Leadership

Running a Successful Business: 3 Keys for Long-Term Growth

By Andrew Pichee

meeting of successful business leaders

As a business leader, I’m constantly thinking about different ways we can grow our business.

One of our core values at BizLibrary is to build partnerships that last, and the only way to do that is to make sure we’re building a company that stands the test of time.

In Arie de Geus’ book, The Living Company, he explores a number of key attributes that businesses with long-term success have in common. The three key things that all long-lasting companies share, he posited, are:

  1. Great vision
  2. Great financial management
  3. Great people

1. A Successful Business Needs a Strong Vision

Creating a vision helps define where the company wants to go, and where it sees itself in the future.

If we don’t know where we want to be a few years from now, and build an organization around that vision, changes to the marketplace or outside forces can easily derail us and knock us off course.

2. Smart Investments Allow for Growth

Most would equate “great financial management” with profits, but it’s more than that.

Thinking about great financial management means investing in the right places. Whether that’s infrastructure, product, marketing, distribution, or human capital, we need to be smart about the areas in which we’re investing to ensure that the company is sustainable in the long run.

3. People Are the Foundation of Business Success

De Geus’ final, but arguably most important attribute for what makes a successful business, is great people.

Our most important asset, as a company, is the people that we employ. Engaged and happy employees take good care of customers. And happy customers take good care of the business.

It all centers on building a culture that supports and nurtures employees.

In an era where technology innovations have allowed for the automation of many business processes, nothing replaces the ingenuity and innovation that our employees bring to the table. This is why we’ve made the decision to invest heavily in building a “culture of learning” that fosters the learning and development of our people.

Growing Business with a Learning Culture

Fortunately, we’re lucky that we have access to modern learning and development resources that we’ve built in-house. As the colloquial phrase says, we “eat our own dog food,” and the decision for us to implement our own solutions is an easy one and provides us with many benefits.

To help onboard new employees, we’ve created an engaging and interactive “Bootcamp” that includes utilizing our own resources within The BizLibrary Collection. This first week provides them with immediate training on real, impactful things that they can put to use in their new role from day one.

We’ve grown our staff significantly over the past several years, so building this focus around onboarding is critical to help us engage new employees.

The first impression that new employees have needs to be positive, and by showing that we will invest in their learning and development right away, that culture of learning is instilled from day one.

Building a Company-wide Coaching Mindset

We’ve also focused heavily on coaching initiatives. A few years ago, when we decided to build a culture where employees coach and learn from each other, we looked at resources in The BizLibrary Collection to help set some foundational knowledge of key and complicated concepts.

We identified internal champions to help us drive the initiative and build “Lunch and Learn” presentations around these video lessons to make sure we were following through on ingraining the coaching culture at the individual level.

Beyond that, we implemented an incentive program to encourage employees to share coachable moments, where another person provided them with impactful and meaningful coaching. We also highlighted a Coach of the Month each month, to provide a positive example and award someone who really embodied the coaching mindset.

More recently, we’ve invested significant time and effort specifically into building managers’ coaching skills. Training all managers to effectively coach employees has played a large role in our business’ successes, contributing to results such as reduced turnover, higher employee engagement, and stronger individual performance.

Continuing the Cycle of Growth

Running a successful business that lasts and grows ensures that we can create more jobs and employ, develop, and improve the lives of people in our community and beyond. As business leaders, it’s important that we appreciate this opportunity and capitalize on it.

Investing in the learning and development of our employees not only helps us build long-term business success, but also improves the lives of others. This cycle of developing employees, taking care of your customers, growing the business, and hiring new employees is at the heart of what I consider to be great business management.

Easy-to-use, modern training solutions can help you build a culture of learning to focus on the success of your employees, and ultimately the success of your business.

Ready to see your organization grow? Learn more in-depth strategies for running a successful business in this free on-demand webinar:

Andrew Pichee is the Chief Finance Officer at BizLibrary. Prior to joining BizLibrary in 2013, Andrew was a senior business analyst at Express Scripts in the commercial division where he provided strategic support for a wide range of Express Scripts’ clients. Andrew earned a BS in Finance from St. Louis University in 2010.