Taking a Hard Look at our Businesses

May 20, 2021

This month our Round Tables took a hard look at their current business position, and evaluated their product offerings, people, markets, processes, and abilities to execute those processes. For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review.

Key ideas and solutions shared by our Round Tables:

  • Kalamazoo Tuesday Round Table:  In order to assess your position, you must clarify your vision to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.  There are many tools to help a company create a vision, one mentioned is ‘Vision Traction Organizer.”  Every employee needs to understand and be invested in your vision. 
  • If job task not embraced, look to the process surrounding the completion of task.  Leaders may be surprised at the lack of process existing around a task.  Understanding and streamlining the process can result in the tasks being completed and a more satisfied employee.
  • Your clear vision will help solve problems.  If business is booming now, take time to slow down and re-assess, as you cannot run and shoot all the time. 
  • Holland Round Table:  There is a feeling that there may be judgement on the part of employers towards potential and future employees.  There is a need to reframe the judgmental feelings leaders have towards people on unemployment.  There needs to be an awareness that there are many legitimate reasons people are staying home.
  • Kalamazoo Friday Round Table:  It starts with a vision and a continual focus on vision and culture of your area or company.  Emphasis on culture cannot be for just one month.
  • One West Michigan company implemented small group meetings in their company, where discussions did not necessarily focus on business.   Employees were able to get to know each other as people, creating a family-like environment.  This is a culture that is embraced as they feel important, and valued.
  • Many employees today value life balance.  Can we learn from them?
  • A challenging employee?  Ask them this question:  Does this job take you where you want to go?  If not, they may not belong there.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.  Hire those who have the strengths you lack. 
  • Birmingham Round Table:  Consider the possibility of creating a team within your team.  Consider a Junior/senior team as it relates to expertise and experience as opposed to age.  The purpose of the team is for the senior to teach and the junior to learn and potentially introduce new ideas.  This concept helps raise accountability and productivity.
  • Marshall Round Table:  People solution for not enough manpower. You might think you have to remove a person.  It is possible that the problem is the process, and not the employee, and the process can be changed, improved, or fixed.  We may have good people but flawed process causing – HR issues, and office tensions.   
  • Global Round Table:  Business need to be open, honest, and humble.  As your company grows and changes, be open to hearing about process issues with systems you may have developed but may not serve your company now.  A good exercise to evaluate your processes is by having employees write their job descriptions.  Their descriptions may surprise you.
  • Understand that many of your employees are struggling, either in their current role, or their personal relationships, or both.  It is important to understand this and develop personal relationships with your employees.
  • Build strategic partnerships with your suppliers.  Understand their capabilities, know their staff, and be aware of their financial position.  Many supplier’s businesses may be on the brink and you should be aware of this.  Building relationships help in times of shortages, such as we have now, will ensure you have the materials you need for your business.

We are going back to CBRT in-person breakfast events!  Join us on Friday, June 18 at 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. at the Kalamazoo Country Club, featuring a motivational talk with Kalamazoo small-business owner and co-founder of Stand-Up Michigan Garrett Soldano.   See our events page for more information on this and other upcoming events.

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.