CEO Wanda Smith Interview with Informed Entrepreneur

Wanda Smith Headshot Brick ARecently, Symphony Placements CEO, Wanda Smith was interviewed by Chuck MacDonald of Informed Entrepreneur.  Informed Entrepreneur is a community devoted to business owners and provides a forum to learn, develop relationships, and share both the difficulties and joys of growing a business.26

During the interview, Wanda explained the history of Symphony Placements.  After a promising start in 2006, the recession hit hard and by November of 2007, the company was on the ropes. Wanda had to go looking for a loan, so she went to the two most reliable sources she could think of. “I asked my husband and my son for a loan, and they both turned me down,” she said. “I knew better than to ask the banks so I had to dig in and keep knocking on doors and keep on making the calls.” Her persistence plus securing a number of business certifications helped the business flourish in a crowded marketplace. Symphony Placements became profitable, reaching $8 million in revenue and a spot on the Inc. 5000 list, a roster of the fastest growing companies in the country.

Wanda went on to explain one of the secrets to the company’s success, namely customer satisfaction and retention.  “Since starting, we have been able to retain 92% of our client businesses,” Wanda said. “And 93% of the people we have placed have been hired by the companies we placed them with.” Symphony Placements recruits the applicants and screens them, presenting a handful of the best qualified applicants to the hiring companies. “A bad hire can cost a company three times the allotted salary,” said Wanda.

As the leader of a successful woman-owned business, Wanda has been invited to participate in important leadership groups in the Baltimore area. She soaks up the knowledge from these experiences and is able to share it with others. “It’s not easy to do business in Maryland, so I try to learn as much as I can and keep up with the new laws and changes that are always happening.” One of the great benefits Wanda enjoys about being a business owner is the ability to give to others. “Last year we worked with some of our partners to raise $36,000 for the Casey Cares Foundation. It’s a thrill to put a smile on the face of a critically ill child.”

Wanda’s complete video interview can be seen here.