4 Rs of Managing a Successful Business

4 Rs of Managing a Successful Business

After nearly 20 years in recruiting—with half being in a business management function—I’ve learned a lot about what drives a successful business.

As always, there’s been a lot of learning, but all that has led me to believe this: to be successful, it’s certain we all need effective programs for recruiting, recognition, retention, and referrals.

“The 4 Rs” if you will.

I also consider this concept to be relevant for any function within any company or operation—and it’s no different for your firm. Marketing teams work tirelessly to develop channels designed to maximize each of the “4 Rs” cited above. With the help of these channels, this philosophy could even be considered your complete business process map.

I’ve been fortunate in my career to support many different job requirements, as well as the personalities responsible for making selection decisions. It develops an appreciation for the philosophy, “Your people are your most important asset.” This requires you to develop programs for each “R” to effectively fuel your business.


Recruiting is required for both internal and external business management. Creating and mastering an effective recruiting program will have immediate and long-lasting impacts on your business. People today have instant access to more information than any other time before. As a result, it’s your responsibility as a business manager to make sure your recruiting message is clear, concise, and accessible.

When you’re seeking new employees, you first must recognize the audience you’re trying to attract. Once that’s done, craft a personal, relatable message your candidates can find and engage with. The same strategy applies when attempting to recruit new clients or customers. Remember to use the same channels and media, and make sure you have consistent messaging.

Too often, recruiting talent is perceived differently than recruiting clients. It’s not. Your employees should be the biggest fans of your firm. After all, if your own employees don’t advocate for you, who will? Likewise, your clients (and their networks) can be the number one source of new talent.

You may be conditioned to ask clients for business referrals, and rightfully so. But, how often do you ask them for good hires within your company? As a business manager, you should always be recruiting. Each person or contact is a lead.


By now you’ve heard of the fear of missing out, or “FOMO.” But this isn’t a new concept in business management; and definitely not when it comes to employee performance or client acquisition. The application of FOMO is as old as marketing, and I’d contend it’s one of the most successful motivational campaigns for those who consistently recognize their people.

Regardless of which end of the motivational spectrum you reside (intrinsic or extrinsic), effective recognition programs can be very appealing. You can use similar programs with slight adjustments for our employees, as well as our external stakeholders to highlight our relationship. Some of the best recognition campaigns are designed with FOMO as the leading characteristic. For those stakeholders who are intrinsically motivated, social recognition is vital.

With the extensive reach of technology, you can create broad or narrow recognition operations (depending on your objective) to highlight employees’ service time, service, or demonstrating your company’s values. Comparable programs can be created for your clients or prospects with the use of age-old campaigns such as “We only have [X amount of] spots left,” or “[Client name] has just reached our platinum level.”

While the latter will likely have some extrinsic incentives, those who aren’t yet on a “platinum-level” will not want to miss out on the benefits. Neither will their peers, who are now aware they’ve reached a distinguished honor with your business.

Extrinsic, or “carrot and stick” recognition programs typically include compensation or performance-based reinvestment and can be used interchangeably. One popular extrinsic motivator today are rewards or loyalty programs constructed on the foundation of giving back or reinvesting in people.


Perhaps the most important “R” of our successful business management model, retention is your key to endurance. Successful retention ratios fuel the other three “Rs” by providing the groundwork for opportunities that others will come to you for. I always recommend implementing and driving communication to your current employees and client bases; providing transparent content to sustain retention rates.

A widespread reason for an employee to leave a company or team is the lack of communication without having clear expectations. Remember, we have instant access to more information than ever before. If you don’t anticipate their need for information, you unintentionally leave the door open for the competition to fill that need.

However, you need to be cautious you’re not becoming white noise in somebody’s inbox. Although providing information is key to retention, our audience prefers current, relevant, and concise information as it relates to their individual needs.  Don’t make the mistake of marketing only to your external populations to increase your talent pool or client base.


The “four Rs” of business management can also be used as your business process map. Your request for referrals is your last stop. You must perform the first three “Rs” better than your competition before you will realize the power of the referral process.

Throughout the engagement (recruiting) of a new relationship, your prospect must have a positive experience from the first time they hear about your opportunity until the time they decide to join your business. Likewise, how well has their service to you (or your firm) been recognized? Do they feel valued? Have they been rewarded for their allegiance? Basically, we’re asking “What will make them want to project FOMO to their peers?”

Lastly, how long have they been with your business? Long enough where they feel like they know as much about it as there is to know? Encouraging answers to these questions will increase the chances of a referral from those you ask (and hopefully some you don’t).

Final Thought

Managing a successful business is difficult. It requires a strong vision, sound strategy, and effective execution. Be sure to use “The 4 Rs” philosophy to help you correctly align time, money, technology, and people in all aspects of your firm.

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