What makes your company special?

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:45 pm

    What is your company’s value proposition? What makes your company special?

    A healthy amount of corporate navel gazing can be instructive and enlightening, so long as it does not become obsessive.

    At the annual Waukesha Chamber of Commerce Top Ten Small Businesses of the Year luncheon recently, we learned about what makes several successful local businesses special. Perhaps other companies can find inspiration from their stories:

    • CSE (Caliendo Savio Enterprises Inc.) president Tom Savio said his company, which provides branded uniforms and other products, was making far too many mistakes in its production process. So, he created a $200,000 employee mistake prevention incentive program. It’s a pool of money. When a mistake is made, the costs for that mistake are withdrawn from that pool. At the end of the year, if there’s money in the pool, it is distributed to the employees. And the result? Mistakes have declined 50 percent. Funny how that works. When you give people a financial incentive, a monetary stake, in getting the job done right, it gets done.
    • Capital Data Inc. chief executive officer John Steindorf told us how his company helps its customers integrate and protect their data systems. Imagine what would happen to your company if one day you came to work, and all of your company’s data was inaccessible or worst yet, destroyed, corrupted or stolen? That would be a doomsday scenario, to be sure.
    • Kolb+Co. president Tom Luken, president of Kolb+Co. told us how his company has grown organically. It has not needed to acquire other companies. Kolb has added new services as its customers have requested them. In other words, the company has listened to its customers and acted upon their needs.
    • M&M Office Interiors Corp. co-president Tim Rudd took the unique and bold initiative to hire a marketing firm to survey its customers to find out what they wanted from the company. From that survey, the company identified the precise services its customers expect, and the firm’s customer service has improved.
    • QPS Companies Inc. president Scott Mayer launched a rigorous, 120-hour annual continuous training program designed to create a "gold standard" of service in the staffing industry. It must be working. The company’s revenues shot up to $80 million last year. QPS was named the Small Business of the Year by the chamber.
    • Schroeder Solutions president and CEO Scott Gierhahn is helping companies establish comfortable and productive workplaces for their intergenerational workforces. As the labor shortage becomes more acute with more baby boomers retiring, an ergonomically sound workplace will become a competitive advantage.
    • Tailored Label Products Inc. president Mike Irwin’s business is growing so fast, and it will expand from occupying 28,000 square feet to about 50,000 square feet of space at its Menomonee Falls plant in the next year.
    • World Class Wire & Cable Inc. president Jim Lindenberg tries to implement at least two new value-added services for its customers every year.
    • Lakeland Supply Inc. president Vince Schmidt said his company met its 2006 financial goals. So, the company sent all of its employees and their spouses on an all-expense-paid, three-day Caribbean cruise in February. Talk about creating employee loyalty!

    Each of these companies is growing, and each is sharing its growth with its staff. That is not coincidental. As a wise man said to me recently, good employees who are taken care of will take good care of the company.

    What makes your company special?

    Steve Jagler is executive editor of Small Business Times.

     

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