An intern by definition is a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience. There are many different types of internships. Some last 3-6 months where the students will work at the office for just a few days or hours per week while other students will have full-time internships where they work the same hours as the company’s full-time employees.
When thinking of internships, normally people think of how it benefits the students, however hosting interns can greatly benefit a small business in many ways. One of the main benefits is that if you are planning on hiring a new employee within the next year, hiring a final year intern is a great way to test drive them prior to hiring them as an employee. By doing this, a business owner can see if a potential employee is going to fit in and increase revenue, or slack off and not be pro-active. Also because they are already interning at the business, it will be easier for them to transition into a full-time employee and they will be able to start working sooner because they have less of a training period to go through. [i] Also, hiring interns brings in people who, for the most part, know how to use technology and social media. It also brings in a fresh perspective because the interns can apply the new idea that they learned in class and implement them in the real world. [ii]
Most students apply for internships during their junior or senior year of college. This is because as they move onto their final semester at college they finally start thinking about gaining experience and finding a job. While finding a paid internship is like finding the golden egg for many students there are several other ways that students hope to benefit from internships. First off, one of the main reasons students intern is to gain industry knowledge, or the ‘real world’ way that things work. Often times, the theories that are learned in class and the actual application in careers are different. Also, students hope to better their resumes and make connections with the professionals working in their desired future field. [iii] Along with this, students in the long run also learn better time management, which is a skill that is always needed.
In order to have an effective interning system, the desires of the company and the desires of the intern need to overlap. This can happen in several ways such as giving the interns connections into their desired field, finding them jobs, or giving them bonuses. However, in order to give the interns these things they need to prove that they are a value to the business and can bring in revenue. In the past few months, several ways to bring revenue in to the business have been discussed. Two of these ways are bringing in clients and booking speaking engagement.
Luckily, there are more than two ways to help bring in revenue to a company. On the more complex side of things, having interns write a business plan for the company, review it with the owner, and then begin to implement it could be a good way to set interns up to make revenue for the long term. Also, if an intern has a connection with a professional in a different field, then gaining clients from that connection could also be beneficial. For example, my uncle is an eye surgeon who has many other friends, who are also surgeons, and one of my uncle’s good friends is a lawyer. Guess who gets all the injury clients from these surgeons? My uncle’s friend. If an intern has connections like these in town it could be a great resource to use.
On the simpler side, there are many things interns can do to increase revenue that do not require at must effort. For instance, interns could take business cards and place them at other stores and businesses that they frequent. Also, in order for any small business to grow there has to be relationships with customers. In order for people to choose your company, you have to have a relationship with them of some sort. Things like phone calls on peoples’ birthdays, letter updates, and sending out interesting and relevant articles are all good ways to remind people to come to you first. [iv] Things like writing letters, emails, or making phone calls is somethings that interns could easily do from anywhere and could help to bring in clients.
Finally, one thing that has been discussed and implemented before, but remains increasingly important, is to study marketing. Every small business needs marketing, and no one can every learn everything there is to know about marketing, and the more you study and implement what you learn, the better you will become. By having interns go to different marketing events and seminars, not only are you providing them with one of their desires, which is to gain connections, you are also helping out the company by investing in better ways to market yourself. Overall, there are many ways interns can be used to increase revenue and presence of the firm, but learning how to market effectively is one of the first steps in doing so, and is the basis for all the other ways to increase revenue listed above.
Written by Kaela Carpenter, intern at Reid Law Firm and Student at Samford University. Kaela can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com .
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