Do you have a strategy to grow your business? Without a plan, you can’t expect much to change. Discover a few best practices for business growth from Dr. Rob Harter in this episode of TechBeat.
Nexus CEO Earl Foote was joined by Dr. Rob Harter, a nonprofit professional and fellow podcaster to talk about business growth.
Dr. Harter is a nonprofit executive professional with over 27 years of experience in leading and building nonprofit organizations. He currently works as the Executive Director of Christian Center of Park City (CCPC).
“Early on, I had this sense that I should make the world a better place,” says Dr. Harter.
Dr. Harter also hosts the “Nonprofit Leadership Podcast”, is a contributing member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, and chaired the MLK Jr. Commission for Human Rights for the State of Utah, to name just a few of his professional and volunteer pursuits.
Over the course of the last decade, Dr. Harter has served as the Executive Director of CCPC, a humanitarian and community-focused nonprofit organization with a bold vision to serve as a leading networker of community services, based in Park City, Utah.
“This is an organization that seeks to serve the entire community,” says Dr. Harter. “Our goal is to serve the community, and that really matches my DNA.”
The CCPC’s goal is to provide safety net services, which they accomplish in a range of ways:
“If we didn’t have a community that gives all this assistance, and financial support and the volunteer time, we couldn’t do these programs,” says Dr. Hartner. “I feel very lucky to live in this community.”
“A well-run nonprofit has to operate like a well-run business,” says Earl.
When Dr. Harter joined CCPC, they had just nine paid staff members, and now they’re close to 70. At the same time, under Dr. Harter’s direction, their budget has grown from 1M to nearly 8M today.
“It was a family-run business,” says Dr. Hartner. “When I came, I was from outside the organization. We had to move this mom-and-pop nonprofit into a professionally managed business.”
A key part of this growth was the concept of “perfecting the basics”.
This meant improving their most fundamental operations and practices. Whether it’s the way they communicate with donors or train new volunteers, Dr. Harter and his team have worked hard to ensure that they improve in everything they do as they grow.
“All of these are things are what we’re trying to really improve because we can’t just wing it,” says Dr. Harter.
Another best practice that has helped Dr. Harter and CCPC is their annual auditing. While many business owners likely consider a third-party audit to be a nuisance, Dr. Harter knows it’s a valuable undertaking, both in nonprofit and for-profit business settings.
“I’m a big believer that you should be audited every year,” says Dr. Harter. “I think it’s gold for a nonprofit to make sure someone else is coming from outside and telling you that you’re good.”
Comprehensive auditing can help you identify key opportunities for improvement in the way you operate, and provide transparency to your business partners, clients, and other contacts.
“In the modern world, we don’t want to engage with an organization unless we understand the ethics and mechanics behind it,” says Earl.
Earl and Dr. Harter also spoke about the power of peer groups. So many business leaders isolate themselves from their colleagues and peers, thinking they have to go it alone—but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Peer groups have a lot to offer business professionals…
No matter whether a company is five months old or five decades old, each and every one of them faces significant challenges unique to their scale and industry.
That’s why a peer group with a varied and eclectic membership has so much to offer. No matter what challenge a given member may be facing, they have access to the experience and knowledge of other members of their industry on hand to provide first-hand advice.
If the buck stops with you, one part of that means that you’re the person holding everyone else on your staff accountable. You oversee and manage the productivity and efficiency of the operation—but who’s holding you accountable?
And we’re not talking about quarterly fiscal goals, or your taxes—obviously, you have governmental oversight, and a board of directors or shareholders to answer to.
What about your goals? Personal goals for professional development, or staff-wide goals for company culture. Who’s double-checking that you’re working to achieve the goals that don’t directly affect your bottom line?
How about your peers?
Peers groups offer CEOs a great way to stay focused on the goals they set, no matter what they may be. Why? Because they really understand each other. They’re not stakeholders, they’re other owners, who know the weight of employing a staff, managing their efforts, and relying on their teamwork.
While peer groups may not officially be a therapy group, in many informal ways, they offer the same benefits. The chance to vent and unload with a group of like-minded professionals that know where you’re coming from, what you deal with every day, and what you have planned for the future.
Business growth won’t happen by accident. You can learn from successful businesses and nonprofits (like CCPC) alike to determine how best to achieve the future you want for your organization.
“A good leader is a learner,” says Dr. Harter. “If you want to be a good leader, always learn from others.”
To learn more about business growth from Dr. Rob Harter, make sure to check out the complete recording of this TechBeat episode.