You asked for it and we listened. In this column, we ask operators of all sizes and from all walks of the industry a question about their business and report their answers so you can assess how your own company compares to your peers. If you would like to participate, please email Rob Smentek at firstname.lastname@example.org for next issue’s question.
TOPIC: Tell us your New Year’s resolutions, both professional and personal. How are you planning to keep your goals on track?
In 2019, the Cooper Global resolutions are to get staff more involved with ideas, set realistic goals to achieve or exceed, and drop what is not working and move on. My personal business resolution is to get a closer relationship with our clients, vendors, and partners, while innovating the way to engage with them and make myself available. I also hope to communicate better, grow our revenue, and delegate more. Further, I want to encourage my employees more and help them reach their fullest potentials, so that we all will be growing in 2019.
My personal goals are to spend more time with my family and kids, and to travel more with family.
We write our business resolutions down and keep track of them. Make yourself accountable for what you achieve or did not achieve, and let your staff know. Believe in yourself.
Johan DeLeeuw, President
Cooper Global Chauffeured Transportation in Atlanta, Ga.
My personal resolution is to try to unplug more from all my devices—iPhone, iPad, computer, etc. While I want to be responsive to work, it is also important for my personal life to be present in the moment when I’m away from work. Plus, I want to stay off my iPad/iPhone after 9pm so I can wind down more effectively for sleep.
My professional resolution is similar: I am trying to get everyone to stay off their phones while in meetings and be present. In our conference room I added a fidget box of small toys and put on it this note “Stay off your phone as you are not that important. Fidget with these instead!” We have a good team backing up everyone so when we have meetings we can all be more present.
Kim J. Dolniak, Co-owner
BEST Transportation Chauffeured Services in St. Louis, Mo.
My professional goals for 2019 include improving staff performance, growing the BBZ wedding brand, making a strong sales pipeline, and growing both inbound and outbound affiliate work. Personally, I hope to improve my work/life balance as far as time management, and of course eat healthier and exercise more.
My way to keep on track is to write it down and make it part of a daily routine. I find it easier when I make to-do lists and adhere to a schedule.
Sam Emam, General Manager
BBZ Limousine & Livery Service in Bergenfield, N.J.
As I look into 2019, there are some key personal promises and professional benchmarks and goals I would like to make to myself and hit this year. Professionally, we have some pretty strong sales goals to hit as a company this year, and as I step into a role more grounded in marketing and business development, I will be pushing my team to hit those markers we’ve set throughout the year. Additionally, we’re moving our office before the end of Q1, so professionally I’m setting a goal to be more active in the local chamber, and to go out and meet all the business owners in our new town.
On a personal level, I have some heavy (no pun intended) goals to hit in terms of my strongman and powerlifting. I’d like to be in the 300lb club by Q3 for my deadlift, and well on my way to 250lbs for my squat. 2019 isn’t just about hitting weights, it’s about putting my health—both physical and mental—at the top of my priority list.
Also a hot tip: The top economists are predicting a coming recession, so start thinking about how you’re going to recession-proof your business and your household. Cash is king, make sure that you’re putting cash away, and living within your means. Start doing research on industries that are virtually recession-proof and think about how you or your business can get into those industries.
Robyn Goldenberg, Director of Marketing & Business Development
Strategy Leaders in Stamford, Conn.
My New Year’s resolution is to surround myself with positive like-minded friends as well as industry colleagues, and remove any toxic energy and people from my life. This is a necessary cleanse as people can just downright suck all your positive energy right out of you if you allow it.
I’m a firm believer that by removing the negatives, then I will grow and become a better version of both myself and CEO of Brevard Executive Transportation. I’ve learned that it’s OK to fire that client that you can never satisfy. I’m planning to keep my goals on track by staying focused and saying NO.
Wendy Kleefisch, CEO
Brevard Executive Transportation in Indialantic, Fla.
The new year is always an exciting time when I find myself energized and full of resolutions. The hard part is following through with them. As a busy mom, business owner, and president of our local youth boosters program, I have a full plate. I have a passion for running half-marathons; this took a back seat after my 32-year-old husband suffered a sudden cardiac arrest last February. Luckily, he survived, but I stopped training and spent the remainder of 2018 focusing on him and spending time with our family. My 2019 personal resolution is to train and run in the 2019 Flying Pig Half-Marathon and to hit a personal best of 2 hours and 5 minutes. My business goal for 2019 is to expand my corporate client base by 10 percent. I have a monthly calendar set up with tasks to complete, which will help me stay on target to keeping these goals.
Danielle Little, President
Jimmy’s Limousine Service in Cincinnati, Ohio
This year, my New Year’s resolution is to explore more technology for the business. I like to think that we keep relatively current, but I’m always seeing new options on the market for our industry. I’m going to humor the sales calls, actually read the marketing emails, and follow up with questions to hold myself accountable to this. Personally, I’d like to spend more time with my dog. I feel awful being away from her on the long days in the office or on the road, so I’m going to add a doggy bed to our office.
Jason Ramsey, President
Prestige Worldwide Transportation in Aurora, Colo.
We’ve realized that meeting our customers’ needs means that modernizing our business model is necessary to account for the changes that come with a growing demand for travel risk management. So we’re focusing less on targeting new customers and more on learning from our current clients, specifically in terms of how their requests have changed in an increasingly digitalized and globalized business world.
Digitalization gives our customers efficient ways to book and organize their trips, but the needs of highly individualized transportation can only be satisfied with intense customer care and experienced expert advice. We need to act as more of a consultant for our customers’ individual transportation needs, focusing on growing into a transportation and VIP-treatment consultant by offering services such as airport meet-and-greets, armored car, and executive protection. Also, we’re building on the stable foundation of an extremely reliable affiliate network, which helps us to be prepared even for the most challenging cases.
Changing our approach in 2019 is crucial to keeping and further developing the excellent staff that we have, too.
Ralf Rehder, Owner
Action Worldwide Limousines in Hamburg, Germany
My professional goal for this year is to learn a new field. I’m fortunate to work for The LMC Group with Kristen Carroll, and she has the ability to see our individual strengths and weaknesses. She allows us to decide what we enjoy and what we don’t, she sees the potential we often don’t see, and she has always encouraged me to evolve. This year, I will be more active in marketing and sales. I’m not a salesperson, but I am a people person, and at the end of the day, relationships drive business.
On a personal level, I plan to take my finances more seriously in 2019. I’ve always wanted to learn more about stocks, and I need to set goals to generate more passive income. I have two little girls and my favorite thing in the world is to dress them up so they can put their best foot forward and to ensure they are able to experience new things. We go on a lot of adventures together, and I’d like to keep it this way. My goal is to make my money work for me without cutting down unrealistically on the lifestyle and opportunities I envision for my kids. My work has influenced this personal goal because we don’t believe that our clients should be all work and no play. I want to teach my girls the same lesson—hard work pays off, but you don’t have to kill yourself in the process.
Aleja Seabron, Social Media Manager
The LMC Group in Manchester, N.H.
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
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