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The Best Advice for Growing in a Good Economy

Following up on our article summarizing the ELFF Economic Outlook Report for Q4 of 2018, there is clearly a lot of potential for growth in this current economy.

Where do you spend your time and money to ensure that you’ve made the best of better times?

Investing in good people

The overall strength of the economy, coupled with the emerging sectors we highlighted in our last post like Ships & Boats, Railroad Equipment, and Trucking, means that more businesses are going to look into joining the equipment finance industry. Additionally, the businesses who are already in the industry will likely look to expand and grow.

Growing companies need good systems in place to help support growth and keep businesses running efficiently. But a good system doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right people in place who can operate and maintain those systems. Hiring the right people and maintaining good employee retention can make the difference in how well a company operates.

When a company grows, there is a tendency to invest in sales people to go out and capture new business. They may even invest in a new marketing campaign designed to help spread the word about what they are doing now.

However, by implementing this strategy, companies tend to overlook the issues inherent in bringing on new business before assessing the bandwidth available for their current client load. The end result being that companies who bring on a bunch of new customers that their systems, or workforce, can’t handle are not able to keep those systems running long-term. That is why investing in good people early on should be a priority.

As our Executive Vice President and Co-Founder Randy Haug told me when we sat down to reflect on the ELFF Economic Report, growth doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right people in place to support it:

“Sometimes an organization is like, ‘Let’s grow, grow, grow, grow, grow,’ from a sales and marketing perspective, and they’re really dynamic. But, their operations are such that they can’t support that type of growth, either because they don’t know how to utilize the software they have, or they’re not willing to invest in the type of people they need to use that software effectively.”

One of the characteristics that Randy says he will look at in a new customer organization is depth in their operations people. Systems can’t run by themselves. So if there is only one person in place to run new software, what happens if that person leaves?

Good economic times are great opportunities to grow your company. But make sure that you are investing in the right people that can help support your growth.

“It’s not just new sales people out on the street bringing in new business,” says Haug. “It’s good operations people, too. That, to me, for smaller companies, is their number one issue today.”


How do you attract the ‘right’ people for your company?

This is one of the more difficult tasks facing any organization. Especially now, as unemployment has hit new lows. Good operations people, and good employees in general, are not just sitting by their phones waiting for a call.

When unemployment is low, great people already have good jobs.

Fortunately, you don’t need a whole platoon of new hires. Especially for a smaller company, three to four solid people can do a lot. And the more you are willing to invest in your people, the easier it will be to attract quality candidates.

Investing in good people means more than throwing money at your new-hires. It means spending time and money on the people you already have. One of the most requested perks that new employees are looking for are ongoing learning opportunities.

As Scott A. Wheeler wrote in his article, Thriving Millennials: The Next Generation of Industry Professionals,

“Young professionals aspire to be well trained, knowledgeable, and strong participants in the industry…Although the equipment leasing and finance industry is not difficult to learn, it often takes hands-on experience and time to fully understand the many nuances involved…”

The good news is that the market is full of people who want to learn and excel. They will migrate to businesses where they know they will be supported as employees.

Show potential candidates that you are willing to invest in them, and they will invest in you. And as any good investor knows, time and money are the biggest keys to success. Put these to work, and they will work for you.


How to hire the right people once you find them

Now is the really hard part.

You’ve made the decision to support your company’s growth by investing in good people. You’ve decided this means more than just throwing money at competitive salaries (which you still should do). And you’re getting people to show up for interviews.

How do you make sure that you are choosing the right fit?

Armando Lopez, Executive Director of HR for Ramsey Solutions, sat down with Donald Miller, CEO of Storybrand, and shared the six stages of their hiring process. You can listen to the full interview here, but here is a quick breakdown of the tips Armando’s uses when making a new hire:

  • Referrals
  • 24% of the hires at Ramsey Solutions come from referrals
  • They typically already have a sense for who the company is and what they do
  • 30 Minute Drive-By interviews
  • These are quick “get to know you” sessions designed to feel if the candidate will be a good cultural fit – this is 80% of what they look for
  • Do you like them?
  • This goes along with #2 above, but Armando says that chemistry is a big deal
  • Do they light up?
  • You want someone who gets excited about the work
  • Skillset
  • You need someone who has core-competency for the work that needs done – this is the remaining 20% that Armando looks for
  • The spousal interview
  • This is probably to most unique part of their process, but it gives the spouse of the potential candidate a chance to ask questions and “interview” you as well, creating overall peace of mind for everyone involved

Armando says that their entire hiring process, from application to offer, can take as much as 61 days (though he admits they’re trying to shorten this a bit). The main takeaway is don’t be afraid to take your time to find the right people.

This is a relationship. You don’t settle on a spouse because they are the best of a series of bad dates. If you went on 20 dates, and none of them were people you would want to spend your life with, you would wait to get married.

Don’t rush a hire just because you need work done.

Compare your candidates to the role you have defined, not to the other candidates. If you don’t, you won’t enjoy the experience, and you’ll likely be right back where you started in a couple of months. Investing in good people means taking the time to do it right.

What about you?

  • Are you a smaller company who already has the right people in place and would like to upgrade your systems to support new growth?
  • Are you a larger company with great operations support but needs a better platform to serve your customers while scaling with your organization’s growth?

Take a look at LTi’s ASPIRE platform, a highly configurable equipment leasing software solution that can support an entire transaction lifecycle. You don’t have to change a thing about your business, and you can scale as high as you can dream.

If you think that this might be the right solution for you, click on the “Request a Demo” tab on the right to find out why more and more equipment leasing and finance companies are choosing ASPIRE.