A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Lynda Applegate, the Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. At the time, the economy was still in the doldrums and Lynda impressed upon me the importance of looking to thrive, not just survive when things were tough!
For small to medium-sized businesses, how does this advice translate to the current economic environment? The business outlook is strong, but it is still tough for small to medium-sized organizations.
So how do growing, small to medium-sized businesses get passed a focus on survival and thrive?
1. Establish an employee-first culture and don’t be afraid to hire right.
It may seem counter-intuitive to the customer-first philosophy of many organizations, but when your employees come first, good things follow, including extremely high customer loyalty.
A great example is at Intacct, the leading cloud accounting software company. In a recent New York Times article, Intacct’s award winning CEO, Rob Reid, was quoted as saying “If you create an environment that inspires people in the good times and bad, good people will figure out the right strategy and will do the right things from an execution perspective… So we really look for team-oriented and results-driven people who want to contribute and make a difference.
2. Ensure real-time visibility into financial performance against goals and don’t be afraid to be transparent.
It may be the norm for small to medium-sized organizations to be in firefighting mode, but when the right mechanism is in place for forecasting and monitoring performance against goals and sharing with the entire organization, good things happen, including innovation.
There are countless examples from the 100+ companies where we implemented Intacct. When the entire company understands where things stand and are headed, there are numerous benefits, from getting everyone to step up when things are falling behind to being able to invest in new initiatives when things are tracking well.
With the economy poised for strong growth, how poised are you to thrive?