Business Leadership Interview Questions
for Les Cseh / ASAP Checks
It is rare in this new economy to find a leader of a company focused and loyal to not only the employees but also to the local communities.
Meet Les Cseh of ASAP Checks.
With a location on the beautiful St. Lawrence River in upstate New York, Cesh's company has provided a stable and challenging work environment while leaving a small footprint on the environment. Cseh's company has printed millions of checks since being founded in 1996 and also owns a sister-company in Canada.
Cseh believes in giving back to the local community and is a strong supporter of the local Salvation Army and food back to help the less fortunate get back on their feet. His employees also volunteer for these causes because of his selfless example.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up, and in what ways does that relate to what you do now?
I had typical little boy dreams, to be an astronaut, a race car driver, and perhaps a musician. None of these dreams came close to fulfillment, but perhaps it planted the early seeds of learning that life seldom goes in the direction I planned. I love the expression that goes, “Men make plans. God laughs.”
What steps do you take to ensure that your organization’s activities are in alignment with the company mission, core values, and vision?
We use a collaborative platform (Wrike) for literally all activity by everyone (not just staff but contractors and service providers). This keeps everything visible, allowing any misalignment to be spotted very quickly by any team member, making quick course corrections and corrective training possible.
Which two organizations, other than your own, do you view as inspirational and why?
Salvation Army - I love how they are helping the most disadvantaged, not just immediate needs but also giving opportunities to break cycles of poverty, substance abuse, etc.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - not just their ambitious goals (eg. eradicate malaria), but how they apply business sensibilities and accountability to the work they choose and fund. And the enormous amount of personal wealth that the Gates’ and Warren Buffet have contributed to this fund.
What are YOUR main performance indicators? How are they measured and echoed throughout the business?
As a self-funded bootstrap business that has had to survive a number of catastrophes, it was only just a few years ago that we finally transitioned from a perpetual “hair on fire” mode. The only performance indicator that mattered was adequate cash flow to make it to the next week. Now the business is stable and growing, so our focus is shifting to monitoring metrics across all processes including each part of our sales funnels, as well as indicators such as customer satisfaction, and offering the best value (e.g. more and better check security features and paper quality compared to our competition).
When it comes to the top three priorities for ASAPChecks, what comes to the foremost of your mind?
First, finish the team building and process development and documentation so that the business can run entirely without me, effectively, without losing sight of my core principles.
Secondly, get to where our work environment is much more fulfilling (not so rushed, more time for training and team building), and that the business can help much more in our community.
And third, diversify our offering before our check printing revenue starts to decline.
How do you fight complacency and mediocrity?
I have always had many irons in the fire because we could never have survived the fierce competition if we did things in a linear fashion, and this allows us to be nimble. This approach, combined with carefully measuring and monitoring key performance indicators, leaves no room for complacency or mediocrity.
We are also making staff more aware of our competitive challenges as well as opportunities.
What has been the most impactful lesson you’ve learned as a business leader?
Realistic expectations of everyone. Everyone has challenges in life and everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses, and individual ways of communicating. When I do not take this into account, it guarantees a frustrating and ineffective experience.
Perry Marshall has been a major influence in how I operate my business by showing that the 80/20 principle can be applied throughout my business. This has changed how I prioritize our activity and investment in all areas of the business.
How do you create leadership opportunities within the organization?
I documented broad guidance principles for decision making and prioritization. I then work closely with those that I want in leadership roles until they have demonstrated that they understand them, and are able and willing to execute within those principles, at which time I progressively step back at allow them to lead.
What responsibility do businesses have to the communities around them, and how do you exemplify that within your organization?
I consider us to be so blessed in the United States and Canada. I believe in “noblesse oblige” and “from those that have been given much, much will be expected.” I feel that everyone, individuals and businesses, are responsible to help their communities and society both local and afar. We can’t leave this to governments, as they don’t have the resources or the passion and efficiency.
Our business offers an expanding number of check products that supports worthy causes. Anyone receiving these checks will be reminded of the need and good work of the featured organization and encouraged to support it. We also donate a portion of each order to these fine organizations.
What leadership advice would you give to your younger self?
I would advise to start earlier to document the business and decision-making principles so that staff can become independent and effective sooner.
Network much more. This is an enormously difficult thing for me as I am intensely private and shy. Yet I am frequently amazed when I do interact with others. I love hearing about their journey in life. I am driven in learning something new. I keep myself open to meeting a potential partner, or learning about a potential new product or service. And I love when an interaction gives me the opportunity to encourage someone who needs it.
ASAP Checks Prints Bank Quality Checks at 75% Off in 24 Hours
In an age when bank prices and fees seem to be skyrocketing, ASAP Checks is dramatically reversing the trend. Les Cseh and his team of printers turn out bank quality checks at 65% to 75% less than other sources. They also ship within 24 hours.
This is good news for consumers and businesses. Many don't think of ordering new checks until they discover they've used their last one. At those times, it's a life-saver to turn to ASAP Checks to quickly ship the checks you need.
How does ASAP provide such great value? They use modern digital printing with all its ease and big cost savings for small runs. Most other check printers, including the ones banks use, are stuck with old-fashioned offset printing that requires hard-to-find skilled operators and lots of overhead.
ASAP is lean and nimble with a modest staff that securely enters your information and digitally prints your checks, usually within hours after your order.
Customer service is outstanding and perhaps the best in the business. When you call ASAP, a live person in the office answers the phone. Chat on their site is also answered quickly. Email is answered within one hour. The real person you talk to at ASAP is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Questions are answered, and any problems are quickly remedied.
Most other printers force you to talk to offshore agents that can be difficult to understand and email that takes days to receive a reply.
ASAP is famous for its 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you aren't happy with your checks, simply return them for a no-hassle refund. They also guarantee their price will be the lowest among major check printers.
No matter what kind of format you need your checks in, ASAP is ready to produce them and usually delivers within 24 hours. Choose from personal checks, business checks, computer checks, Quickbooks checks, blank check paper, tax forms, and lots of helpful accessories.
The ASAP Check website contains an accessibility system and an accessibility menu for users who have vision issues or who are blind and use screen readers.
For bank quality checks without bank prices and 24-hour shipping, bookmark www.ASAPChecks.com. Got questions? Give them a call at 1-888-85-CHECK (1-888-852-4325). You won't have to wait for someone to answer the phone.