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Success: Building Bench in Tough Times

Successful Business Growth in Tough Times

iStock_000006668316XSmallThe business world can learn a lot from gardeners. Gardeners are masters at nurturing growth. They know when to plant a seed to ensure the external environment is ripe for new opportunity. They know how to care for the emerging organism so it begins to grow and withstand challenging conditions. They know when to prune, often cutting out the strongest branches to enable sunlight in to foster more growth that better fits the environment. And they know that they must step back at times, assess their progress, and identify things that inhibit the organism from reaching its full growth potential.

CEOs also need to periodically take stock of their employees to ensure that growth is possible. Times of turbulence offer companies the opportunity to look at their talent pool and identify what the company needs to achieve its future goals. If your future goal is to become the leading supplier of the latest technology widgit, for example, ask yourself if your current employees have the right technical skills to achieve new innovations in widgitry? Does your management team have the strategic vision to both identify and pursue new widget markets as well as to help expand the current ones?

If the answer is yes, then the question you now need to ask is what can I do to help my employees continue to be their best? The reason that continued investment in your people is so critical is that the talent wars continue to survive and thrive. If you don’t invest in keeping your human assets and building upon their strengths, you can be sure your competitors will invest in recruiting them.

If your answer is no–you don’t have the right employees to help you grow into the future. Now is the time for you to make adjustments to your bench.

Even the strongest performers can’t help you achieve your company’s goals if their strengths are not in the areas your future organization needs. Often, this is a very difficult decision for leaders. Most emerging organizations tend to hire for the skills needed at this very moment. And many founders develop strong loyalties to those who were there “from the beginning.” When the organization moves forward or in a different direction, leaders may fail to make the needed talent changes. This can be detrimental to your organization. And it may be a disservice to those valued employees whose skills were right at one point in time, but who may not reach their full potential because they’re no longer a fit at your company.

If your strong performers can help drive the company into the future, be sure to invest in them. If they cannot, or their expertise lies in an area your future organization doesn’t need, take a cue from the gardeners. Prune systematically and fully with a vision of the future. Help your root-bound talent replant in an environment that will nurture their growth. And provide the necessary nutrients to foster the growth in your own organization to achieve its full growth potential.

Elaine Eisenman, Guest Blogger 
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Marketing: Effective Brochures

Tips and Tools for Creating Brochures

The purpose of a brochure is to inspire the perspective customer to do business with you.

A Brochure:

  1. Helps you establish credibility.
  2. Gives you the ability to explain what your company does.
  3. Explains the reasons the customer needs your services or products.
  4. Will focus on the benefits of your services or products in detail.

Brochure Content:

  • Is it eye catching?
  • Does it establish credibility? List your credentials and experience
  • Are the benefits to the customer listed?
  • Are the products or services clearly described?
  • Are the prices listed (optional if applicable)?
  • Are their graphics, pictures if applicable?
  • Is it easy to read and written in simple language?
  • Are the type sizes and styles easy to read?
  • Is it written in sincere friendly easy to understand language?
  • Have you used bold face and bullets to emphasize key points?
  • Does it provide a call for action?
  • Does it include your name and phone number in more than one place?
  • Is there an email and website available?
  • Is the address included with directions if applicable
  • Consider attaching your business card

Make sure your brochure is printed on heavier paper stock, perhaps in color and hand it out at networking events along with your business card.

Julie Brander - Business Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business. | @juliebrander | More from Julie


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