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La Jolla merchants advised on when and how to hire help

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Julie Ethan, CEO of Ethan Advisors, speaks at the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s third Business4Breakfast event on April 16 at The LOT.
(COREY LEVITAN)

Twenty La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) members attended the community group’s third Business4Breakfast event on April 16 at a theater in The LOT. The hour-long workshop — conducted by Julie Ethan, CEO of Ethan Advisors — was aimed at helping small businesses know when and how they should hire help.

“I’d like to hire someone, but I don’t have any extra money lying around,” one small business owner told Ethan. “I just can’t afford it.” The owner explained that most of her day was bogged down by entering inventory in her system and selling product online, whereas she believed it could be more productively spent in other ways.

Ethan’s advice was “to see the problem more in terms of opportunity than math.”“It’s not, ‘Do I have the money or do I get the help?’” she said. “It’s, ‘Do I get get the help and then have the money?’ If your expenses are $40,000 a month and you can’t see adding $4,000 to that amount because you don’t have it, ask yourself how much more income can you generate by investing that $4,000?”

Ethan, who normally coaches small businesses one-on-one, said that interns are a great way to ease into hiring without any expense at all.

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“It’s a nice starter drug,” she said. “It feels safer because it’s just going to be for the summer or a few months. And then, have that intern help you build the job description for the person you’re really going to hire in the fall.”

LJVMA executive director Jodi Rudick added a nugget of knowledge for attendees, too, from her previous position as publicity and promotion manager for the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. Certain employees there were given company phones, Rudick said, and instructed to use them to post on social media.

“What they found was that some people hated it and some loved it,” Rudick said, “so they let the people who loved it keep the phones — which was a great way for them to discover hidden talent.”

— For more information on La Jolla Merchants Association events, visit lajollabythesea.org.

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