Posts Tagged: Outside-In Companies


5th Annual Happy Holidays Outside-Infographic

December 2nd, 2016

Happy Holidays from the Outside-In® Companies!

Take a look at our year in numbers through our 5th Annual Holiday Infographic!

Take a look at our infographics from the last four years: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

15 things I learned over 15 years! Advice I might give my 32 year old self.

July 27th, 2016

Who ever thinks about where they will be 15 years from now? Who really thinks about tomorrow? At 32, I put it all on the line and became the fourth generation in my family to take the entrepreneurial plunge – starting my first company, CBI Group.

I was asked to share a little bit about what I have learned over the last 15 years of running my own business, CBI Group and the Outside-In® Companies. Perhaps I can pass on some wisdom you might find useful, or a musing that you find entertaining? For me this is pretty darn cathartic! Write it down. Get it out. And keep pressing play and come back at it again tomorrow, right? That is what most entrepreneurs do best. As Churchill said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.” These are my words to live by through thick and thin.

As I think back I get emotional. I have had servers stolen, office roofs collapse, 9/11 on my first day. I have had floods and fires on Super Bowl Sunday! Through all the good, bad and disaster, here goes 15 thoughts from reflecting on 15 years in business.

  1. Most business are not pink unicorn businesses. Few entrepreneurs have million dollar business ideas, let alone billion dollar ones. So think about it as you sip your Starbucks, while shopping using your Amazon Prime account to compare rates with Walmart. To be the next Facebook, you have to have a scalable idea, a really great brand promise that is very defendable, and be a very skilled leader/founder that knows how to scale. Most of us mere business mortals build our businesses and keep them for a long time. Progress, profit, growth, real break through impact and change come slowly! And not all businesses will sell, merge or be acquired. Day after day we run our companies.
  2. What is success, anyway? The funny thing about success is that it looks easy. And is often viewed that way with envy and jealousy. However, show me an overnight success and I guarantee you it is the exception to the rule. Success is a judgement, anyway. Success comes with hard work, luck, perseverance, and fortitude that few can stomach. I am at year 15. Success is all relative.
  3. The stages of growth are challenging. If you’re lucky to navigate the growth stages, to learn from them, and frankly survive your inevitable inability to adapt and change fast enough, you have learned this too. As leaders we must change our approach/style/focus and even our goals for each phase of growth. And no one tells you this when you start! I started this business with a flip cell phone, an 89 page business plan, and a card table desk in a friend’s office break room. (Thank you, Jim!) We grew, added staff and then one day nothing worked. We adjusted and changed and then we hit another growth wall. Years later, I am now better informed on what goes into next growth stage and the challenges that we will face as a company, and that I will face as a leader. The lucky ones get a chance to learn from their mistakes and live to fight another day. Some great insight on each phase of growth can be found at here.
  4. Just how often can I change my style and role, anyway? Day 1 I did everything… Sales, marketing, customer service, hiring, billing, taking out the trash, you name it. Where did all of these employees come from anyway? 15 years, three brands, thousands of employees and customers later… think of all those budgets, strategic plans, and years of promise and change? Today, I spend my days teaching and coaching leaders and employees in through making tough decisions for their business. Our values guide me in my work and help others to forge their own path and make their own decisions. Some days, I still sell, market, answer the phone, and take out the trash. BUT, I come back resolutely to our strategy. Where we are going? And why? And then I align everyone to the plan and to the current operational plans for the business this quarter. And my role will continue to involve — what will year 20 look like?
  5. Hiring more people is an entrepreneurial answer to just about everything. We get excited about growth and enjoy opening more offices, generating more sales and of course increasing headcount. BUT, I’ve learned what you really need to do is to solve problems with better scalable systems and technologies! That is where value and scaling can come into play.
  6. Define your why. Coming to work without a real purpose or perhaps to just make money is a hollow place to be. Customers, employees, and vendor/partners get excited when your business exists to serve the greater good. Why do you get out of bed? Defining that in your business attracts folks to your business and keeps them coming back.
  7. Go find someone who has solved the problem before. If you know me as stubborn, you would not be the only one. My biggest learn over the last five years is all around this point. For years I solved the problem with what I had, my way of thinking and my team. Instead? Go get the answer, find folks that have solved it before. Gather perspective. Then make your path forward with that information. So much time, energy, resources and money have been wasted on starting from scratch! This is a problem when you have a culture that prides itself on innovation and creativity. I’ve learned that simple is often more elegant.
  8. Not everyone is going on the ride with you. Or at least the whole ride. My dad, Alan Burkhard told me once, “Not even your mother made all 27 years with me in the business.” Life changes. Business needs change. Folks do different things, they move, change careers, get married and start businesses. Or they disagree with your thinking and business direction… and they leave you. Get used it! However, treat them like they will be with you forever. I had less then 2% turnover in core staff the first 7 years. Man, I used to brag about it. Then we changed business models and great legacy folks left me. My heart was broken at the time. No one goes on the ride with you the entire trip. Get used to it. I have.
  9. Make it really hard to get in your business. But easy to leave. This is a borrowed family mantra. But it works really well. In other words, hire slowly. But throw folks a party when they leave. Loyalty and allegiance are good things. Unless that is all that is left. And it happens. Staff and the jobs they are in do not remain a good fit for long. We are really lucky if your current duties align with your interest more then a few times a year. Work is cyclical and project based. Most businesses change everything fast. Try and stay aligned to the purpose. Try to keep your quarterly goals relevant as the business changes month to month. Do your quarterly or six month goals seem outdated when you go to review them? Welcome to the pace of change today. Agile employees, agile rolling forecasts, agile performance reviews or feedback sessions. Everything must be portable, flexible and easy to move. Including you.
  10. Be way more conservative and realistic. I have suffered from and am often overly optimistic. I am reformed at this point. But at 32, I could sell, I could talk fast,  and I could and did try to outwork others. So most of the time, I was lucky enough to outwork my optimism. But the truth is I have had to be much more honest around planning scenarios. Today, work cast scenario planning really matters to me. And I prefer realistic  and conservative thinking today. And it is hard this way. Running a business can be more fun when your a gambler who goes for it all of the time. No rules in the early years of the business is fun for others right? Until you fail big time. And I have. So, today I balance long-range strategy thinking (and dreaming) with a dose of reality.
  11. Have you really mastered being a leader? I hear it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. Humbly, I am triple that in real world practice as a leader. And I still have so much to learn.
  12. I wish I did not wait so long to be direct. Tell the truth. Let folks know where they stand. Give them feedback. We all crave it. Stop hinting someone to death. Love them up or out. Your team deserves to be successful, challenged, and to be the best they can be for you. Or move folks on to their next successful place. That is a leader’s job – or at least one that cares about their people.
  13. Running a business is cyclical. Economic swings, job markets and times/politics change. I always felt I was too small a business to worry about how much market share I had. BUT, I wish I had learned earlier on that the market changes. And how I run the business needs to change with it. There are times to go for it, and times to be very conservative and play things tight to the vest.
  14. I had no idea I could be this patient. If I had to give my younger 32 year old self some advice it would be, “This is going to take a while. You’re going to need to sacrifice everything. Put it all on the line, everything, your house, your marriage, your key relationships… Younger self, are you ready for all of this? Time, patience, fortitude, moxie, perseverance. At times you go numb. At times you come to the office but take the day off mentally. But most days the world will not let you. Entrepreneurs need to be relevant and focused almost every day to make it. And that says nothing about success or making it big time!”
  15. Everything changes. Good days fade. Bad days take longer to go away. Business is terrific. Then change happens. Some years you grow and don’t make money. And in flat years you’re running a better company and the bottom line is sweet! Change keeps coming. Employees come and go. Customers are bought and sold, go bankrupt and move out of town. Customers’ needs and wants change. Multi-million dollar business lines dry up. New products grow up before your eyes and become your big bell winner, your future. Rookies become managers. Managers become senior leaders. I have learned that being a student of change is my one true advantage. Embrace it, drive it, and know status quo is deadly in the long run!

So my 32 year old self was full of himself. Glib and confident. Boundless and endless energy on reserve. Every problem in the business was one I created. I celebrated those early fiascos, they were fun to try and resolve. Everything was about the vision for what I wanted to build with that early team. We were going to reinvent and create a space in staffing and professional services. We vowed to make culture important (believe it or not when those words were foreign in most business’s large and small). I worked endlessly. For two years straight I worked every single day. My theory was an hour worked today is an hour I would get back when I exited the business. The exit plan was scheduled for year nine! Well, six years later I am still at it. Today it’s much more about the journey than the destination.

p.s. if you’re interested, here are my 10 musings from our 10th anniversary in 2011!

Outside-In Team Featured in Delaware Business Times

September 2nd, 2015

On September 1st, members of the Outside-In® team were featured in the Delaware Business Times article, “Job Market: The need for employees with specialized skills spikes.

Our President, Chris Burkhard was quoted, discussing how “the growing employment market would finally give unemployed and underemployed workers the chance to follow their career plan.”

“We are starting to see more opportunities, not that the recession is behind us fully, but people are willing to step back away from a job and try again. I think people are starting to have enough confidence in the market to consider a move from their current jobs,” Burkhard said. “We had the awful 2008-2009 financial crisis. I think there are a lot of people who are unemployed or doing things they don’t really like. I think that’s always a mistake. We’re coming out of an era when people were just happy to have work. It seems the market is finally giving people a chance to pursue their career goals.”

Images and Infographic from Delaware Business Times [Images and Infographic from Delaware Business Times]

Along with Chris, team members Debbie Fincher, Karesa Blagrove, Heather Pelaez, Rich Kolodgie, Shante Hynson and Joshua Wiggins were photographed in our Newark, DE Office. To review the article and learn more about the top job postings in Delaware and current job market trends, click here.

Field of Dreams Reunion

June 19th, 2014

Each year, the Outside-In® Companies have an annual theme to help communicate openly about the priorities of the business with everyone on the team. Coming off of a very ‘heady’ theme last year with the Outside-In® Happiness Project, this year we decided to reel it back in. For us, 2014 is the year of Field of Dreams, inspired by the 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner.

“This year’s theme is about playing the game, building something great, and having something that all “3 Customers” can easily identify with,” said our President Chris Burkhard when asked about the annual theme. “Not everyone is a sports person but baseball is America’s game and people get it. Whether you watch the Major Leagues, played the game yourself, use the “3 strikes” mentality, eat peanuts & cracker jacks or have kids in a t-ball league, everyone relates to baseball.”

This year is also a special one for the movie itself, as it marks the 25th anniversary of Field of Dreams’ release. Kevin Costner joined other cast members and fans at the site of filming in Dyersville, Iowa for a 3-day 25th anniversary celebration festival this past Father’s Day weekend. This iconic film is held in the hearts of many, especially those that related to the father-son themes prominent in the movie. Costner, who attended the celebration with his family, told Bob Costas of the Today Show, “Field of Dreams” remains deeply meaningful to him. “I get a chance to bring my three little kids here. It’s really good full circle for me that this movie lives so long.”

We’ve brought new life to the movie by using the story, its themes, and baseball to support our company’s communication in the first half of this year. So cheers to you Field of Dreams – for inspiring so many, including us over the last 25 years!

“If you build it, he will come…” Right?

Outside-In® Companies Among 60 Companies Honored at Awards Ceremony

January 17th, 2014

Philadelphia SmartCEO Honored Fast-Growth Companies at its 2014 Future 50 Awards Ceremony, Jan. 16
More than 550 Philadelphia executives joined Philadelphia SmartCEO in celebrating 60 of Greater Philadelphia’s fastest-growing companies.

Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 17, 2014) — Philadelphia SmartCEO honored the 2014 Future 50 award winners at a basketball-themed awards ceremony, which took place on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at Drexelbrook. Sixty Greater Philadelphia companies were recognized for their fast-growth based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth. In all, 55 mid-sized Future 50 companies and five large Blue Chip companies were recognized in the program. The 2014 Future 50 winners collectively generate $3.2 billion in annual revenue and employ 10,412 individuals in the Greater Philadelphia area.

The Outside-In® Companies were among the sixty Philadelphia-area companies honored on Thursday evening. Chris Burkhard accepted the award on behalf of CBI Group and Placers. (The award was officially announced before Barton Career Advisors was an Outside-In® Company) See below for a complete list of winners. For more information on the Future 50 winners, visit www.smartceo.com to view the digital edition of the January 2014 issue.

“The companies we honored this year are growing in spite of the economic hardships we have all been facing. These companies are investing in themselves, investing in their people and rising above the rest. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated because they are moving the economy and the region forward,” says Rick Crane, regional president of SmartCEO. “We are proud to recognize them for their achievements and growth.”

More than 550 executives, friends and family attended the black-tie-optional event to celebrate the winners and their achievements. The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour and high-level networking. A seated dinner and video-packed awards ceremony followed to honor and celebrate the 2014 Future 50 Award Winners.

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Chris was featured in the following video, which was among the many videos played during the ceremony.

View photos of our team at the event here.

About SmartCEO
SmartCEO’s mission is to educate and inspire the business community through its award-winning magazine, connections at C-level events and access to valuable online resources. SmartCEO’s integrated media platforms reach decision makers in the Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, metropolitan areas. Nearly 50,000 offensive-minded, growth-oriented CEOs turn to SmartCEO magazine to find ideas and inspiration to help them grow their businesses. Each issue includes behind-the-scenes looks at local success stories, columns written by key opinion leaders and other resources to help the region’s middle-market CEOs conquer the daily challenges of running a business. SmartCEO magazine is published on a bimonthly basis with editions in four major markets: Baltimore SmartCEO, New York SmartCEO, Philadelphia SmartCEO and Washington SmartCEO.

About the Future 50 Awards

The Future 50 Awards program is the largest and most highly anticipated SmartCEO awards program of the year. This program recognizes 50 fast-growth, mid-sized companies in the region, five large Blue Chip companies and five small Emerging Growth companies. These companies represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the entrepreneurial spirit critical for leadership and success. The winners, chosen based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth, are listed alphabetically, not ranked. The winners are profiled in the January/February issue of SmartCEO magazine and celebrated at an awards reception in January.

2014 Philadelphia SmartCEO Future 50 Award Winners

Aavalar Consulting, Inc.
AnnieMac Home Mortgage
Arora Engineers, Inc.
Audience Partners, LLC
Benetrends
Brad’s Raw Foods
Cenero
Classic Cake
Closets By Design
CMC
CoreDial, LLC
The Dagit Group
Data Systems Analysts, Inc.
Empirecovers.com
eZanga.com
Fesnak and Associates LLP
Fox Chase Bank
Free For All, Inc.
Friday Architects/Planners, Inc
Gemini Building Systems, LLC
Gibraltar IT, LLC
Global Business Consulting Services, Inc. (GBCS)
H2 Contracting, LLC
Hawkeye Management
Health Advocate, Inc.
Intuitive Company
iPipeline
Javan Engineering, Inc.
Juno Search Partners
Keystone Fire Protection Co.
Magellan Search & Staffing
Meniscus Limited
Nielsen-Kellerman
Optellios
Outside-In® Companies: CBI Group & Placers
PCS
Perryman Building and Construction Services, Inc.
Praxis Data Systems
Providge Consulting, LLC
QuadGen Wireless Solutions, Inc.
Quality Data Services
Renavatio Healthcare Communications
RSI Content Solutions
Saturn Infotech Inc.
Shades of Paper Inc.
SLM – Facility Solutions Nationwide
SofterWare, Inc.
Sovereign Security LLC
Specialized Education Services, Inc.
Stream Companies
Stroll
Tri-Force Consulting Services, Inc.
Triose
Unlimited Technology Inc.
USA Technologies
Blue Chip Winners
AmeriQuest Business Services, Inc.
Aria Health
ERT
MedRisk, Inc.
Radian Group Inc.

Invitation to Our Ribbon Tying Celebration

January 9th, 2014

Ribbon-Tying

Join the Greater Newark Economic Development Partnership (GNEDP), local elected officials, and members of the business community on Monday, January 13th at 12 noon at CBI Group Headquarters in Newark to celebrate at our Ribbon Tying celebration! Please email smithm@greaternewarkde.com to confirm your attendance!

What? Outside-In® Companies will be hosting a ribbon tying event

When? Monday, January 13th at 12 noon

Where? CBI Group’s Newark Headquarters (Now the Outside-In® Companies Headquarters!): 1501 Casho Mill Road, Suite 9, Newark, DE 19711 – for Directions Click Here!

Why? To celebrate the business partnership of CBI Group, Placers, and Barton Career Advisors.

Wait, what else?! One of Greater Newark, DE’s signature restaurants, Klondike Kates, will be catering.

Outside-In® Companies Radio Interview on Jobs in the New year

January 7th, 2014

Chris Barton of the Outside-In® Companies was featured on the WDEL afternoon news on New Years Eve to discuss trends for jobs and the economy in 2014 with host Allan Loudell. Watch this video to hear a recording of his radio spot.

[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/5jWamz9zRqY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
 
To listen to more WDEL radio podcasts, visit the WDEL website.

2nd Annual Happy Holidays Infographic

December 2nd, 2013

CBI Group and the Outside-In® Companies would like to wish our three customers (clients, employees, & vendors) a happy holidays with our 2nd annual, 2013 year in review, holiday infographic!


CBI Group Lends an Outside-In® Hand in an Unexpected Way

September 27th, 2013

Guest blog spot by Caitlin Olszewski, Communications & Design Coordinator 

Have you ever skipped breakfast before entering a meeting and could only focus on the never ending grumble in your stomach instead of the metrics in front of you? Well, think about having that feeling all the time. Imagine feeling long-term hunger to the point where you cannot concentrate on anything but the emptiness in your stomach and the physical weakness that follows.

I heard about The Food Bank of Delaware back in July and I thought it would be a great cause for our ongoing Charity of the Month program. The Food Bank is an organization that provides nutritious food to Delawareans in need with the goal of providing long-term solutions for hunger. I figured that we could just help out by donating canned goods and fund raising, but then I saw the numbers and came to the humbling realization—that wasn’t enough.

foodbankOver 241,600 people receive assistance from The Food Bank each year and that number is continuing to rise. Forty-four percent of the households receiving this aid are children. To top it off, more than 17,500 people receive emergency assistance in any given week. At Outside-In® Companies, none of us are mathematicians—we’re all a bunch of fun-loving recruiters or chatty communications coordinators (sorry I’m not sorry). However, these numbers quickly resonated with us and strummed our heartstrings. After seeing the facts and statistics we knew that we wanted to take our charity to the Nth degree.

On Wednesday, we put our Outside-In® values to the test and volunteered at The Food Bank’s facility in Newark. Our team formed an assembly line to work together and create meal kits for the Food Bank’s Backpack Program. The program sends close to 3,000 children home from school for the weekend with easy-to-prepare meals to ensure that they can have the proper nutrition they deserve. “It’s hard for a child to learn on an empty stomach and that’s what it all comes down to,” said Trevor Turner, Lead Volunteer Coordinator. The program is geared to help eliminate the problems hunger can cause in regards to education and development.

In only two hours we created 638 meal kits—totaling 1,276 individual meals. That means through our Team-Based, Change Maker, and Service to the Nth Degree values, we made sure that 638 children didn’t have to worry about being hungry for the weekend. That’s 638 reasons to be Outside-In®.

If you’d like to figure out how you can help end hunger, please visit www.fbd.org.

Check out our assembly line in action!

 

CBI Group, Placers, and Barton Career Advisors Announce Partnership

August 5th, 2013

Talent leaders band together under shared, values-based culture

Delaware-based talent companies CBI Group, Placers and Barton Career Advisors announced today a new partnership under their shared values-based culture, Outside-In®. The companies will work together under the Outside-In® brand and continue to serve the national marketplace offering recruitment, staffing, and outplacement talent solutions.

This partnership unites three companies based on a shared culture called Outside-In®; a mindset that advocates putting the customer first in all scenarios, at all times. The companies’ consider their customers to include clients, internal employees, and even vendors.

“My personal goal is to have Outside-In® be as meaningful to a business and its customer base as the good housekeeping seal might be on a household product” says Outside-In® Companies President and Outside-In® founder Chris Burkhard. “We hope to have our family of companies stand for an incredible customer experience where innovation and employee satisfaction are evident to all.”

Headquartered in Newark and Wilmington, Delaware, the Outside-In® Companies intend to change the way the Human Resources industry provides talent solutions. Instead of operating from a pre-packaged services mindset, the companies provide solutions “from scratch” crafted  specifically to solve the challenges that led the customer to work with a third-party service provider.

“Our expanded partnership with CBI Group and Placers as part of the Outside-In® Companies brings heightened market awareness to the Barton Career Advisors Outplacement business,” said Chris Barton, Barton Career Advisors Founder & Sales Group Lead. “Values are the secret sauce in business performance and I know we are on the right track.”   

As companies whose purpose is to handle clients’ challenges of bringing people in and letting them go, this service-based, cultural mentality is a conscious – and innovative – approach to talent management. To learn more about the Outside-In® Companies and their new partnership visit www.outsideincompanies.com.

Outside-In® Book List

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