Planning The Smallest Details Pays The Biggest Dividends
When you coach a hockey team made up of players with small physiques you can’t leave anything to chance. It is tough to play against bigger players who possess strength and a reach that take away time and space on the ice for smaller players. This disadvantage makes it more challenging for a team of smaller players to execute and be effective. So having a strategic plan and a set of tactics to follow is imperative if you want to play.
So, what does size of a hockey team have to do with running a business in today’s marketplace?
Imagine for a moment, you have identified a gap in an industry that has a fiercely competitive landscape with seasoned veterans (big players). You know you can deliver, however you are just starting out in that industry with your newly formed company (small players). The seasoned veterans know how to position themselves in front of prospects because they lean on their past successes and brand name.
You on the other hand lack tenure but you have passion and a commitment to solving the problem. You have a keen eye and see the gap. You believe with the right strategy, you can make your mark.
Like the smaller framed team of hockey players, if you want to compete you have to have all your steps pre-calculated. One false move and you have wasted time and made costly mistakes against your competition who know how to score points with your prospect.
So, how can you amass success and become a leading authority in a chosen industry in a little over three years?
Enter Carly Silberstein and Bailey Roth partners at Redstone Agency into the event and association management industries. These young women were strategic in their preparation and executed flawlessly. In a three-year span they won a Top 40 Under 40 award, became a BizBash Rising Star recipient and Mompreneur Finalist.
Their secret to success?
Be Relational – Not Transactional
For CEO, Carly Silberstein and President Bailey Roth, the two strategies they implemented from their plan to help them stand out and become the right choice for their prospects were:
1) Strategic Prospecting: Getting known with a purpose.
2) Empowering Team Building: Have a mutually beneficial approach.
Carly took me through the journey explaining, “We took six months to plan and our goal was to be self funded. We spent hours together establishing out the goals, objectives, short term and long term needs, and a support network (including family support) that we felt we needed to have any kind of success.”
It is a given that in order to gain the trust of people, for them to become your customer there are fundamental activities you must do in your business. You must be able to get people’s attention. And you must be able to show them value. But first you need to know where your identified prospect likes to hang out.
“We joined associations. We went to networking events. We wanted to learn and to make connections, said Carly. “We knew being around like-minded people was important. We also knew as a service based company, building relationships was the key to our future. To develop the company for success long term we focused on being Relational vs Transactional.”
There is a swing in the marketplace, that a customer is also interested to know the Core Values of a company. For Carly and Bailey, “it is the human aspect of what we do, that is important. We want our clients to know that we will go to the extreme.”
Strategic Hiring Over Filling a Hole
In order to service their client, these dynamic women needed to make sure the right team was in place. “We wanted to prove ourselves. We were the youngest and we needed to prove that we were experts.” Carly shared. “We did it alone in the beginning. But by month three we started to hire.”
Like a hockey coach building a team of players, having a written set of guiding principles for someone to be a team player is critical. So having the right player in the right position, takes time. “Before we built the team, we laid down what were the musts someone needed to possess, Carly began with. “We felt people needed, compassion, passion, a ‘want to learn’ attitude, be driven, open-minded and have a good work ethic.”
One of their strengths in the last three years has been their proven hiring process. “We created a longer than usual hiring process,” Bailey shared. “We spend a lot of time with people before making any offers.”
A so-called expert in any industry takes time to learn and become familiar with the subject matter. The two women made ‘the expert mindset’ part of the culture. It started at the beginning of their three-step hiring process:
Introductory video interview: “We do a visual conversation with the candidate. The goal is to accomplish a foundation,” Carly mentioned. “Do they know us? Do we know them?” This is where Redstone applies the old adage, common sense is not so common. “We find out if the candidate has taken any step towards learning about the company and what it does. They need to show they care.”
Woven in their hiring process the Expert Mindset begins. The skill of research and discovery is primary for an expert. This step divulges if there is a right or wrong fit with a candidate.
Face to face meeting and questionnaire: This step checks to see if team members align with the potential candidate and feel there is a fit. The candidate is also given a case study. “Then questions are built on these scenarios and the candidate is to respond to the best of their ability,” Carly started to describe. “No answer is right or wrong. We learn about the thought process of the candidate, while the candidate learns about themselves and begins to see if there is an alignment with our core values.”
Interview with the President: This last step allows for a more intimate setting to see if the candidate can align with the vision of the company. “Up to this point, the candidate has been through the basic checks and balances of skills assessment for the position,” Bailey stated. “The candidate got to see if there is a fit with team members and our core values. Now, we get to see the level of interest. By adding this last stage, we see if the candidate is serious enough for the position and is willing to have one more interview.”
In a time of technology and innovation, there still lies the importance of being intentionally relational. Building the connection with people does not just happen. It takes planning, strategies and execution.
Sir Richard Branson is known for the principle, take care of your people and your people will take care of your customer. For Carly and Bailey at Redstone Agency, empowering their team is what provides the fuel to care for their clients. “We focus on our team. We want to know how they are doing in their role and personally,” Carly pointed out. In the end there must be something that is pleasing to folks, something of value for their effort. Carly’s final words brought this topic full circle. “Never get so big that you forget the small things. Human connection. Focus on and celebrate the wins of people.”
Kevin Huhn is the Founder of Be Your Best Today and through its mission helps small to medium-sized businesses with $700K to $10M in revenue clarify their message, get known and drive traffic. To learn more visit beyourbesttoday.ca.