No job is too little

When you own your own business you understand where the saying “chief cook & bottle washer” comes from.  You are responsible for everything.  Whether it’s replacing the AC or heading to your office on a Saturday morning because somebody forgot their key.  Those roles can take away from the things that provide an ROI or simply stuff you enjoy.  It’s important to keep in mind everything you do… big or small… is the glue that keeps your customers happy, provides a great place to work to retain quality employees as well as provide a return on  your investment.  Everything you do is critical to many people so don’t think something is too little.  Your efforts touch the happiness (or not) and the success (or not) of people not just processes.

I attended a seminar hosted by Disney.  It was very insightful and demonstrated how Disney focuses on the “Guest” experience as well as employee workplace in everything they do.  One session spoke about how every job is important.  An example was given that one day a Cast Member was walking around Disney World picking up litter.  A guest asked for him to take a picture of their family.  He gladly did and went on doing his job.  Soon after, Disney received a heartfelt note from the family.  It seems a member of the family had passed away shortly after their trip to Disney World.  They realized the picture taken by the Cast Member was actually the last picture they have of their family together.

As an employee of your company don’t forget you touch so many people’s lives.  I can assure that you don’t know many of the times you said or did something that touched somebody in a positive way.  People just don’t always drop a note saying so.

Remember what you’re building

So I started my small business of course as an investment.  I was looking for a return from years of hard work and the financial management to save some money.  I was concerned of course but I made the best calculated risk I could at the time.  When I opened my first location I was so proud.  I was so excited for our family because I had the confidence (ok… mixed in with a lot hopes) that we would build something even bigger.

Things went pretty good for our first couple months.  We were hitting projections and yes we seemed to be building something.

One day a team member came to me excited that she was pregnant.  Her & her husband were going to start a family.  I was excited too of course.  We spoke about our polices, scheduling plans and what we needed to take care of for the business.

She also spoke about their plans.  That’s when it hit me.  I stepped back and realized what I had really built.  My years of hard work.  My perseverance to save.  Risking my savings in an investment.  That investment was now helping others raise families, pay for an education or simply have a place to live.  Suddenly I realized I had more responsibility than I had planned for.  It was now even more rewarding.

So it’s critical to remember our businesses need policies, structure and accountability.  We also need people.  We need to remember we have people who are working for us to build something bigger in their lives.  Just like I did.

hello

Hi, welcome to my blog. I started this blog because the first question I’m asked when I mention I own a small business is, “Wow, what is that like?”  I have the same, experienced answer.  It’s great!  You’re building something, you’re helping people achieve whatever they’re trying to achieve and hopefully your accomplishing your financial goals.  It’s great knowing you can affect & correct every aspect of your organization.  It’s all you.  It’s a whole new set of problems you never imagined though.  I’ll get into those as time goes by.

So what’s with the title?  Well, it’s “lead by example”.  Be the example of what you expect from your team.  Teach them what’s important by your actions not just your words.

I think it’s appropriate that my first post talks about my first lesson, at my first job & at my first management training class.  In the class I asked a very tenured & successful manager, “What does it take to be a successful leader?”  Being right out of the college textbooks and a mindset of I’ve been trained at a 60,000 student university I was ready for something like tenacity, skilled, problem solver, self driven, etc.  To my surprise he said, “You need to care about people.”  Whoa?!  I thought “I” was the key to my success.  I thought “I” was the most important driver of my success.  He explained that if you care about people & their success they will be the most important part of your success.  Over the years I’ve learned he was right.  Yes, there are some who will simply take advantage of your efforts.  You need to address and remove those when you see that is the case.  However, if you hire the right people most will actually help you become the leader you want to be.  I strongly believe that business philosophy because I’ve seen it over and over again.

Hire the right people, help them achieve their own goals, remove those that don’t get it… and Lead By I.E.