My perspective might be a little different than others given that we made some tough decisions in 2008 that allowed us to get to and maintain profitability while traversing the rough economic climate in 2009-2010. A few years ago, I would have said access to capital, but I think capital is freeing up again.
I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to stay involved in so many aspects of the business and spend time with customers. I am able to do so because I have a great team behind me, and especially a great controller. The ability to expand one's horizons and grow professionally is contingent upon having a great staff.
Another challenge is determining when to pull the trigger on growth, when to bring in more people and when to invest in sales and marketing. For us now it's not a lack of ideas on how to grow, it's having the bodies to execute on those ideas and deciding when to spend and what to spend on while trying to avoid placing ourselves at too much risk. One thing that is always a challenge is finding the right people.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?
For me, a good day at work is marked by two things. One is if I have a list of things to do and I can get half of it marked off, then it's really a good day. Like most people, I drive into work thinking, OK, this is what I have to accomplish today. But in reality, you're lucky sometimes if you can get one or two things off the list. A good day is when you can look at it and say, "Wow I really did get these done and I didn't have too many distractions."
But more than that is feeling that I can help people -- whether on my team or in other departments -- showing them how to achieve a goal, seeing that "ah-ha" moment where it clicks for them and knowing they will continue to be valuable contributors to the company.
Or, the days when I'm working with the sales team and we close a big deal, which doesn't necessarily mean a deal worth a lot of money (although that always helps!), but more so where we structure a deal from a pricing perspective or we navigate through a particularly difficult negotiation process. Each day is surprisingly unique and there are many different reasons to call it a good day.
5. How would you characterize your management style?
I would say fairly flexible. I'm not worried about where they work or how they approach their work, as long as they work hard, have fun and feel valued because they are adding value to the organization.
I take a vested interest in my team and what they're doing; listening to the challenges they are facing and working with them on the possible solutions they've discovered. In addition, my role allows me to work with others throughout the organization and I try to apply the same approach to them.