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Q] I have a small business that is 5 years old. I am interested in the kinds of loans there are.

A] It depends on the purpose of the loan and how long are you asking for repayment.

Short Term (less than a year):   Line of Credit (LOC) or a "bullet note." Like a credit card, they have a predetermined loan limit. On lines of credit, the money is used when needed and then repaid. LOC's can be used for working capital.

Smaller Term Loans:   Loan payments are made in installments, usually every month. Smaller-term loans are for buying a business, long-term working capital, inventory, expenses, machinery, equipment, furniture and leasehold improvements. Determine the total amount you need by obtaining quotes and estimates.

Longer Term Loans:   The money borrowed is used to buy or refinance commercial real estate, make major improvements or additions to real estate, or purchase major equipment. These loan needs are determined with buy-sell agreements, appraisals and quotes.

For further information contact the Small Business Bureau, or your bank.

Q] What can I do to ensure I am hiring the right people for
my business?

A] For managers and business leaders hiring, retaining and managing the right people are daunting and time-consuming tasks. Who has the right attitude? Who has the ability to listen, understand and communicate? Who will fit in with the organization and team? Who can grow with the company and take on new responsibilities?

In entry level or frontline work the task can be particularly challenging, as human resources and line managers use different approaches to figure out what mix of hard and soft skills a candidate has that will add value in their workplace.

These professionals face the three distinct challenges: incomplete information, increasing costs and the risk of lost customers.

Managers use many tools to ascertain if someone is the "right" fit for a company.

Personal interviews are great tools but don't provide consistent information across all candidates. Academic based indicators of skills such as the high school diploma, GED and others provide good information but not assessments of real world judgment and situations. This leaves managers with less than a full picture of a potential employee.

The Society of Human Resource Management reports cost-per-hire and time-to-fill numbers are on the rise, increasing by as much as 10 percent per year, as managers struggle to find qualified people in a world of constantly changing business needs.

The American Society Of Training And Development reports that investment in training has increased over 30 percent since 2001, with firms still figuring out how to measure return on investment. The bottom-line is taking a hit because it is harder to find and train the right people.

The full cost of not finding the right people is higher still. Once hired a "wrong fit" employee negatively impacts team productivity and customer satisfaction.

McKinsey Quarterly reports that "customers are 70 percent less likely to remain committed to the firm after a negative experience with entry-level and frontline employees."

The top-line risk of poor customer experiences at the entry-level is increasing every quarter. Frontline managers and HR professionals need a set of simple and cost-effective tools that provide consistent real world information, ultimately reducing the costs of hiring and increasing the effectiveness of employee customer interaction.

For more information visit the Central Illinois Human Resource Group at http://www.cihrg.org/.

Q] How does Workmen's Compensation work when receiving medical treatment for Carpal Tunnel under the company's health insurance provider?

A] Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most significant health problem in the workplace today. The U.S. Department of Labor has concluded that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the "chief occupational hazard having reached epidemic proportions." Any worker who develops Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or any other type of Repetitive Stress Injury as a result of performing their jobs, are legally entitled to receive the comprehensive medical and monetary benefits provided by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act.

Unfortunately, by receiving treatment under the group health plan, CTS sufferers are in effect, forfeiting their legal right to receive Workers' Compensation benefits.

For further information concerning Illinois Workers' Compensation issues see:

http://www.workerscompensation.com/illinois.php Act.

- Phyllis Davis is a Career Development Specialist based in Champaign for the Illinois Employment Training Center. She can be reached at (217) 278-5700, ext. 237, or padavis_2001@yahoo.com.

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