Protecting your clients, customers and employees during difficult economic times is something many companies talk about doing, especially in this day and age. The sad reality, however, is that this type of talk is just that: all talk and no action.
But accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP isn’t just talk. Not only is the company taking care of its clients and employees during these tough times, it’s also doing its part to revitalize the city it was founded in, Cleveland, Ohio.According to Don Misheff, the Northeast Ohio managing partner of Ernst & Young, the company and its 1,200 employees will leave its current downtown location in the Huntington Building and move to the Flats in 2011.
The much-maligned Flats, once the focal point of downtown Cleveland, went from the entertainment Mecca of Ohio in the 1990s to a deteriorated ghost town in the 2000s. However, local developers are leading a new charge to convert the waterfront area into a bustling neighborhood filled with housing, offices, shops and restaurants. The new Ernst & Young building will be a landmark building and one of the crown jewels of the revitalization.“We wanted to be a catalyst to the first renovation of downtown Cleveland in a long time,” Misheff says. “We were founded in Cleveland in 1903. We’re loyal to our city and want to continue our legacy here.”
Taking care of your own
Besides being at the forefront of the revitalization of downtown Cleveland, Ernst & Young also does all it can to take care of its clients and employees. No. 1, says Misheff, protect your foundation in a difficult economy and make sure you don’t lose any clients.
“It’s all about service, service, service,” Misheff says. “Deliver the highest quality of service you can. Be loyal and proactive with clients. Maybe that means you have to take a hit on your fees, but that’s OK. You’re in it for the long haul.”
Doing so can only lead to growth, says Misheff. Plus, your clients will appreciate it and thus be more likely to send other business your way.
“Focus on the short term but still think long term,” Misheff says.Focusing on clients is one thing, but how do you continue to motivate and encourage employees during tough times? With low morale and people worrying about their jobs, families and futures, this is no easy task.
“Treat people fairly, treat them with respect and treat them with as much loyalty as you can,” Misheff says.
Encourage people that the hard times will end and that there will be opportunities in the future. Bottom line, stay in the game and really take care of your people.
Related contentErnst & Young Strategic Growth Forum 2009.
Executive Editor Dustin S. Klein conducted several question-and-answer sessions with past Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners and Growth Forum panelists, including:Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Corp.
Lynn Elsenhans, chairman and CEO of Sunoco Inc.Chris Dalton, co-founder, president and CEO of Acquity Group LLC
Mervin Dunn, president and CEO of Commercial Vehicle Group Inc.Pamela Chambers O’Rourke, founder, president and CEO of 850-employee ICON Information Consultants LP
Celeste Ford, founder, chairman and CEO of Stellar Solutions Inc.Shelly Lazarus, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
Robert Klein, founder and CEO of Safeguard Properties
Do you know a company that might be a good fit for the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program? Contact Caroline Calfee at email@example.com