Goldman Sachs selected Conference Event Management as the only company in Iowa to participate in its elite 10,000 Small Businesses growth program this past spring. The program is designed to help small thriving businesses who make a difference in their communities, master skills in marketing, negotiation, employee management, and business growth in order to take their business to the next level.
Following that experience, I led my team through a company-wide transformation process. The goals of Conference Event Management’s transformation were to provide greater value to clients in all service areas, while driving the company towards growth and enhanced opportunity. The intense transformation process involved numerous discussions on topics of culture, leadership, dedication, delegation, process mapping, profit centers, personal and financial accountability, work styles and diversity, celebrations and gratitude, new hires, and revamping service areas. Based on the discussions, I created an eight-step process for growth and expansion, which can be applied to any business.
1 Focus on Culture
If leadership is focused on your company’s health and culture, by fostering strong teamwork and offering rewarding experiences for hard working staff, your clients will be treated with the same focus. Hire team members that represent your company’s values and are passionate about the roles you assign them to. The key to great client relationships is building up a team of individuals that work seamlessly together for the good of those clients. Motivate staff to work toward monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals and reward them for meeting those goals with celebrations. Leaders often find themselves thinking they are too busy to stop and recognize accomplishments by showing sincere gratitude, but when this happens, they risk disengaging their employees. Instead, take time for company outings and rewarding discussions with team members to encourage continued hard work.
2 Set Meetings with Yourself
As a leader for your business, it’s extremely important to take time out of each day or week to review the overall operations, successes, failures, financial reports, and future visions for the business. This meeting allows you to center your goals towards working ON your business versus IN your business. Decide what your success metrics will be. At Conference Event Management, one of those success metrics is the number of new clients and average contracted client revenue we gain in any year. Success metrics can come from client surveys, tracking client decision and spending patterns, and financial forecasting. This ongoing regular meeting is critical to evaluating the future success of the business, and can lead to goal setting and stronger leadership skills.
3 Conduct an Operational Audit
An operational audit is a process map that defines tasks within a specific business area and determines employee roles in each task. The processes can be recorded on paper, in excel sheets, in Google sheets for ease of sharing, or in other organizational programs. Operational Audits result in clearer job roles, better delegation, clarity in training, improved efficiency, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks, and overall improvement in your company’s operations. An example of a process map that any company could use would be onboarding a new hire.
4 Prepare to Spend Immense Amounts of Time
Though there is never enough time to get everything you want to accomplish done, transforming your business takes an immense time commitment. If a transformation is right for you, make the time commitment (90 days is the perfect timing to stay focused on a goal) and stick to it.
5 Create a Live Plan
Re-evaluate your business and marketing plans and transform them into a live plan—an ever-changing document designed to focus business efforts and help onboard new employees. This plan helps all involved to understand your culture, values, clients, potential risks and areas of profitability. Evaluate your market scope and size, and segment customers by their different markets. Create competitive differentiation for marketing and selling purposes. Find your company’s differences from competitors and strive to demonstrate your individuality.
6 Do Your Financial Forecasting
Constantly evaluate your company’s financials in order to set goals, and plan for future growth. If your forecasts are not headed upwards, evaluate the situation, and determine a new path for growth. This could include creating new profit centers, letting go of unprofitable product or service areas, and prospecting to new business markets.
7 Practice Your Pitch
Always be ready to share your success story. Whether during a backyard conversation, or to someone you meet in a professional situation, be prepared to present ways your company provides solutions. Refine your pitch, be authentic, and focus on how you can be a resource for your listener.
You’re never alone. There are thousands of other small businesses, and plenty of organizations and associations focused on helping them, including several of them right here in Iowa. Consider what resources you need and reach out to learn more on how you can grow and improve your business.
For more information on having me speak on my eight step transformation approach, or how to enhance and grow an already successful business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-254-0289 ext. 9.