What makes a successful business thrive? That’s what new business owners would like to know, because eight out of 10 new 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, says 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,” said Witty. “How to create that chemistry – that’s the question.”
While every business owner needs employees with the right qualifications who are willing to bring their A-game every day, there also are character traits to look for, according to Witty. He says a positive, can-do attitude, for instance, can go a long way in contributing to a positive work culture. “If a person doesn’t fit in the mix, not only will he or she be less likely to bring their best, [he or she also can] compromise everyone else’s game,” he adds.
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, he says; egomaniacs who cannot collaborate can to grind productivity to a screeching halt.
- Don’t underestimate 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 says. “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.
- Help employees understand the “why” behind the business and encourage difference makers. “Our team members are driven by the ‘why’ of what we do,” Witty says. “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.”
- Suggest employees commit to lifelong learning. Seek to uncover and promote the leader in everyone 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.