At the beginning the year, resolutions are on every entrepreneurs’ minds—those annual commitments (and recommitments) that help businesses grow and succeed.
We recently asked six EO Nashville members what their business resolutions were to start 2014 off on the right foot. Read on to learn more.
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.”
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.”
Align Your Team
Aligning your team can mean different things to different people, and for Elliott Holt, CEO of Medi-Copy Services, Inc., it means encouraging employee engagement without wasting resources to give necessary feedback to his management team.
Elliott plans to use the “Start.Stop.Continue.” exercise to find this alignment.
“I have made the resolution to begin the ‘Start.Stop.Continue.’ exercise on a monthly basis and to include all of my staff, not just the managers, on it so that we can get buy-in from all employees,” Elliott said. “In 2013, my managers completed this exercise and I learned what I needed to start, stop and continue. I learned that I needed to start trusting my decisions as an entrepreneur and not listen to all of the noise in the background. I learned that I needed to stop micromanaging every department within my organization and let my managers lead. I also learned that I should I continue to focus my time on the ingenuity and stratagem of the company so that current and potential clients will benefit from our services years to come.”
Take Immediate Action
It’s easy to delay tasks without pressing deadlines, but as we all know that’s not always a good thing in both our professional and personal lives.
John Huber, COO of Moo Creative Media, has found it easy in the past of push off non-time specific tasks indefinitely. So he made it his goal in 2014 to take immediate action.
“If I see something that needs attention or a process that needs adjusting I will take steps right away to get the situation resolved,” John said. “By challenging myself to take immediate action, I will find time to handle these tasks so I can focus my attention elsewhere without my to-do-list growing out of control.”
Give Back to the Entrepreneurial Community
This year, Bill Faeth, CEO of Inbound Marketing Agents, made it his resolution to give to the entrepreneurial community by incubating young entrepreneurs and providing ongoing mentorship throughout the year.
“I’ve extended free workspace in our company’s office, provided ongoing mentorship, and access to our staff to support the entrepreneur’s development. So far, the benefits have been fantastic—we hold office-wide strategy sessions, and ‘think tanks’ that provide an environment that most young startups don’t have access to,” Bill said. “Most of all, I love knowing that I’m able to make a real difference for aspiring first-time entrepreneurs while giving back and also learning from them.”