There were some important take-aways from last week’s Small Business Task Force Open Forum, “Hitting the Mark: Character, Competence, and Chemistry that Create Effective Culture.”
- First, these forums are critical to educating small and mid-sized business owners – who account for 80 percent of HIA-LI members – with best practices from other companies and organizations who have gone through the growing pains that they are likely going through.
- Second, before anything else, character is critical. You want to surround yourself with employees who have the values, work ethic, and dedication needed for success.
- Third, when interviewing potential employees, ask questions that help bring out character. Questions such as: Where have you volunteered? What is your life mantra?
My sincere thanks to Task Force Chair Rita DiStefano, Director of Human Resource Consulting for Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, for another successful and well-attended forum, which was held at Simplay Entertainment. Rita, along with Task Force members Sue Gubing, Joe Garofalo, Allan Lippolis, Elana Zolfo, and AnnMarie Scheidt put together a sterling lineup of panelists:
- Rev. Joe Garofalo, Moderator, Outreach Pastor, Island Christian Church
- James M. Black, II, Partner, Chairman of the Government Contracts and Compliance Group, Silverman Acampora, LLP
- Sal Ferro, President and CEO, Alure Home Improvements
- Karen Frank, Executive Vice President, Omnicom
- Robert Quarte, CPA, Managing Partner, AVZ & Co., P.C.
Because small businesses don’t often have the bandwidth and staff found at larger organizations, HIA-LI’s Small Business Task Force was created to boost engagement with Long Island’s small business community. It does that by listening to their needs and addressing issues with concrete, proven solutions.
Since its inception the Task Force has identified three major areas that small businesses find challenging:
- Personnel: Finding, training, and retaining talented employees.
- Business Development: Creating new and innovative revenue streams.
- Financing: Gaining access to capital in order to have adequate funds to grow.
To address these concerns, the Small Business Task Force began holding Open Forums with the goal of providing continuous support and information for members. Previous topics have covered how to attract and retain the millennial workforce, how to create a positive and attractive work culture, how to be a leader, and more. The Task Force will continue to support businesses, address their concerns, and find solutions.