By Rob Driscoll
They say with every crisis comes opportunity . . . particularly when you are an optimist like me.
So when Business Edge went through a rough period coinciding with the economic slowdown in the second half of 2008 and stretching over the next three years, I was forced to go back to the drawing board in many areas of the business.
One critical area to address was staffing. Following two ownership changes, I had to start from scratch and build a new team.
Under my new business plan, I needed to keep payroll costs very low while assembling a group that could consistently produce a top-notch publication.
As is the case with most publications, advertising sales are the lifeblood of Business Edge. In order to thrive, we needed to provide great advertising value. That means having strong distribution and fantastic editorial.
So we added some key markets to our distribution and then I went to the obvious place to find a great editor: the beach volleyball court. That is where I met Megan Butler, who thankfully was between jobs.
Now I am pretty sure she is the most organized editor in the business. She is a seasoned pro with the English language yet doesn’t seem to know the meaning of procrastination.
She handles a hefty editing and production workload gracefully while maintaining strong ties with our incredibly talented network of freelancers that includes best-selling authors Tom Keyser, Norman Leach and Bill Capodagli, renowned futurist Dr. Tom Keenan, Mark Wardell and humorist extraordinaire Cassius King (say it slowly and then guess if it is a pseudonym).
Proofreading whiz Tony Wells was also recruited through beach volleyball, the sport in which he is a two-time national champion.
Writer/copy editor/social media manager Diandra Good is another key member of our team. I recruited Diandra at another bastion of media talent: Earls Restaurants. While serving lunch to my good friend/advertiser Eric Watson and me, she displayed the highest level of customer service and a great sense of humour, and therefore a great fit to work at Business Edge. She even had editorial experience in the fashion industry.
Well-run restaurants do a terrific job training people for their serving jobs as well as for those of us in other industries who appreciate an emphasis on customer service and teamwork.
My hard-working and loyal part-time assistant and circulation co-ordinator McKinnley Prince unwittingly applied for work at Business Edge by consistently delivering great service (and cold beer) to my senior men’s basketball team after our Monday night games. In her two years at Business Edge, McKinnley has never caused me an instant of concern as she carries out myriad critical duties.
The newest member of the Edge team, director of sales Breanna Sudfeld, was “discovered” at 1410 World Bier Haus (I swear I am not an alcoholic!) while I met with a good friend and business associate. With five years of management experience in the food and beverage industry, Breanna understands how to sell while ensuring that the customer is happy with the experience.
Anybody with an advertising budget will have great difficulty saying no to her infectious smile.
Contractors Jennifer Derouin (bookkeeping) and Carrie Poyser (ad design) came to Business Edge via more traditional routes – referral from a friend and connecting through a customer, respectively – but boast the crucial traits shared by every member of our tight-knit team: reliable, talented, dedicated and fun-loving.
If anyone is interested in applying for work at Business Edge, please . . . don’t bother. :-)