What makes a successful business thrive? That’s what eight out of 10 new entrepreneurs would like to know, because their businesses fail within the first 18 months, according to Bloomberg.
Adam Witty has managed to turn plenty of heads in the business community as founder and CEO of Advantage Media Group, an international publisher of business, self-improvement, and professional development books and online learning.
Witty, who was selected for INC Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of “America’s coolest young entrepreneurs” in 2011, said creating the right environment is crucial for success. The magazine also featured his company in their top 500|5000 list of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for 2012 and 2013, when the company ranked No. 42 in Media and No. 36 for Top 100 South Carolina Companies.
“You don’t have to be a business guru to recognize when a business is firing on all cylinders, that everyone is putting their skills to maximum use, working together, and actually having a good time. How to create that chemistry – that’s the question,” said Witty, the author of five books and an in-demand speaker and consultant on marketing, business development, media and publishing, and entrepreneurship topics.
“Of course, you need folks with the right qualifications who are willing to bring their A-game every day – that’s crucial. But there are also character traits to look for: a positive, can-do attitude, for instance. If a person doesn’t fit in the mix, not only will he or she be less likely to bring their best, they can also compromise everyone else’s game.”
Witty talks about what it takes to get that hum every CEO wants, both in the office and in one’s respective industry.
• Staff your team with A-players; they’re worth the wait. An A-player is someone who brings all of the necessary qualifications to the table – perhaps more than you were expecting – and that something extra as a human being. Of course, that isn’t always readily apparent during a 45-minute interview; it can take time to see the true colors of a talented individual to come through. This speaks to the importance of having an intuitive hiring manager, “which may be a small business’s CEO,” Witty adds. Also, it’s important to have A-players who put the team first, who have helped Advantage Media Group earn a spot on the Best Places to Work in South Carolina list for 2013 and 2014. Egomaniacs who cannot collaborate can to grind productivity to a screeching halt.
• The importance of having fun … “Having fun not only helps your team do well, it’s a sign that you’re doing things right,” Witty said. “Where fun and work meet is the understanding from employees that they’re making a difference. You want a team of individuals who are motivated by the ‘why’ of what they do.” Fun at work means having energy and enthusiasm while tending to the tasks at hand.
• Make employees, and clients, your extended family. A family environment significantly facilitates a team mentality, especially for those quiet geniuses who like to keep to themselves because they’re shy. But why stop there? Extend the love to clients, suppliers and other crucial components of the business. Without these folks, your business couldn’t survive.
• Direction: understanding the “why;” encourage difference makers. “Our team members are driven by the ‘why’ of what we do,” Witty said. “The right content in the right person’s hands at the right time can change the world forever. We believe in sharing stories, passion and knowledge to guide and help others learn and grow.”
• Commit to lifelong learning. Seek to uncover and promote the leader in every one on your team by encouraging all members to follow a path of personal and professional development. With increased knowledge, experiences and skills, people lead to a more fulfilled life, which can profit everyone within a working environment.
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