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The Benefits of CEO Groups

We have all heard the old cliche that, “it’s lonely at the top.” It really is an accurate portrayal of life for most CEOs. Not only can executive officer feel lonely in their specific business, but they may also be in need of peer relationships that bring with it sharing of business acumen, professional experience, and insights that can help grow and mold a successful business. The roles of executives today have never been more daunting or fraught with disruptions. Let’s take a look at how joining a peer group of other CEOs can help.

Having a leadership resource can be just the solution for executives who need to make a connection, want to grow their company, and often don’t have the time during the regular business day to make those connections organically. Joining a peer group can be the answer for several reasons.

CEO Groups Serve as a Sounding Board

During the course of a typical work day, most executives are busy handling day-to-day operations. There is not often the opportunity to call a friend in a similar circumstance to talk about future business questions or concerns. The CEO groups run by the Enterprise Center are a great chance for business leaders to communicate with other business leaders. Peers can act as a sounding board for ideas where CEOs are able to confidentially get feedback from people in similar positions. Other business leaders can add to their experiences and warn of potential pitfalls. The conversations can be incredibly valuable and may even help move your company forward.

 

CEO Groups Can Help with Scaling

One of the more difficult aspects of leading a business is learning how to scale. Oftentimes, CEOs do not have peers that can help them learn how to grow a business by getting more out of the people and resources or by employing better systems and methodologies. A peer group of other CEOs can provide insider access to insights learned from others’ experiences.

 

CEO Groups Can Help with the Big Picture

Often, business leaders do not take the time to plan for what lies ahead. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses that are still evolving and finding their niche. Peer groups of other business leaders can be a great chance to plan, organize, and take a look at the bigger picture. Being a part of an executive group means that monthly you will hear about other businesses’ successes and setbacks that can give you a sense of where your company may be heading. It is almost like taking a look into the future when hearing about where other executives are in their journey.

 

CEO Groups Can Provide Support, a Sense of Belonging, and a Little Bit of Fun

Joining one of the Enterprise Center’s three CEO groups can give the support that many executives need – even if it is once a month. These peer groups can not only be substantive in that they allow for professional support but also can spark humor, fun, and a sense of belonging to a group that can help in what can only be described as one of the more challenging positions in business.

Are you interested in joining one of our CEO Groups? Check out the programs page on our website and register now.

 

Making Annual Reviews Productive

Oh no, it’s that time of year again! Performance reviews are not the most happily anticipated work events. In fact, most employees and business leaders report that they often dread, or at least get anxious at, the mere thought of reviewing the past year.

For some businesses, this meeting is not just a review of how an employee is doing but it is also tied to raises and bonuses. That adds a layer of pressure and stress in the days and weeks leading up to the review.

Performance reviews, although somewhat stressful, are one of the most effective ways to assess, motivate, and engage your employees. If you find that your employees are dreading these or that you want them to be more productive, follow some of these tips and suggestions to make the most of the time.

Be Prepared

As with any other aspect of running a business, be ready. Employees should be given a self-evaluation form so they can examine what they thought of their accomplishments and/or setbacks throughout the year. Management should fill out something similar. The worst thing you can do is forget and just go through the motions by having a review without any direction or purpose. A form that each person fills out can help keep you on track during the review.

Start on a Positive Note

Ask your employee to start off the meeting by talking about their most positive learning experience this year or something they are proud of. Always start on a positive note. This will hopefully put everyone at ease and set the tone for a productive meeting.

Be Open and Honest

As an employer, there are probably some areas where you would like to see some improvement or possibly some training over the next year. Talk to your employees about what training you think they could benefit from. You may find that they want to broaden their learning as well. Be honest as well about areas that you would like to see improvement. Ask your employees how you can help them achieve that improvement. Look at it as more of a group effort rather than an adversarial relationship.

Set Goals

As a part of your review process, you may want to set some SMART goals that can be evaluated next year. Make sure the goals are achievable, realistic, measurable, and specific. This can keep both of you on track.

Ask For Feedback

Not only should you be talking about how an employee can improve or in what areas you want to see growth, but you should be asking for feedback from that person as well about your contributions and how you can help him/her attain those goals. Remember, this is a two-way street.

Do you need help fine-tuning your annual reviews? Check out our workshop on “How to Conduct Performance Evaluations.”  Join Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner and Communications Specialist, Insight Performance, on June 11, 2019, from 8:30 am – 10:30 am.

 

 

Helping Grow your Business

Success! Your small or medium-sized business has made it through the first few “lean” years and has managed to thrive. You know it is time to take steps to grow your business but you are not sure what direction to take. We suggest first meeting with your financial advisor to find out just where you can stretch yourself and where you should play it safe. Here are a few ideas from the Small Business Administration and other entrepreneurs on areas where you can begin to grow your business.

  • Trade Shows – For the first couple of years, you may have been too busy to attend trade shows so start making a name for yourself now. Trade shows are a great way to expand your market. This is also a great time to increase your community activities.
  • Expand your Product or Services – Now that you have successfully gotten your business off the ground, you may want to consider expanding your product line or services. Consider services or products that align with your current offerings.
  • Open Another Location – If your current location is running smoothly and your employee numbers are growing, you may want to consider expanding to another location.
  • Merge or Partner – Many growing companies that have proven that they can be successful find that growing their company may be more successful with a partner or merger with another company potentially in a similar industry.
  • Expand Area – Local businesses often think about expanding the area that they service. This may mean opening a franchise opportunity or seeking funding to open a regional office.
  • Expand on the Web – Your website may need to be updated or expanded if you plan to grow your business.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

REGISTER NOW!

The Right Bank for your Business

Finding a bank that is reliable, easy-to-access and supportive should be a top priority for small business owners.  Choosing the right bank for your company could completely impact daily operations and become a solid foundation on which you build and expand your small business.  As an owner or manager of a small business you will need to consider what the business’ current needs are as well as what future aspirations may be before choosing a banking institution.  How then should a small business go about choosing a bank that is the “right fit”  and what questions should be considered before a final decision on a bank is made?

  • Bank Size – In the world of banking size does matter.  Small, neighborhood banks offer an intimate and human level of interaction which could be advantageous when you need fast cash and can contact a member of the bank easily regardless of your balance sheets. The value of your good name might carry more weight in a smaller bank. A local bank’s mission is to help a neighborhood thrive so they may go above and beyond the call of duty to help your business grow. On the other hand, a bigger bank can offer better interest rates, more flexibility in loan terms and a larger offering of products to fit your needs. Investigate what your needs are as a business to decide to go with a larger bank or one that is invested in the local economy.
  • Bank Features – Things to also consider when choosing a bank include any special features that may be offered to small businesses.  For example:  What is the fee structure like?  Nothing is free so look closely at the fee structure for everything from using the ATM, writing a check, and getting a monthly account statement. But also take note of other bank services you may need down the road, including wire transfers and credit-card processing. In addition to analyzing fees ask: What are the current interest rates?  Is online access easy?  Does the bank specialize in your special needs?
  • Compatibility – Do not underestimate the intangible aspects such as customer service and personal compatibility.  If you have a good personal connection to your bank, you’re more likely to have a successful working relationship. Ask other small businesses in your area what banks they recommend if you want a good personal relationship with your financial partner.
  • Technology – Is your company tech savvy and wants to take advantage of bill pay by phone or deposits by phone?  Do you want easy platforms for online banking?  Some banks embrace technology more than others so consider asking about what technology they practice for daily banking needs.

As you ask yourself these questions while choosing a bank don’t be afraid to go with your gut.  Which bank feels most like the best fit?  Meet with the business officer at each bank to thoroughly discuss your company’s needs and how they can be a vital partner in your business.

 

Challenges of Entrepreneurs

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates revolutionized the cyber world.  Oprah Winfrey changed how we view television. Henry Ford redefined the 20th Century with the mass production of automobiles.  These entrepreneurs, like most,  brought their talent and passion into their business.   Business entrepreneurs are great achievers who have the courage, determination and belief in themselves to pursue a dream even if it means overcoming  challenges and obstacles to see that dream come to life.  What are some common hurdles that have blocked the route to success for entrepreneurs and how have they resolved those problems to go on and be successful?

  • Financial Hardships – Many an entrepreneur have had to fight their way back from the brink of financial disaster. Some business ideas can be bootstrapped – meaning they are self-sustaining without an outside cash injection.  But most need investors or financial backing of some sort.  Seek professional guidance, someone fantastic with numbers who also can see your vision and wants to help you get there, while staying on course financially.  Raising money is complex and there are all sorts of ways to stay in the green including: loans, grants, crowd sourcing, investors, creative budgeting and maintaining good cash flow via strong relationships with vendors and clients.
  • Organization and Planning Issues – They say it is lonely at the top.  Doing all the organizing and planning can be overwhelming.  Professional planners and organizers would recommend making a goal list organized by priority and into categories such as annual, monthly and weekly goals.  Having a clear vision of where you want to be can help keep you from getting swamped in the minutia.  Find great employees who you can delegate some of the tasks to and help you stay on target.
  • Legal Questions – Many entrepreneurs struggle with understanding three key legal themes: How they should structure the business when incorporating. The licenses and permits required by their city, county, state and country. The level of protection needed for the business in terms of patents, copyrights and trademarks. Hiring a qualified attorney will save you the time you would spend researching and learning the legal ins and outs of starting a business.  While you may cringe at the expense, it may save you money and heartache later.
  • Marketing Strategy and Growth Issues – How do you learn the best way to find your target audience and convert them into loyal customers?  Website and SEO marketing can be self taught but you may want to consult with an expert to plan the best places to place your ads, how to attract customers, how to drive customers to your website, and how to get your brand name out there.  You will also want to plan how this strategy will evolve as you grow your business.