Hiring a new employee is a big decision for your small business. In today’s job market, you’re inundated with hundreds or even thousands of resumes for a single job posting. It’s daunting to sort through all those emails and applications to find the right candidate. But there are a number of undergraduate degrees offering tremendous value to the small-business community. Next time you’re pondering a new hire, consider candidates with degrees in the following:
Cyber-Security: Protect Your Data
Today’s small companies are increasingly conducting business online. Security is no passing joke: 66 percent of small businesses rely on the Internet for day-to-day operations, and about 40 percent of cyber-attacks are targeted at companies with fewer than 500 employees.
The cost of a single attack averages $188,242, which would easily cover the annual salary of a cyber-security professional. Cyber-security is an emerging niche field, and undergraduate programs are on the rise as universities realize the importance of protecting data in both the public and private sectors.
Internet and e-Marketing: Engage Your Audience
There are few small businesses that can get away with ignoring online marketing. Customers who engage with brands on social networks spend an average of 20 to 40 percent more with those companies, and 64 percent of customers in the U.S. say social media has influenced their purchasing decisions.
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You’re missing out on engaging a big portion of your audience by ignoring social marketing—and that’s just the social component. A graduate of an Internet marketing or e-marketing program will come prepared with the latest online tactics, catapulting your small business into the digital realm.
Accounting/Economics/Data Analysis: Essential for Success
Frank Ruppen, founder of Forward Associates, LLC, a business strategy and brand consulting firm, says his undergraduate accounting degree has served him well in starting and growing both of his companies. “As mundane as it sounds,” Ruppen says, his accounting degree has allowed him to manage the numbers easily so he can focus his attention on the core, growth-oriented areas of his ventures.
Of course, not every small-business owner has an accounting, data analysis or economics degree in his hip pocket. The next best thing is finding your right-hand man or woman to serve as CFO—so you can focus on what counts.
Entrepreneurship: Visionaries of the Future
It seems counterintuitive to hire a candidate with an entrepreneurship degree. After all, you’re the entrepreneur. But graduates of these innovative programs don’t always go into business for themselves, and some get their satisfaction from helping other startups get off the ground.
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Like cyber-security, entrepreneurship is an emerging undergraduate opportunity. Schools such as the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University are leading the pack, teaching students fundamentals such as product innovation, analyzing market value and maintaining social responsibility—all proficiencies you’ll find valuable in your next hire.
Web Application/Software Development: Provide Technological Advancement
Even if you’re not in the business of developing software for clients, a software or Web application developer can create powerful tools for use in the course of your daily operations. Whether you need a back-end database with sophisticated functionality or a proprietary content management system for your team to manage your digital presence, a candidate with an education in software or application development can help you navigate today’s complex software needs.
There are hundreds of undergraduate degree programs. The right candidate will prove value to your business, no matter what degree she holds. But if you’re not sure who to hire and you want an employee with current knowledge of today’s business and marketing complexities, candidates with these degrees under their belts will support you in steering your company into the future.
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