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 Ruth Wilson, Founder and Director of Development at Brightmont Academy:
What does your company do?
Brightmont Academy is a fully accredited private school serving students in grades 6-12. We use an innovative one-to-one instruction model that pairs one teacher with one student throughout every learning session. This gives us the ability to customize every aspect of the educational program, and to accommodate a wide variety of student needs. We currently operate 11 campuses located in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington State. Since 1999, we've helped over 4,000 students experience success.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I'm the Director of Development, which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities including overseeing all third-party contracts, marketing and public relations, admissions, and developing strategic partnerships that facilitate our growth. I most enjoy the incredible range of people I get to meet and the vibrant success stories I hear. The Brightmont model opens up educational opportunities for so many students with unusual stories, including those who had difficulties attending because of chronic illness, who pushed themselves beyond every expectation, and who secured a position on a professional athletic team and needed to alter their school year to accept the chance of a lifetime. Each life story is different, and I find it incredibly rewarding to help these teenagers achieve their dreams.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Our biggest challenge is reaching the families who need our services at the time they need us. We employ a variety of marketing campaigns to raise awareness, but the Brightmont Academy one-to-one instruction model is not something that families think of when they need to make a planned or sudden change in school placement. Every time I hear a parent express with regret that they wish they'd known about us 6 months earlier, I cringe a little knowing that I had seats available and could have served the student when it might have been more productive for both of us.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
Have tight systems. As a founder, I was focused on fulfilling a need and serving students who were unable to participate in traditional school programs, or who needed and/or wanted something different. Coming up with an innovative idea is exciting and fun and gets lots of attention, but to implement it appropriately, you definitely need good systems in place. All of the good will built up with a client vanishes if they don't receive information when they expect it or are invoiced incorrectly. Taking the time to set up reliable systems ensures that the business can deliver on its promises.