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 Jeb Ory, CEO at Phone2Action:
What does your company do?
Phone2Action is the nation's leading provider of software for public affairs campaigns. The Phone2Action platform makes it simple for organizations to create advocacy campaigns that connect their supporters and employees to elected officials so they can effectively advocate for policies and change. Advocates send more than 25 messages to lawmakers every minute of every day through the Phone2Action platform. The company is based in Arlington, Virginia and was founded in 2012 by myself and Ximena Hartsock.
Question #2 -
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am the CEO of Phone2Action. I have a great job because I get to work with people passionate about civic engagement. I am a news junkie, so getting to work with causes and issues that are on the front page of the newspaper every day is a source of constant excitement. We attract people interested in world affairs and civic engagement, people that enjoy working on some of the most important issues of our time. Last year we extending three days of leave for civic engagement related activities to our employees. If an employee wants to take time off to work on a campaign, volunteer, or support a city after a disaster, they can do it. Being able to share our values that way is a great part of the job, too.
Question #3 -
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Our current challenge is finding great people with the right skill sets to help push the business to new heights. Advocacy is very much mainstream, so it's a lot easier now that it used to be to find people who want to join Phone2Action. When we founded the company, smartphones were not ubiquitous and investors used to scratch their heads when we talked about advocacy campaigns using mobile and social technology. Now, 81% of American adults have smartphones and we get dozens of inbound requests from investors each month. But the key to our growth and success comes down to talent, and finding the next generation of leaders for our business is both the biggest challenge and the greatest opportunity.
Question #4 -
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
I would remind myself that success in business is a marathon, not a sprint. Over time I have gotten better at balancing short-term needs (the urgent) with longer-term strategic planning (the important). Success doesn't happen overnight. I have made some short-term decisions that had higher longer-term costs that I might have treated differently with a longer-term view. Now, in my fifth year at Phone2Action, I am better at analyzing short and long-term benefits and trade-offs.