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Jam Media’s Biggest Lessons And How To Chase Growth The Right Way

While it’s every start-up’s aim to focus on growth, there can be pitfalls to chasing growth too quickly. Jess Mouneimne explains how she learnt the cost of a bad hire the hard way.

Nadine Todd

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  • Player: Jess Mouneimne
  • Company: Jam Media
  • Launched: 2013
  • What they do: Communication and brand development solutions
  • Visit: jammedia.co.za

What is one of the biggest growth lessons that you’ve learnt through Jam Media?

I absolutely think you can chase growth too quickly. You may think achieving a certain turnover target is possible through one or two simple moves. For us it was hiring a bigger team. I went through this process in 2014, thinking that quickly expanding my team would open up capacity to deliver to more clients.

I rushed into hiring and even though I thought I went through a thorough recruitment process, my new team members came and left within three months. They were integrated poorly into the rest of the team and I had not put the correct systems in place to manage a larger team.

Related: View Every Interaction Through your Brand Lens – It’s Significant Believes Kate Moodley

When did the poor hires become noticeable?

Poor hires aren’t always immediately noticeable. The individuals I hired were quickly accepted by our clients as their account managers. There was something I had liked in them, and our clients responded to this as well.

Unfortunately, while they were great with clients, they couldn’t meet deadlines and didn’t comprehend the work properly. When they suddenly left, there was a vacuum, leaving clients feeling uncared for.

When clients are shunted around from account manager to account manager and team members come and go, the result is a lack of trust that you have to work hard to win back.

How have your processes changed as a result of this lesson?

jess-mouneimne-jam-media

I have always known that I tend to be enamoured with people for the most random reasons. I’ve hired people in the past because they had grit or they were a friend, instead of how well they suited the position or the company culture.

I realised that I was too empathetic for my business’s own good, and that I needed an HR professional to assist in hiring.

This gave me a second opinion in all my hires. Unfortunately, I didn’t always listen to the advice I was given, and because we were growing fast I was in a rush and didn’t check references well enough.

I have also learnt that I tend to hire personalities very similar to mine, which is not what my business needs. I don’t believe there’s a magic recipe for hiring — it’s always a gamble — but if you take your time and do multiple interviews, you have a better chance of getting to the core of the candidate and finding the right fit for your business.

Related: Kay Vittee’s 3 Steps To Winning The Talent War

How did you resolve the situation and cultivate good client relationships as a result?

When it happened to us, I had to be honest, explain the situation and why it had happened and assure our clients that I would personally oversee their accounts until we found a suitable account manager.

My longstanding clients stuck with me and one or two who did not know our history chose to part ways with us. It was a rough time and the losses stung. Not only did I suffer the financial loss of the bad hires and time invested in them, but I lost turnover as well. I learnt a valuable lesson in hiring and growth. Staff are integral to your organisation’s success, and finding the right employees takes time and planning.

You need buy-in from the rest of your team as well. I now get as many team members as possible to weigh in on hiring choices so that there is support and accountability; I do multiple interviews and I check references thoroughly.

Related: Where Others Have Failed To Execute Prudence Spratt Have Hit The Sweet Spot

Do This

Growth requires a team, but rather take longer to find the right people than make bad hires who cost you money and just end up leaving anyway.

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

Lessons Learnt

Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business

Throughout the year, the Virgin co-founder shared what he thinks are the essential elements to success.

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If there’s one thing Richard Branson knows, it’s how to run a successful business.

Throughout last year, the Virgin founder shared what he thinks are the keys ingredients to building a successful company with each letter of the alphabet, which he slowly revealed through the 365 days.

From A for attitude to N for naivety to Z for ZZZ, check out Branson’s ABCs of success.

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Lessons Learnt

How Reflexively Apologising For Everything All The Time Undermines Your Career

How can you inspire confidence if you are constantly saying you’re sorry for doing your job?

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I’m one of those weird people who gets excited about performance reviews. I like getting feedback and understanding how I can improve. A few years ago, I sat down for my first annual review as the director of communications for the Florida secretary of state, under the governor of Florida.

I had a great relationship with my chief of staff, but I had taken on a major challenge when I accepted the job a year prior. I didn’t really know what to expect.

Youth takes charge

I was 25 at the time, and everyone on my team was in their thirties and forties. I came from Washington, D.C., and was an outsider to my southern colleagues. I was asking a lot from people who had been used to very different expectations from their supervisor.

I sat down with my chief of staff who gave me some feedback about the challenges I had tackled.

She then paused and said to me, very directly,”But you have to stop apologising. You must stop saying sorry for doing your job.”

Related: 8 Valuable And Inspirational Web Series You Should Check Out

I didn’t know what to say. My reflex was to reply sheepishly, “Umm, I’m sorry?” But instead I immediately decided to be more cognisant of how often I said I was sorry. Years later, her words have stuck with me. I have what some may consider the classic female disease of apologising. When the New York Times addressed it, five of my friends and past coworkers sent it to me.

In it, writer Sloane Crosley got to the heart of the issue:

“To me, they sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic. They are employed when a situation is so clearly not our fault that we think the apology will serve as a prompt for the person who should be apologising.”

Topic of debate

I’ve talked at length with other women trying to figure out this fine balance. The Washington PostTime, and Cosmopolitan have all tackled this topic. Some say it’s OK to apologise; others criticise those who are criticising women who apologise. Clearly, I’m not alone in dealing with this issue. In fact, I’m constantly telling the people I manage that by apologising they give up a lot of their power.

Related: Want To Feel Empowered? Check Out These 17 Quotes From Successful Entrepreneurs And Leaders

Here’s the bottom line: Don’t apologise for doing your job.

If you’re following up with a coworker about something they said they’d get to you earlier, don’t say, “Sorry to bug you!” If you want to share your thoughts in a meeting, don’t start off by saying, “Sorry, I just want to add…” If you’re doing your job, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.

That’s what I think. And I’m not even sorry about it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell

If you’re in need of a little motivation, check out these quotes from Dell’s CEO, founder and chairman.

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There’s much to learn from one of the computer industry’s longest tenured CEOs and founders, Michael Dell. As an integral part of the computer revolution in the 1980s, Dell launched Dell Computer Corporation from his dorm room at the University of Texas. And it didn’t take Dell long before he’d launched one of the most successful computer companies. Indeed, by 1992 Dell was the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company.

Dell’s success had been long foreshadowed. When he was 15, Dell showed great interest in technology, purchasing an early version of an Apple computer, only so he could take it apart and see how it was built. And once he got to college, Dell noticed a gap in the market for computers: There were no companies that were selling directly to consumers. So, he decided to cut out the middleman and began building and selling computers directly to his classmates. Before long, he dropped out of school officially to pursue Dell.

Fast forward to today. Dell is not only a tech genius and businessman, but a bestselling author, investor and philanthropist, with a networth of $24.7 billion. He continues his role as the CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies, making him one of the longest tenured CEOs in the computer industry.

So if you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration, take it from Dell.

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