items, he could employ individuals who struggled to find employment. They were paid $4/day to help collect, repair and fix items. Locally, this same movement was established in 1926 by the First United Methodist Church Shreveport, to carry out Helm’s vision for our area.

Next time you think about where all the donations go, think about how it is returned right back to our community in impact.

SBDC Class Spotlight: Earn your SEBD certification

Are you looking to get SEBD certified? This certification allows businesses to have access to opportunities in contracting, funding, and grant programs. Attend the SEBD certification seminar held by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) on Thursday, June 13 from 1-3 p.m. at BPCC. This seminar is perfect for small and emerging businesses. Bring your laptop and the instructor will walk you through the certification process. The seminar is free to attend.

Register for the seminar today!

Don’t miss these LA Small Business Development Seminars

This summer you can brush up on your business skills by attending these workshops/seminars held by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center. These sessions are a great way to gain more knowledge on topics like starting and financing a business and doing business with the government. Check out the seminar schedule and register for any of them today!

  • June 4th & 5th – QuickBooks Seminar
  • June 6th – Boots to Business Reboot Seminar
  • June 12th – Starting and Financing a Small Business Seminar
  • June 13th – SEBD Certification Seminar
  • June 18th – Starting and Financing a Business and Doing Business with the Government Seminar

For more info and to register for a seminar, click here.

Boost your customer service with BPCC’s Success Course

BPCC and the Bossier Chamber of Commerce are partnering together to host a Communication & Customer Service for Business Success course. The session will take place on Thursday, July 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at BPCC in Building E, Room 226. This course is open to Bossier Chamber of Commerce members only.Students will learn how to:

  • Assess customer needs
  • Educate customers
  • Provide ongoing support
  • Learn about products or services

The cost is $100 per member, but only $50 for the first 20 people that sign up for the course. That’s a $314 value for only $50! Registration for the course must be made by June 14. 

If you are interested in the program, contact Katie Theriot, Director of Business Development.

5 things you’ll learn at Let’s Talk About: Compete LA

The universities in the Louisiana system are working to help adults through the Compete LA program. Come learn more about this informational initiative on Tuesday, June 18 at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites. 

This event is hosted by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, along with partners Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, North Louisiana Economic Partnership and Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce.  

Here are 5 things you’ll learn at the event:

  • Internship opportunities for students are important as is supporting existing employees with some college credit by encouraging them to re-enroll to finish their degrees.
  • Compete LA coaches help students to apply and find the program that is right for them. They can help them decide between online, hybrid or eight-week courses.
  • Dr. Jim Henderson will break down the program and how it is designed to build our workforce.
  • Get the statistics. How many people are short of completing their degree and how can this program help?
  • Learn how as a participating business, you will receive maximum exposure on the Compete LA website.

Buy your ticket today!

JOHNSON OFFICE TO HOST SATELLITE OFFICE HOURS THIS WEEK

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Johnson’s (LA-04) office will host satellite office hours in Sabine, Bossier and Beauregard Parishes this Thursday. We encourage members of the community to stop by if they are in need of assistance with federal agencies.

Sabine Satellite Office Hours

WHERE:               

Many Courthouse

400 South Capitol Street, Room 101

Many, LA 71449

WHEN:

Thursday, June 6, 2019

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. CT

Bossier Satellite Office Hours

WHERE:               

Bossier Parish Library

Anna P. Tooke Memorial Branch

451 Fairview Point Road

Elm Grove, LA 71051

WHEN:

Thursday, June 6, 2019

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. CT

Beauregard Satellite Office Hours

WHERE:               

DeRidder City Hall

City Council Chamber

200 South Jefferson Street

DeRidder, LA 70634

WHEN:

Thursday, June 6, 2019

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. CT

These events are hosted by staff. Please note, the congressman will not be in attendance.