Our CEO Filomena Fanelli hosted a wonderful weekly show on Hudson Valley News Network called Business Newsmakers. Sponsored by our client Tompkins Mahopac Bank, the business executives who appeared on the show offered some very valuable insights and emerging trends in launching new ventures, growing one’s small business and striking the ideal work-life balance.
Here are some key takeaways:
Joseph Bonura, Jr., Managing Partner at Bonura Hospitality Group, discussed everything from growth to risk, working hours, managing 1,200 employees, and launching the Group’s building project, a $25-million-dollar Poughkeepsie waterfront improvement, offered that:
- Restaurants and hospitality concepts should renovate/reinvent once a decade, before profits begin to drop.
- Business decisions should be “half homework and half ‘gut-feel’”. Think them through and do your research, but also feel good about them.
- Know what you don’t know and seek mentors for guidance.
Chuck Benfer, Market President of iHeart Media in the Hudson Valley and Tri-State Region, shared knowledge on growth, risk, self-development, and managing 100 employees, including:
- “You have to be willing to hire people who are smarter than you and let them do their jobs.”
- Read The One-Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.
- Don’t “jump over dollars to pick up nickels.” Stay focused on the long-term and what’s important.
- “Every business should be prepared to be sold in five years.”
Yuwen Chen, Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee, who, along with his brother, owns 14 shops in Dutchess County, said:
- Sometimes growth is a defensive move. If you don’t do it, someone else might.
- Build culture by being hands-on in the business every day.
- “Keep an even keel; keep a level head. Things are often not as bad or good as they seem.”
Paula Young, owner of Paula’s Public House in Poughkeepsie addressed strengths and challenges in the restaurant business, such as:
- People want to be heard and feel important. Use opportunities in your business to make them feel special and heard.
- To would-be entrepreneurs, “Have at least one year’s worth of money to carry yourself. If you’re cash poor, don’t do it. Always err on the side of extra money, not less.”
- “People who volunteer are the good guys.” Work with those who give back.
Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley and owner of the semi-pro soccer club, the Kingston Stockade, said:
- Tune out the naysayers and be willing to try something new.
- Don’t be afraid to have a “side hustle” building a new venture while you have a job or another business.
- To grow, sometimes companies need new leadership—know when to step aside and bring in a new person.
Ryan Parsons, Chief Solutionist for The Brothers That Just Do Gutters, a small local business that grew and spread nationally when the Brothers “nailed it and scaled it,” spoke of the importance to:
- Build a culture of continuing education into your business by reading.
- Ask questions and learn from those around you.
- Not being afraid to fail. Keep trying until you succeed.
Food Network TV series Cut Throat Kitchen winner Erica Mahlkuch, Co-Owner of Yum Yum Noodle Bar, shared the following insights:
- Make sure you are up-to-date with labor & employment laws.
- Training is key for consistency across the board.
- Research the competition to stay on-trend and get new ideas.
Jeffrey Feldman, Founding Partner of Feldman Kleidman Coffey Sappe & Regenbaum LLP, who has practiced personal injury and medical malpractice for nearly 32 years, discussed finding work-life balance, working with other businesses, giving back, communicating openly and more, including:
- Play as hard as you work. Put in the time to get the job done, but when you have a chance to blow off steam, take it.
- Give back, as you can. “As we’ve grown, our ability to give back has increased. All my partners have bought into that and we definitely try to help people that have been less fortunate than us.”
- Take a team approach. “Everybody is as important as the next person and everybody is treated as though they are on an equal plane.”
If you find such advice of value, you can find additional episodes on YouTube.