Monthly Archives: June 2021

Our June topic: “Moving Forward:  Beyond Slow Motion & The Waiting Game.”

In May, the Round Tables took a hard look at their businesses and assessed their positions.  In June, based on their assessment, our Round Tables discussed moving forward.

We have the answers!  Below are the solutions to common business problems discussed in the Round Tables in June.

Kalamazoo:

  • Companies and industries are getting creative to fill needed staffing positions.  The building industry, for example, is now trying to engage with middle and high school students in an effort to educate them on the future opportunities in the skilled trades.
  • Are we moving too fast in the wrong direction or the right direction?  There is a need to constantly re-assess as business is moving very quickly.  A solution:  a constant, scheduled evaluation of strategy.  Constantly asking ourselves, are we on plan?  Is it the right strategy for today?  Crisis management requires us to ask ourselves, are we effectively delivering value to our customers? 
  • Creativity and the willingness to entertain all options could be the key to survival.  During this time of limited raw materials and supplies needed to do business, some companies are looking to partner with other organizations to share resources.  Partnering companies must share common vision and goals to be successful.  These types of arrangements would have been out of the question previously but may be advantageous during this time. 
  • The workplace is changing.  Many folks want to work from home at least part of the time.  How to create a cohesive group in this environment?  Human Resource’s role may expand.  There is a need to get employees together as a group to help create culture and cohesiveness.  HR may become ‘event coordinators’ to not only meet for accomplishing tasks but also to a create culture. 
  • How to engage people remotely?  A way to connect to remote staff is to call in the morning to say hello and see how they are, just as was done when staff in the was in the office.  It is important to remember that employees are people first and we are social creatures. 

Holland: 

  • Many business owners designed processes as business started, but as time goes on, processes are tweaked and changed.  It may be time to ‘put on the blue jeans, go down on the floor and put some time in with your people.”
  • A key tactic:  Listen for the voice of Truth, listen for God.

Grand Rapids

  • The pandemic has created a survival mentality both individually and organizationally that is stifling and debilitating. Leaders need to transform this mentality by focusing on mission, establishing specific strategic goals, and fostering innovation.
  • Many organizations are sitting “dead in the water.” We need to create momentum by setting short-term goals that provide the organization or each department the opportunity to take at least one step forward on a weekly basis.

Global: 

The ability to managing cash flow is critical to survival for many businesses today.  Some suggestions for the Round Table:

  • Pre-bill or create a retainer for services, similar to the practices of a law or an accounting firm.  If a customer is unable or unwilling to pay, you may decide to focus your business elsewhere.  This can prevent a business loss.
  • Bill your customers more frequently to avoid delays in payment, consider a weekly or bi-weekly billing cycle.  Many customers pay based on the date a bill was submitted.
  • Be sure to pursue forgiveness of PPE loans given by Federal Government during covid.
  • Make sure you have strong relationships and frequent communication with your customers.  Create and maintain relationships with all levels of employees within their organizations.   This may mean the difference between getting payment at 120 days or 30-60 days.
  • Cash flow problems?  Talk to your staff.  Allow them to brainstorm solutions with you to assist during difficult times.  You may be surprised at their ideas and their willingness to help.
  • It may be time to right size your customers, if appropriate.  Are we making the margins on this business we need to in order to remain afloat or succeed, or should we focus on higher margin customers?

Staffing is an on-going issue in the current business environment.  Several solutions implemented by the Global Round Table attendees were:

  • A few have created internships for the best and brightest students and pay them a reasonable intern wage.  This is working well for several companies represented in the Global Round Table.
  • Increased recruiting staff or increased the intensity of recruiting and began looking for talent in distant locations such as people living an hour to an hour and a half away.
  • Owners and leaders are doing the job of their employees to fill in the gap, sometimes as needed, sometimes regularly scheduled.  Customers are noticing and respect this willingness to dig in to make sure customers’ needs are met.  Customer care must be a part of your culture.
  • When an employee leaves, before the position is filled, make sure you understand the productivity that is expected and needs to be delivered by filling this position.  Determine if you are getting the productivity needed in this position and offer salary to new hires based on the required productivity.
  • Pivoted employees from current role to other roles as dictated by needs of the company.  Another possibility, increase responsibility, along with a small increase in pay to provide coverage needed.

Do you want to join a Round Table?  Get the latest information on next month’s Round Table venues on our website.  Options include hybrid, in-person only or online only.  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link or location near you.

We have two upcoming webinar/leadership events!

Our next webinar/Leadership Event will be on Friday, July 23 at 7:30am, with guest speaker Jim Coyle of Nexus Business Solutions.

Then, on Friday, August 27, at 7:30 am, join us as we welcome, author Dave Kahle, who will discuss, “Navigating your way through complexity in a rapidly changing, information-saturated world.” 

See the Events Page to register today to save your place for both leadership training events.  These events are free to attend, thanks to our generous sponsors.  If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.