Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the bigger challenge. Even though small and large businesses share a lot of the same obstacles, big business tends to have the staffing to oversee a lot of the day-to-day challenges. In today’s business world, small business owners and executives find themselves wearing more hats than ever before. Since the start of the recession, the head count for most small companies has decreased, while the responsibilities of running the company have increased. As much as they would like to work “on” the business — planning and interacting with clients — company leaders find themselves working “in” the business instead.
Without going into the financial importance of running a business, below are examples of some of the responsibilities the leadership at West Press has to stay on top of:
- People are the most important part of West Press. Employees create our culture and define the kind of company we are and are going to be. One of the most difficult tasks the person running the company has is to make sure everyone gets along. We have 35 people with 35 different backgrounds and personalities. The team should respect each other’s knowledge and contribution to the company. When you find the perfect employee mix, the entire team becomes upbeat and focused on the common goal: success for the company and our customers. The leader can never lose sight of the value of its people.
- Vendors must meet our company’s expectations. If we emphasize outstanding customer service from our staff, then we must expect it from our vendors too. Printing is a manufacturing process requiring raw materials to be delivered on time and at the right price. Technical support must be prompt and accurate. When vendors deliver late or cannot troubleshoot a problem, the work may stop. Our clients should not pay the price for a vendor’s shortcomings. West Press’ relationship with their vendors is rock solid. Most of our vendors are small businesses like we are. They’re doing everything they can to help us be successful so they can be successful too. We share information about each other’s industries on a regular basis so we know how to help each other. The strongest vendors have survived and are our business partners.
- Run a tight, efficient ship. Some small businesses have human resources personnel to oversee benefits (especially health insurance), new-hire protocol, performance evaluations and employee handbook information. At West Press, the accounting office and the president of the company manage human resources responsibilities. The employee handbook is easy; it’s a set of rules and guidelines for us to follow. And with the help of department supervisors, we are able to give performance feedback to our staff on a regular basis. But learning the details of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and comparing it to what we have had for years has made providing health insurance for our staff a much more difficult task. It’s tough finding the best plan for both our company’s budget and our staff’s budgets. Most of our employees are like your employees; they come from hard-working families. Sometimes it’s difficult to decide between what is best for the company and what is best for your staff.
- Focus on growth and differentiation. Growth brings the challenge of change. It’s one thing to be good at something when you can hone your skills through repetition; it’s a completely different challenge to become good and stay good when the rules of the game keep changing. Competition, new services and new technology force us to change every day. West Press refuses to be stagnant. We believe in keeping our staff up-to-date on new processes and techniques so they can be a resource for our clients; investing in technology to allow for improved quality and productivity; and marketing to our clients keeping them informed of what’s going on at West Press. Company leaders must believe in investing and marketing. Those who do not will have a tough time when the competition gets rough.
At times these challenges can be overwhelming but it’s nice to know that all small businesses face these hurdles every day. Business owners and executives love a challenge, that’s why we became entrepreneurs.
West Press’ talented staff is here to help your business grow and succeed – with graphic design to printing to mailing services to large format to website development. Contact West Press or your Account Executive at 520-624-4939 today.