It takes hard work, dedication and sometimes good old fashion luck to build a strong, profitable business. One of the best pieces of advice for entrepreneurs and emerging business owners is to get smart insights from people who have been there before.
See what Nikki Gibbs of A Step Ahead Foundation has to say on how she keeps her business growing.
What's the best advice you ever received?
Always show up as your true and authentic self.
What do you wish you knew when you started your business?
A little over seven years ago, I found myself volunteering for a non profit organization called A Step Ahead Foundation. I started as a volunteer, then joined the staff as a part time outreach representative. After a year of outreach, I was promoted to Director of Partnership and Training, and the rest is history. I’d worked with non profits before, but never for a non profit, and certainly never considered “running” a nonprofit. Here’s one thing that I wish I knew before taking over as Executive Director of A Step Ahead Foundation.
A great mission, a great vision, and incredible outcomes don’t matter if you don’t have your team aligned correctly. Not only does your team have to believe in the mission and vision of the organization, they also have to have the three P’s- Purpose, Passion, and Pay. Purpose has to meet passion and passion has to lead to desired pay. In my case, I thought that I had all three P’s covered when it came to my existing team, but, sooner or later I found out that I didn’t. After my transition to Executive Director/CEO, I scheduled individual meetings with everyone on my staff. Boy was I in for a treat! I found that some staff members no longer had the same passion that they originally had, some decided to change their purpose, and honestly, some people wanted more pay. All of which, I understood and supported. Through that understanding and support I was able to help some staff members transition into other positions within the organization, while wishing others well on their new endeavours. I wish I would have known that it’s just as important to hire passionate and purpose driven people versus looking for someone who simply holds the proper credentials. Fast forward to today, I have assembled a team who all possess the three P’s… and that’s what makes A Step Ahead Foundation extremely impactful in our community.
What's your best time management hack?
My best time management hack is to plan your work and work your plan. This idea can be applied to all time frames. From planning your entire day and scheduling it in your calendar to create the organization strategy for the year, planning your work and working your plan is key.
Any other advice or tips you'd like to share?
Personal development is priceless. Never stop learning. Investing in oneself pays the greatest dividends. And one more thing is to take a deep breath. Breathe!
We've asked business owners from across the city to share some of their best advice on starting and growing their small business. Want to learn more insights from other Chamber members? Follow the hashtag #MemberAdvice on our social media channels and read more here on our blog.