Running a successful business is a piece of cake compared to living in Communist Romania, says Stella Moga.
When Moga came to America in 1979, she had no money and did not speak English. But she worked several jobs and took business classes at night to build the funds and the knowledge to found Le Chaperon Rouge.
Now, her vision for a child care and development and private elementary organization has been realized, and Le Chaperon Rouge has eight locations and more than 150 employees. Her success has come from making a business plan and sticking to it, and her determination has never wavered.
Smart Business spoke with Moga, president and CEO of Le Chaperon Rouge, about why it’s important to watch every penny.
Q: How do you manage business growth?
I am learning how to manage. Delegation is one very hideous thing. If you delegate and you don’t know how to delegate, and you don’t prepare those people that you delegate to, if they don’t know exactly what you want them to do, then you are going to be in big trouble.
Before you delegate, you have to know what to project to those people. That’s the most important thing. Yes, you delegate, but you better know how to delegate.
For example, what kind of message do you want to delegate? You cannot come back to that person you delegate to if your message is not clear enough. You cannot hold that person responsible because then the frustration comes up, and then you have people unhappy and everybody works under pressure.
I delegate to my employees now, and it’s amazing. Before, I was involved in every little detail — I am a control freak. I’ve started to delegate a little bit and check what they do. Now, I’ve started to leave them alone a little bit.
That’s the hardest step an entrepreneur has to take, from a small business to a big business. But you cannot be everywhere at every time.
Q: What pitfalls should a CEO try to avoid?
Spend money wisely. If you do it unwisely, if you don’t watch every penny, if you try to live lavishly, then you deplete your own company of cash flow. And you are ending up buying things you really don’t need.
Why don’t you try to leave the company in good shape financially, and try to do some charity work that will help American children?
You have to watch pennies when you have a company because it’s so easy to spend too much, not to pay attention to details in standings, and then you can have problems. I have seen many big companies go under because they didn’t pay attention.
Q: How do you attract quality employees?
I attract quality employees by giving them opportunities. They have horizons to reach in my company. It’s up to them to succeed in my company. They can start with being a teacher’s helper, and they can be promoted in management, but it’s up to them. Also, I give as many benefits as I can.
I give them respect, and they know that without them, my schools would not exist.
Happy employees make happy children and happy clientele.
Q: How do you motivate employees to succeed?
I train them a lot. My employees don’t work in the dark. I have very precise goals and curriculum, and I give them all the tools to succeed. If you don’t give your employees the right tools to accomplish what you need them to accomplish to deliver your concept, to deliver the job you need to do, then you’ll have failure.
But, if you know how to train them and how to make them work for what you are looking to accomplish, they will do it for you. Respect, respect, respect.
They have to see you as part of their team. If you golf too much, if you go on vacation too much, if you’re not there to hear their sorrows and joys, then you don’t have a company.
If it’s a huge company where the CEO doesn’t have time to talk to the thousands of employees, then delegate this concept to your managers. The CEO of a 2,000-person company cannot go listen to every sorrow and every joy. But you have to train your direct managers to do that.
Q: What have been the keys to your success?
I put my heart in it, I make a very detailed plan, and I stick with it. I’m stubborn, and I don’t take no for an answer. I think I’m always right when I want something.
I have a lot of confidence. I accomplish things thinking this is work I have to do, and I do it. If I can do it, everybody can do it.
HOW TO REACH: Le Chaperon Rouge, (440) 934-2716 or www.lechaperonrouge.com