Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Young Entrepreneurs Academy CEO Roundtable (YEA!), where aspiring entrepreneurs were able to ask a CEO Panel some interesting questions. The insights of the CEOs was impressive – they were vulnerable and authentic, which inspired the kids of YEA, who came up with stellar questions!
Here are some of my favorite takeaways and insights:
Every mistake is an opportunity to grow.
Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas of American Hats, LLC:
Staffing is the most difficult for us and it can be difficult to maintain the level of talent we’d like. Oftentimes, we get people looking for a job and what we need is someone who wants a profession, someone interested in making the product better. People aren’t willing to say I don’t know and be willing to learn a new skill. Turnover is very high. Things that appear to cut your labor costs aren’t always a good thing.
Her 5-year plan is to have more visits to their factory. Right now, they are conducting virtual tours and plan to do more in the near future. Because of this, she is now looking at the attitudes of her employees now that she has people visiting her factory.
She maintains a busy schedule by getting up at 3:30 AM to take the 5:15 AM Train from NYV to Philly. After a day of teaching hat trimming and design, she gets back home at about 10 PM. Her drive and passion keep her working through the weekend – she works Saturdays for 4-6 hours! She measures her success by the customers who come back, time and time again.
Howard Nelson Bear of Doggie Style Pets, the comp.bybusing service model and integrating into neighborhoods. Each store is customized for neighborhoods. The companies biggest challenge? Staffing! It’s hard to have a 5-year plan with as fast as things change.
Social responsibility has garnered brand loyalty and retention.
Rick Forman – says one of the biggest risks they face is deciding to pivot when you realize your original plan won’t work. Execution requires operating on all cylinders. You have to first have the secret sauce and the vision to bring a neighborhood alive.
Dumb is smart and smart is dumb.
You need to be curious.
Don’t be afraid to ask that question.
In order to be philanthropic, you have to make a profit.
Laura Kelly says that risk is making your stable successful in order to grow.
Entrepreneurs have many challenges and may find themselves getting taken in by shiny object syndrome. That’s what excites entrepreneurs – creation.
One of Laura’s goals is to have an instructor teaching kids in a thousand different locations. She works from home and doesn’t have a defined start/finish time. It’s a workday that just continues.
Some of the key takeaways from Laura were:
Successful people move forward in spite of fear. Fear is part of the price you pay.
A really strong team of experts is essential to growth.
Bill Mignucci – This too will pass. You’ll have that moment, and how you respond will define you. “I’ve been in the fetal position maybe even twice.” Fear doesn’t go away. It’s good to have a healthy dose of fear.
Some of the lessons learned from Bill:
Prioritization and defining and redefining your destination.
We aspire, and we may not achieve, but it’s key to keep your eye on the future. Growth is not just about economics, but about cause. Put in as much time as is healthy.
In his servant leadership model is flipped, he serves the employees rather than them supporting him. He does this to inspire them and to create a vision.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and what key takeaways have they shared with you?
Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.
While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.
Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.
She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.