LED, LSBDC, and other partners push CEOs to think next level

Getting an already established business to find new success can prove challenging. However, the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Small Business Services (SBS) group has found a solution. LED created and sponsored an Executive Roundtable program in a collaborative effort with specific stakeholders, including the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC), to help second-stage businesses reach the next mark in their company.

The CEO Roundtable Initiative provides a structured and confidential environment for executives to share best practices and resolve their business challenges. Members learn to make better decisions, improve communication skills and build valuable relationships.  The program’s target is to reach a good mix of people in non-competing industries.

The Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), a group that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, facilitates the program in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and Cohab, a hub for creative business, facilitates the program in Shreveport.

A typical meeting could include discussion on managing growth, finding and retaining top talent, enhancing compensation programs, health care costs or retirement plans.

LED and LSBDC together play major roles in the Roundtable discussions, with the LSBDC’s Scott Uffman bringing experience from the Ready Supply Program, a high-level consulting program, and LED’s Economic Gardening Initiative, which provides high-level strategic research to eligible second-stage growth companies. .

“It’s just another way for us to help grow second-stage businesses,” Uffman said. “LED and partners innovate ways to get companies to the next level and it’s a compliment to LED’s Economic Gardening Initiative.” The Ready Supplier Program offered by LSBDC starts with a very candid conversation with business owners and addresses vision and any obstacles a business may face. One common theme is that owners want to become High Performance Sales Organizations and they need market information to determine direction and consulting to help with strategy and execution.

“The Roundtable gets the CEOs to ponder and think about where they want to be and work on them from a leadership perspective,” Uffman said. “It gives the CEOs a success plan internally.”

The program is completely funded by LED.  In June, the 2014-2015 CEO Roundtable Initiative in New Orleans graduated 13 CEOs, which included nine being LSBDC clients. The program has kicked off its first class of CEOs this month in Baton Rouge and Shreveport, and its second class is underway in New Orleans.

The facilitators run the CEOs through a needs assessment to determine where their business weakness is and they form the curriculum around that and guide them through their own discussions making sure they are able to collectively address the needs of each other and themselves.

For more information on the CEO roundtable contact LSBDC’s Scott Uffman at suffman@lsbdc.org or LED’s Chris Cassagne at Christopher.cassagne@la.gov.

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The Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, hosted by Louisiana Delta Community College, is a member of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers and funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and participating universities. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
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