We’re blessed at the Bradford Group to get the chance to chat with many business leaders on a daily basis. At this time of the year, resolutions are on everyone’s minds. I’m not talking about losing weight or quitting smoking, but about annual commitments (and recommitments) that help businesses grow and succeed.
We recently asked eight entrepreneurs what their business resolutions were for the year ahead, and found that their responses often had to do with human side of business: ways to keep people happy, healthy and working hard this year.
In this blog entry, I’ll share the first four responses we collected. Check back here in a few days for the remaining four insights.
Too often quality work and support goes unrecognized. Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee, made a resolution to thank the people that helped his personal and professional growth. This included mentors, employees, board members and even his wife who has allowed him to chase his passion despite the long hours. His goal was to let people know that their time and commitment is appreciated.
As Julie May, co-founder and CEO of bytes of knowledge, says, “the times are a changin’.” She has made it her resolution to become more comfortable with the idea of flexible hours and virtual working.
“This new culture of flexibility can be very difficult, making it hard to adapt to the new expectations—even though I enjoy them myself,” Julie said. “With an ERP in place and metrics for each employee, the numbers will speak for themselves. I can entrust management to the numbers and determine the resulting outcomes.”
Hire “A” Players
In 2014, Melinda Curran, CEO and president of RCG, is vowing to only hire “A” players. She learned the hard way last year that new employees who meet basic recruiting criteria on paper often don’t turn out to be high performers, which can stunt the positive inertia of the rest of the team.
“A” players embody all the recruitment basics, and they also have the drive and talent to constantly exceed company expectations. They are team players and align perfectly with the company’s core values and culture.
Invest in Experienced Department Leaders
When transitioning from a startup to a revenue producing, growing company, you need to invest in experienced department leaders.
As Shervin Eftekhari, president of Zander Insurance, says, “As a founder of a startup, you’re responsible everyday for making decisions large and small. Sometimes this means making decisions about topics that are not your area of expertise. By using common sense and creative thinking, startups can muddle through most sticky situations.”
But, as the size of your company grows, at some point, investing in experienced department leaders ensures that no one spends valuable time on things that are not in their area of expertise, and your focus as a business owner remains on the growth of the business itself.
For Shervin, this means getting an HR manager with proper experience and training. “We made a resolution to do that one year and it changed the culture of our company. There is a science, theory and know-how in human resources that you can’t fake for too long. Getting the right HR expert helps with the difficult task of managing people,” Shervin said. “It also helps with company morale and with handling tough employee issues, freeing us up to focus more on growing the business and enhancing the customer experience.”
Don’t forget to check back here on the Bradford blog in a few days for the remaining four responses we collected. Looking forward to having you back.