Springfield, MO

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Opinion: Year’s end brings planning, introspection

Publisher's Perspective

Posted online

Springfield Business Journal has been playing The Great Game of Business for about 13 years now and practiced some form of open book management for many years before that. For as long as I can remember, there has been an overwhelming focus on the numbers, particularly as one year ends and planning for the next is a front-burner task.

Did we meet the current year’s revenue projections? How can we grow revenue and profitability in the coming year?

Open book management or not, these same conversations are happening in small and large businesses everywhere. I don’t think there is any getting around the necessity of strong fiscal planning and accountability, if you plan on staying in business. However, this year I found myself questioning the more, more, more mentality and have asked my staff to re-center the focus on quality and balance.

As I reflect on SBJ’s founding mission statement, it occurs to me that quality and balance have always been at the core of our existence: “Our mission is to provide readers and viewers with comprehensive news products and advertisers with the most effective means of marketing their products and services, while ensuring profits for the company and financial and emotional satisfaction for employees.”

2020 planning has been well underway in our office over the last quarter and we’ve been asking some tougher questions: Are we reaching readers with the most comprehensive news products, or can we do better? Are we maximizing our mediums to provide advertisers with a diversified array of marketing options, or can we do better? We take extraordinary pride in what we do and are true believers in our product and value. But we unanimously agreed we must always strive to do better.

In 2020, you can expect better e-news products from us. These e-newsletters will contain the same great reporting from our in-house news staff, but also will allow readers to digest more content based on unique industry or demographic interests and relevance. Expect enhanced readability and device compatibility. Advertisers also can expect new inventory options and more targeted audience delivery.

Internally, we are striving for first-rate customer service, more integrated billing and payment options and behind-the-scenes event planning that will create a better experience for guests and vendors. SBJ’s 2020 quality initiative means we are seeking to identify what we do well and then finding ways to do it better.

So, what about balance? I believe the second clause in the SBJ mission statement speaks to balance. We have to be a profitable company but not at the expense of the staff. When my mother, Dianne Elizabeth Osis, founded the company nearly 40 years ago, she measured success in large part by the number of staff members that earned a living wage and provided for their families through the work they did at SBJ. That certainly remains the case today.

However, our focus is as much about emotional satisfaction as it is about individual financial success.

The SBJ staff is the company’s most valuable asset. Success must therefore be measured by their well-being. Are we appropriately staffed for maximum output at the highest quality? And can the staff still have a life outside of work? Is the work that we provide meaningful in the sense that it makes a difference for others? Are staff members able to contribute their individual strengths and talents? Are staff members recognized and appreciated for their contributions in ways that are meaningful to them? Again, the answer to these questions must be yes, and I must remember that even when the answer is yes, there is always room for improvement.

I guess I’m still pushing the more, more, more mantra for 2020: more quality, more balance, more satisfaction. In all likelihood, these are also the things that will ultimately lead to more money.

Springfield Business Journal Publisher Jennifer Jackson can be reached at


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