Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the ONWARD Summit in New York City, hosted by our partner, Yext. We gathered among peers at the Conrad New York hotel and networked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and I walked away with an enlightenment — an awakening of sorts — about my business and future growth.
As I sat with my team on Monday morning, pouring out every ounce of what I learned and sharing my vision for our company’s future, I knew I also wanted to share some of these insights with you, our loyal customers. I hope my synopsis of this panel featuring incredible business leaders energizes you to move full-steam ahead with your own business, and I want you to know that our company is here to help you do that and support your digital growth each step of the way.
Hyperlinks Media is one of Houston’s leading digital marketing and custom website design agencies, so you may expect my key summit takeaways to be centrally focused on the development and technologies of these core aspects, but they were not. My enlightenment came in hearing from Brian Halligan, Co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, and Howard Lerman, Founder and CEO of Yext, among many other industry thought leaders.
The Creation of a Great Team
We have all heard the age-old adage of a company only being as strong as its weakest link, and while cliche, that could not be more true. If you want to propel your business into an ever-evolving — yet always upward — trajectory, it starts with choosing the right people for your business. Passion is greater than pedigree here, and I have found that to be true in my years of business.
You must focus on building a team of employees who want to succeed and see your company grow, not just during the quarterly meetings or the occasional team building activity, but every day. You must cultivate a culture of success by discussing growth opportunities and the desire to succeed day in and day out.
So how do you know if you have these employees on your team? One of the key aspects of these special employees is the holistic view of their role within the company. For example, someone who is always willing to step into an area that may not be a part of their core role, but has the company’s vision in their heart and a desire to do what it takes for the betterment of the business.
It is essential to build your company culture around this mindset, because in the end, that is how you grow. High-employee turnover is a business killer, and if you are experiencing these obstacles, it can be time to reexamine why you’re not retaining talent.
Are you valuing your top tier employees? Many of the top business people in the world have often claimed that in order to grow, you must focus on your people. What can you do to ensure you’re retaining your top talent and cultivating growth? I’d love to hear from you about how you’re creating a team to propel your company into the future, and I’m happy to share areas we are building upon here at Hyperlinks Media:
- Team-building events to enhance our relationships
- Competitive achievement goals
- Encouragement of health and well-being
- Quarterly lunch meetings to discuss the business
- Inclusivity on business happenings and partnerships for growth
These are just a few of the steps I am taking as a business owner to enhance our company culture and retain my top talent. Areas you could focus on could include employee salary and benefits, growth initiatives and even team-based activities — the opportunities are endless to show you want to invest in your people.
In the words of famed author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey,
“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
To summarize, yes, your people are the key to expansive growth, however even the best people will leave a company if they do not feel they are being treated well, are not valued for what they are worth, or see no evidence of career growth.
Richard Branson has said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
And that is how you invest in great people to help you grow your great business.
Never, Ever Give Up
When aforementioned Halligan and Lerman spoke to the eager crowd of business leaders, there was a commonality in both of their stories — struggle. And a lot of it.
Lerman experienced years of struggle in building Yext, and there were many times when he became discouraged by the high amount of output and little progress. I told my team that every business owner feels this way at one point or another, and while people are the distinguishing factor between great and mediocre businesses, the will and determination of business owners to grow and succeed will set the tone for everyone.
Our struggles determine our success. Halligan also experienced immense struggle in trying to grow HubSpot, but he never gave up and neither did his people.
What kind of attitude are you displaying at the office? If it is one of restlessness and constant disappointment, you may be interrupting the synergy of your best employees. However, if you choose to adapt and overcome, you will show resilience to your team and be rewarded.
You can power through difficult times with preparation. With the foundation laid due to hiring great people, you will be able to show perseverance through the storms of small business ownership. One day, your company will expand to a new capacity, and you will be glad you did not give up.
Focus on What You Do Well
A key takeaway from this summit was the simple fact that you should not be trying to do everything in your business. For Hyperlinks Media, we are really great at custom web design and search engine optimization. So, moving forward we will be focusing more heavily on these areas than ever before. This may mean we drop a few service offerings off our menu, and that is 100% acceptable.
Our business focuses on digital marketing, but within that realm are endless marketing techniques and options. If we were to have a hand in each one of these areas of expertise, we would be a “jack of all trades, but master of none” kind of business, and that would be unacceptable. We are leaders and masters in what we do best, and we can deliver the absolute best to our customer base by focusing on what we do well.
As a business owner, it can be easy to get caught up in trying to evolve digitally and offer new services, but I would encourage you not to bite off more than you can chew. Focus on what your company does really well and continually improve. Professional development for your employees is one great way to make sure that you are on top of the pulse of your industry. Encourage them to learn more about your industry and become experts in their own right, and it will pay off for your business.
In conclusion, the Yext ONWARD Summit was a business-changing, moving and shaking kind of experience. I took a lot away from this event, and I hope my experience can enhance your business in some way — be it making a small dent or a big impact. And as always, the growth of Hyperlinks Media would not be possible without our loyal customers, so I thank each and every one of you for entrusting us with your digital brand presence — we won’t let you down. Cheers!