Small-business owners, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners.
Chris Clover, president and CEO of 3D technology developer, Mechdyne, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Mechdyne places an inordinate amount of trust in our employees. Suffice it to say, we’re very particular about who we hire. To make sure we’re getting the best of what our employees have to offer, we’ve instituted performance based incentives to individuals and teams when they excel. We also offer a profit sharing program that’s influenced by performance and peer assessments. This strategy sets higher expectations, but it also delivers higher returns.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
The best part is the satisfaction that comes every time we are able to hire someone new and make a meaningful impact in an employee’s life and the lives of his or her family.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Of course, the long work hours and time away from family and friends are always challenging, but I also feel a tremendous, yet humbling, responsibility to our employees and their families because they are depending on the success of the company.
Name: Chris Clover
Business: Mechdyne, a 3D technology developer.
Location: Marshalltown, Iowa
Year founded: 1996
Number of employees: 138
Web address: Mechdyne.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Acquiring our first company in 2003 was traumatic. Even though the company we acquired complemented our existing operation well from a products and capabilities standpoint, we overlapped each other in many capacities. We had to combine the design, manufacturing and assembly departments of two companies into one. That forced us to lay off a number of workers, which wasn’t easy. Also, the transition didn’t come quickly enough in some areas of the company. Dealing with a prolonged change became a distraction since the business required attention in other areas to continue growing.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Early on, I underestimated the importance of corporate culture. As a result, I didn’t hire people who could thrive at the company. To minimize future misjudgments, we’ve instituted extensive pre-employment screenings. If prospective employees progress through the first series of interviews, they are asked to complete written assessments, which are standardized and customized to our culture.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Hire for attitude; train for skill.
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