Empire, Inc. works with a diverse portfolio of Fortune 500 Clients. As a promotional marketing consulting firm, Empire is hired to work with client account holders to acquire and retain business. Through marketing, sales management and campaign support, Empire currently helps clients increase their Chicago area market share, with plans to expand nationally in the upcoming months.
Empire’s main client is a retail division of the leading wholesale energy marketer and energy service provider. They focus on the physical natural gas, electricity, coal and crude markets operating across North America. The client provides competitive electricity and gas supply to retail residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The client offers several plans to fit each customer’s needs. At Empire, representatives work closely with client account holders to the best solution to their business and consumer needs.
The new ten page website includes information for customers, new and potential clients as well as current and future employees. On the home page, users can view Empire’s Mission Statement, access links to what the company is about as well as view direct feed to the Empire’s up to date Facebook stream.
Under About the Company, viewers get access to Careers, Clients and Services as well as live access to Empire’s blog. On the Careers page, one can find information about open positions, employee benefits, as well as employee culture.
On the Team page, the website displays the management staff at Empire complete with pictures and bios. The Our Culture section of the website gives a photo gallery of the staff at various company functions.
Empire also prides itself on giving back to the community. As explained by Mark Chern, President of Empire, “I wanted to make sure we were providing an environment where people would be satisfied with their career and know they were making a difference in the community as well. I am proud of how our team has stepped up in that area and I am excited to continue the philanthropic efforts as we grow.” The charities Empire has worked, found on the Community Involvement page, include Operation Smile, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Feed The Hungry Foundation, and St. Baldricks Foundation.
At the top of each page, one can find access to several social media sites to keep up with the latest about Empire. Empire uses these sites to give employee recognitions, to inform of company events as well as provide its employees with educational articles about business and leadership.
Empire expects to expand to multiple locations this year, according to Chern. Through the website and social media, Empire will be keeping the public informed as they grow.
One former senior level political appointee, Linda Springer, recently observed that a common set of successful characteristics of private sector leaders – being decisive, directive, and a risk taker – could actually undermine success in the public sector. So what works best in the public sector?
Here are seven characteristics the most successful government leaders share:
Characteristic 1: Self-awareness.
Taking the Myers-Briggs personality test is only a start! The Emotional Intelligence Quotient, popularized by Daniel Goldman, and Marcus Buckingham’s command to draw on your inner strengths, are also important ways to begin understanding yourself. One of the best pieces of advice I received was to never blame someone else, or the circumstances, for your failures, but rather to analyze what I did or didn’t do to allow the failure to happen.
Characteristic 2: Authenticity.
Look at any leader you admire. One of the traits you’ll likely see is their ability to empathize and connect with colleagues. Many of the most successful leaders share their personal vulnerabilities and lead with their heart as well as their head. Being passionate about your work and agency’s mission can be part of this and is closely tied to the next three characteristics…
Characteristic 3: Reputation.
Would you follow someone you knew had little to no knowledge of your agency’s mission or policy domain? This can often be the case when political appointees take charge of an agency. Having the right professional skills and credibility in the eyes of your peers, employees, and stakeholders is an important element for effective leadership. Yet, there are ways the uninitiated can succeed – just look at Charles Rossetti’s leadership of the IRS in the 1990s. He was the first non-tax lawyer to head the agency and led a successful turnaround. But it’s rare. Just look at the “heck of a job” done by past leaders of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and how their reputations colored their leadership…
Characteristic 4: Ethical behavior.
It’s a question you wouldn’t think you have to ask—but you do: Can your employees, and those for whom you work, trust you to do the right thing? The best leaders solicit feedback from those above and below them in the chain of command, always seeking to establish trust and, as a result, the ethical standards for individuals and the organization.
Characteristic 5: Willingness to listen.
Listening is a skill (a skill not easily mastered). It is more than just hearing someone else talk, it is a casting aside of the ego to allow oneself to sincerely care about what another has to say. Virtually all of the most senior leaders I’ve met are master listeners (and, by extension, learners). Fortunately for all you talkers, there are plenty of training resources on this topic.
Characteristic 6: Ability to communicate.
Creating effective ways to communicate your vision — directly, through incentives or through symbolic acts – can be one of the most powerful elements of getting action on key priorities. The Reinventing Government effort in the 1990s, led by Vice President Al Gore, relied not only on his speeches at events but also a set of principles. He got people to adopt these principles by sponsoring an award for teams of feds who lived up to these ideals. He called it the Hammer Award, named so to symbolize the breaking down of bureaucracy. It became a powerful symbol that communicated his vision to the front lines of government.
Characteristic 7: Optimism.
A “can do” positive outlook – even in the face of immense challenge – is often a defining characteristic of a good leader. I used to work at the Government Accountability Office, so I didn’t come by this characteristic naturally. But with constant urging from a wonderful leader at the National Performance Review, Bob Stone, I learned the value and power of optimism. He was perennially optimistic about everything and seemed to be generally right. In fact, he called himself “energizer in chief,” adopting the Energizer Bunny as his spirit animal. With this philosophy, things I thought were not possible actually happened, oftentimes because we started from the premise that they could!
I’m sure there are more key characteristics but this is a start. Feel free to offer your suggestions in the comments below!
In research released by the National Business Awards, UK employees and bosses were found to view strong leadership as the most important influence on business success.
90 percent of individuals surveyed said that the most important influence on the success of an organisation was good leadership.
Over 80% of employees agree that having a good leader will have an impact on their own career progression, and they also believe that having a good boss inspires greater loyalty and motivation in them.
The research also revealed that bosses views of their leadership qualities varied from that of employees, with 86 percent of bosses thinking they display good leadership, compared to only a third of workers viewing their leader as being good.
National Business Awards Chair of Judges, Dame Helen Alexander, said: “Leadership is important for every business. Good leadership can inspire a team and therefore the whole organisation.”
“The research shows the importance of strong leadership to employees, with leaders themselves also appreciating how vital it is to success. It’s interesting to see that individual employees are motivated by their own success, but bosses see that success as a way of gaining for the whole business.”
The full white paper can be found at http://www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk
Empire wants to recognize our outstanding team members:
By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV Producer
3BD6F4BOSTON (CBS) – Workplace diversity is often seen as an issue of fairness, but during this Black History Month, WBZ-TV talked to one Boston community and business leader who argues that diversity is crucial to business success in this global economy.
Carol Fulp leads The Partnership, an organization dedicated to developing professionals of color and nurturing future leaders.
“From a business perspective, you need individuals in your organization who look like your entire market in order to market to them,” said Fulp.
Fulp just crystallized the goal of The Partnership.
“We want to make sure that professionals of color have the leadership development they need to succeed,” she said.
For 25 years, The Partnership has done that with programs that attract, train and retain some of the best and brightest. First Lady Diane Patrick is an early graduate, and so is the state’s new interim Senator.
“We’re most proud that Mo Cowan is of the class of 1996,” said Fulp.
Fulp herself was on the short list for the interim senate job because her resume is long and deep.
President Obama even named her a special representative to the United Nations at the beginning of his first term.
She is a nationally recognized business and civic leader and a woman with a profound mission.
“I’m a child of the Civil Rights movement. Were it not for the Civil Rights movement, I would not be here today. And it really is my responsibility to open the doors for others,” she said.
Rahim Rajpar, who works at John Hancock Financial Services, has been in a partnership program called the Next Generation Executive for about 6 months.
“At the heart of it, it is all about training people how to be better executives,” he said. “My favorite thing about Carol is, when you talk to her, she gives you 120 percent. You feel like her whole world is you in that moment, and that’s a very special quality.”
“This is a global market and in order for us to truly be innovative we have to have different opinions, different people at the table,” said Fulp.
And she takes with her an inspiring perspective.
“Rosa sat so that Martin could march and Martin marched so that Barack could run. And Barack ran so that all… all of our children could fly. And that’s America,” she said.
The Partnership works with people who are at the entry level, mid-career and executive level. Over the past 25 years nearly 3000 people have participated in the leadership development programs.
With 28 million small businesses in the U.S., it’s hard to be a member of planet earth and not have a personal connection to small business. Small businesses play a critical role in the economy, making them a hot topic of discussion.
What’s the problem if everyone is talking about small business?
The problem is this: Small business means different things to different people.
Small businesses come in many shapes and sizes. If you’re a solopreneur, you have different needs and challenges than a business with 10 employees. And you have widely different needs and challenges from a 100 person company.
What I’ve discovered in working with thousands of small businesses for the last decade is that there are seven stages of small business success. It’s important to remember you can have success at any of the seven stages. The goal of the seven stages is to help you articulate which stage your small business is in and the success factor you need to focus on. Having this focus helps you make intentional decisions about where you want to be in the future.
7 Stages of Small Business Success
Of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S., 22 million of them are solopreneurs. In this stage, businesses have one employee and bring in $100,000 or less in annual sales. The success factor for the solopreneur is time. Ask any small business owner and you’ll hear that there isn’t enough time in the day.
Handling every part of the business, from finances to sales and marketing to everything in between, is a dizzying cycle that can ensnare even the best multitaskers. A shortage of time butting up against the ever growing to-do list can detonate the solopreneur’s chance of success.
The key to thriving in this stage is to establish a meticulous time management system. Devote the largest pieces of your time to what actually makes the business grow. Don’t forget to carve out time to take care of yourself, to be with your family and to remember why you actually became an entrepreneur in the first place.
You’ll stretch yourself thin, but you’ll at least stay sane while in this stage.
Partnerships comprise 1.7 million businesses across America and make somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000 annually in sales. The solopreneur grows beyond him or herself to two or three employees in this stage, which usually means bringing on a partner. There’s great value in strategic partnerships and they can really ramp up your business’ growth.
But, there’s a flip side to everything. The wrong partner can stunt your company’s growth and cripple its path to success. Start by evaluating your own weaknesses. If you lack financial know-how, find a partner who is passionate about projections and balance sheets. If your instincts are to act as a manager, a visionary entrepreneur that dreams big might be what you need. There’s not always a perfect yin to your yang, but look at each potential partner as an entire package.
Having partners in place allows you time to harness the main success factor at this stage– sales. It’s a bit uncomfortable for many entrepreneurial types to sell, but you have to get new customers to survive. You have to figure out how to talk about your product in a way that speaks to the benefits your customers need.
There’s no one in the world who’s more passionate than you about your product or service. So get over your fears and start selling.
As your business steadies, you will reach this stage in which 1.9 million businesses also reside. A steady operation has four to 10 employees and annual sales of $300,000 to $1 million. Once your business has the sales operation running, you’ll need to get focused on marketing and service. It’s essential to get a plan in place to make marketing systematic and profitable for the business.
As a small business, you can’t afford to have marketing efforts not generating revenue. Learn to make smart marketing decisions that help you grow sales and keep customers.
Customer service is also something to focus heavily on at this stage. Invest in the people and systems that make your customers feel like VIPs and you’ll end up with a boost in repeat sales, referrals and a higher customer retention rate.
Local Success Story
There are 900,000 businesses nationwide that are local success stories and have between 11 to 25 employees. As your business grows from $1 million in annual sales up to the $5 million mark, the big picture must be at the forefront of your mind.
The success factor at this stage is setting the vision. You face the reality that you won’t always have a hand in hiring and you have to trust the people in charge of these decisions. It’s intimidating for an entrepreneur to relinquish the control he/she had over every detail of the business. But setting your vision and making it known to your team will go a long way. A clear vision will attract the right people to your business.
As your business expands into this phase, you will begin to be viewed as a success story in your local community. The growth of your company will be an inspiration to other small businesses in your area.
Your example of setting the vision and letting go will be an important model that others will follow.
In this stage, your business has expanded to between 26 and 100 employees and annual sales from $5 million to $20 million. There are 200,000 businesses like this across America and the success factor of hiring in line with your vision will set companies in this stage apart.
Most CEOs feel that when they get to this level, all the focus needs to be on shareholders. If this is true, then you must turn your attention to employees and the company culture. Happy employees make happy customers who make happy shareholders.
Culture is what holds managed organizations together. Culture attracts the right people, ejects the wrong ones and ultimately guides a company’s path to success. Actively including every employee, regardless of rank and title, in the direction of your company will make your entire workforce feel invested in the business.
This can be a difficult stage as you add more layers of management. The wrong leaders will dilute and weaken your culture. Be sure to establish core values and a mission that can be shared among staff and valued from top to bottom. Employees will feel mutual respect and a culture they can’t resist.
This, combined with the processes you’ve already put in place will move your company forward like a machine.
You’ve reached a place of substantial success to the tune of annual sales between $20 million and $40 million. You now have 100 to 200 employees and you’re in the same stage as 60,000 other businesses. You’ve become a stronghold in your industry. It’s time to unleash the success factor of strategic planning and mix in concrete performance measuring tactics. Without solid planning, your company will become stagnant and that’s when it becomes vulnerable.
Revisit your strategic direction and gauge its effectiveness often. If you notice a dip in progress, it may be time to reevaluate your strategy. The pulse of a mature company should be checked regularly.
A healthy culture combined with a strong strategic planning process will allow you to move into the rare space of corporate player.
As the business escalates to annual sales between $40 million and $100 million and anywhere from 201 to 500 employees, entrepreneurs must make the terrifying decision to surrender even more control. There are 30,000 companies in the nation at this stage and the leaders of these companies have to make some tough choices. The vision is still yours (mostly), and the company is still yours (maybe), but the time comes to handpick a leadership team you can trust.
The success factor for this stage is leadership development and you must choose and develop leaders who share your vision and are every bit as determined to preserve your culture as you are. These leaders should be ethical beyond reproach, treat every member of your team with respect and exude their commitment to the business and its core values in their daily actions.
You want to trust the business is in good hands.
Every one of these seven stages is incredibly distinct and it is possible to achieve success in each one. Stop where you’re comfortable. Keep in mind that people are what make or break your business. Small businesses have needs of their own that cannot be sated in the same ways those of large corporations can. Small business owners must take the time to recognize which stage of success their business is situated in and act accordingly.
Success is in the eye of the beholder, but success factors can take you there.