Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Crista Bailey, CEO at Andrew Harper:
What does your company do?
Andrew Harper is a luxury travel publisher with an unwavering 39-year-old editorial standard – to travel anonymously and pay full rates for all travel-related expenses. This model allows us to do what no other travel brand does today: Publish recommendations and reviews of the top 1,000 hideaways across the globe with an unyielding commitment to independence and objectivity. In 2017, Andrew Harper editors flew more than 125,000 miles, visited 16 countries and stayed in nearly 150 hotels. We service a growing membership of individuals who pay for access to our first-hand travel experiences and content, and who ultimately plan and embark on transformative trips because they are inspired and informed by our travel stories.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am the CEO, and I joined Andrew Harper 10 months ago after working with a media and commerce social platform in the beauty space for nine years. I am learning about an entirely different industry and revenue model, and I enjoy learning! I also appreciate actively working alongside a team who is just as passionate about changing the current business paradigm as they are about travel. It’s rewarding to be at a place in my career where I can help foster a working environment that empowers every single teammate to share and initiate properly vetted ideas that could help to transform us as a company. Back to that business paradigm, I enjoy leading the transformation of an established four-decade-old brand into a growth startup. And, the topic of travel itself is highly interesting, if not distracting at times (lots of pretty photos).
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Continuing to build a brand into a growth startup in the digital space – in a world where travel content is accessible and prolific. Andrew Harper started in 1979 as a print publication, and much of the company was built around “print first”.
We’re making moves to become a digital first offering to a broader base of membership – while remaining #1 in the hearts and minds of our loyal membership base, many of whom have been an Andrew Harper member for more than a decade. Change, with a brand like ours, does not come quickly, so it’s important for us to create milestones along the way to validate that we are moving forward.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
1. Practice empathy.
2. Give the space between questions and answers some breathing room. Listen. Validate. Respond.
3. Less email, more thoughtfulness about big-picture business challenges and opportunities.
4. Be acutely aware of when you are learning (keep it up) and when you are not (time for change).
5. Don’t take people, things or yourself too seriously.