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 Shelby Rideout, Founder and CEO at Bright Signs Learning:
What does your company do?
Bright Signs Learning is a children's educational company that helps teach kids to read at a young age. The program introduces early reading concepts through fun videos and flashcards that help children as young as six months old develop reading skills and the ability to communicate through sign language. Beginning first with just a few videos filmed out of a basement home studio, Bright Signs Learning has evolved into a trusted and award-winning educational program used by parents across the United States.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am the founder and CEO of Bright Signs Learning. I first created the program as a way to teach my own children to read and use sign language, drawing from my background in children's education and sign language interpreting. Watching my kids interact with the program and develop not only the ability to read but a joy for books filled me with so much happiness. Now, with the program having reached hundreds and hundreds of parents and their children, I feel very lucky to be able to share this love for reading, and often a new found confidence, with so many kids.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
When we created our product, DVDs were still the most popular means of consuming video. As streaming has started to eclipse the use of DVDs, many people no longer buy DVDs or even have DVD players. This is a real challenge for us as a company. While we have made a significant investment in producing and packaging a product centered around DVD technology, we are now shifting that investment towards streaming options for our customers. This is a good reminder that all companies, not just technology companies, are influenced by shifts in technology. To survive and thrive, companies must be attuned to such shifts.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
We have been fortunate in that we haven’t made too many mistakes in our young business. However, I would tell my younger self, as well as others growing a new business, to take your time when it comes to growing your team. While it can seem “easier” to hire quickly to get more done, it’s far better to be very selective and thoughtful when adding a new member to your team. Don’t let the excitement of growth overshadow the importance of taking the necessary time to evaluate new team members closely. This will take more time at the outset, but will save countless hours and headache in the long run.