Your Business Lives and Dies by Your People

#FPF – Week 11

This week’s message has been marinating for the last few weeks and chronicles our experience with one of our favorite bakeries in town.

Most Saturday mornings, my wife Julie and I enjoy frequenting the businesses throughout the area for great local breakfasts.  Being a small being owner, I am always observing the dynamics of the owner and staff of each business we visit and how their interaction impacts both our and other patron’s experiences.

no soup for you

Over the past few weeks, Julie and I have found ourselves at the same bakery – partaking in fresh bagel, egg, ham & cheese sandwiches, along with countless other fresh delights.  Equally as delightful was the woman behind the counter.  She was well-versed in what went into making each of the items the chef worked so hard to create and could sell each and every visitor on something that they had no intention of trying until she began to talk about it (including us).  This is the type of employee every owner dreams of (the unicorn with the square horn).

The last few times we have been in however, this individual was not there (vacation perhaps?) and her position had been covered by another person who was clearly more interested in simply putting in her time and collecting a paycheck than actively helping to grow the business.  Her demeanor was fine, nothing to be winning accolades over, but where things really fell off the tracks was in the execution of our orders.  Half-listening, she would put the wrong items in our bag and bring coffees omitting the sugar instead of the cream etc.  Not big deals in the grand scheme of things, but remember where we’d came from – a rock star employee that could sell half the counter to one patron and have you leaving with a smile on your face.  After having the same experience two consecutive weekends in a row, we decided to try somewhere else until we are sure that our rock star had returned.

Case in point – your employees make or break your business.  They are the front line to your customers and if they aren’t actively helping to drive business – you are running the risk of losing clients and customers indefinitely.

It Starts and Ends with You

As the owner or high-level manager, it is your obligation to set the example and level-set for the rest of your team.  New employees will learn from their both teachers and their environment, so it’s critical that you are not only visible to your employees, but that you conduct business in a manner that you’d like them to mimic.  Often times we are so busy being “the chef” slaving away in the kitchen, that we miss the fact that people are being turned off by poor execution or service that not even the best egg sandwich in the world could help get them back.  Never lose sight of what made you great (as an army of one or two) and continue to find ways to translate those traits to your employees or team members.

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