By Michael Kurland, CEO of Branded Group.
My company recently celebrated its four-year anniversary. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has passed and the exponential changes my team and I have experienced. Humble beginnings were rooted in a vision to create a business that would place purpose before profits and to inspire my team to grow into the leaders of tomorrow.
At times, the road was bumpy. Yet the lessons learned were invaluable to help me take my company to the next level every year. Would I do things differently if I had to repeat the process, or would I stick with the sage advice given to me by my mentors? While I may have changed a few things, staying the course with these three lessons has made all the difference.
They are simple, yet powerful:
- Hire the best
Rinse and repeat as often as needed.
The best advice I received when I started my entrepreneurial journey was to hire the best people I could find for my top positions. These experts would be the eventual leaders of the critical business functions like operations, sales and customer service. While it is tempting to try to perform these roles yourself or to save money by hiring less-experienced individuals, neither of these approaches will benefit your company and you'll waste valuable time.
If you’re looking to jumpstart your business, you want a senior leadership team that can hit the ground running. There’s no time for on-the-job-training to get them up to speed. You want the people in these key positions to get down to business on day one. As we know, top talent begs top salaries. This is not the time to scrimp. Forgoing some initial luxuries, like swanky office space, may be the sacrifice that is needed in order to compensate these valuable team members.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
With a solid team in place, it’s important to empower them to accomplish the business goals set before them. Micromanaging or attempting to do it yourself are counterproductive and will inevitably result in a disengaged team -- or worse, a business that struggles to get off the ground.
As the owner of the business, and owner of its vision, your team will look to you for guidance and leadership and then will expect you to trust them to deliver results. Isn’t this the reason that you hired them? People want to be challenged and relied upon to get the job done. They want the ability to use their talents and skills to accomplish the goals placed before them. As their leader, it’s up to you to provide clear direction, reasonable expectations and then send them on their way.
Reap the Rewards
To paraphrase a famous quote, no entrepreneur is an island. It takes an entire team, delivering their best every day to make a business successful. When you surround yourself with people who are as committed to your vision as you are, going above and beyond what you require, they should be rewarded.
Those rewards don’t always have to be in the form of bonuses or raises -- they can be as simple as casual Fridays, summer hours or a holiday potluck. Even a simple “thank you” goes a long way to ensuring your team feels valued and recognized for the work they are doing. As their leader, it’s up to you to show your gratitude for the team that is making your vision a reality.
These three simple, yet powerful lessons have been the guiding light over the past four years as my business continues to thrive. If there is ever a hiccup in our daily business operations, I look to these principles to ensure that they are still front and center. Is the right person in the job? Are my senior managers delegating appropriately? Does my team feel valued and appreciated? If I can answer “yes” to these questions, then I know I will position my company for continued success.
Michael Kurland is an entrepreneur who mortgaged his life savings for his first company, launched Branded Group in 2014 with a sincere desire to #BeBetter.