Your Employees Solve Problems?

What is one of the most important assets for your company? It’s not the product, it’s not the location. It’s the employees. That is why they can solve your problems (or create huge ones).

Milan, this week. It’s lunch time, and I decide to take my team and an English coach to a diner.

Yes, I too have a coach, because we all need coaching, in any area of our life. A financial coach, a mentoring coach, a coach for any area you’d like to develop. But that’s not what I want to talk to you about.

I wanted to take everyone to this burger joint of a friend of mine: we get there, and despite there being empty tables for two and four, the waitress told us that, since there were five of us, there was no room available.

We peeked inside: for a joint seating 20, five covers represent 25% of its potential occupancy, are you with me? And yet, she rudely turned us away, because her goal was not to find a solution. It was about avoiding the hassle.
And we went to dine at a different place, which by the way, we realized, serves excellent burgers.

So, the joint’s loss was twofold:
1) It lost money.
2) Its customers came upon a competitor.

That’s more or less what happened to us with one of the hotels we traditionally used to hold our courses at. We were one of their most important customers, we used it tremendously often. Then, Expo comes into town, and they tell us that rates have doubled.

Imagine seeing your business costs double, and seeing your customers being vexed (room rates increasing from 130 euros per night to 300 euros per night): what would you do?
I’ll tell you what I did: I looked around. And I realized there are other hotels as well in Milan.

And two years after Expo, instead of using a single hotel, we use three, all across Milan, and they are more efficient in some respects.

If you depend on employees, you have a problem on your hands

These two examples should have you pondering how important it is for a customer to find themselves face to face with a person who thinks as if they were the entrepreneur.

After all, starting a business means wanting to solve a problem. And if your employee doesn’t have this concept in mind, it’s one of two possibilities:

You got it wrong with the selection process.
You got it wrong with the training process.

If you own a business, try and ponder for a moment how much time you devoted, over the past year, to personnel training.

What are the shared goals? Is everyone aware of how important the contribution they can give to your company is?
Answering these questions can help your business double its revenues, all other conditions being equal.

For my companies, I’ve chosen to adopt a simple system: I take care of my employees, so that they will take care of their customers.
It might strike you as odd, but it works.

How well do you really know your team?

Do you carry out “mystery shopping” in your stores, on your services, or on whatever you offer? Do you have any outsiders trying to buy your service or whatever you’re selling, and providing you with honest feedback on performances?

The best tip I can give you is to hire proactive individuals, and inclined to problem-solving, in tune with the values of your business, even though lacking strong technical skills: technical skills are learned, but people can’t be changed.

Don’t look for personnel you should teach how to smile, but hire already smiling people.

If you want your business to grow bigger, you need people, it’s inevitable: just look at Amazon, which went from having 25,000 employees to employing more than 150,000.

However, the team doesn’t win for numerical reasons, but for quality ones. The ones we colloquially call “NFL-quality players.” Don’t think they are so expensive, they are just people who make a difference, the ones with a bigger spring in their step you would like to have by your side forever.
The average entrepreneur often does a bland recruitment research, and whoever seems to cut the mustard at first glance gets hired within the company.

Recruitment research, however, must focus on bringing in these two key personalities:
1) Technicians: the ones who solve problems.
2) Managers: the ones who coordinate the work of technicians, and make sure they solve problems.

It’s not a given that technicians can fill in as managers, or vice versa: it’s a lot simpler for everyone to stay within their assigned role.

Only when you will have discovered trustworthy people for these roles, will you have the time to be a real entrepreneur, thus having a decision-making power, such as to make sure that problems that arose will not resurface.
You need to find the best performers for your business, in a process that is never-ending, standardized, and has precise rules, as we teach in our course “Business School”, featuring field specialists.

In this e-book I explain the 29 mistakes to avoid when you set up a company whether they are related to your partners or other areas of your business: Download ebook

The main problem for companies is people: inner essence, and yet one of the biggest hang-ups for businesses. Now, think about your employees. Would you hire them back?

If the answer is “no,” it’s time to take some decisions about it: try to determine whether the reason is technical, ergo, you can train them.
If the reason is not technical, it’s time to start looking for your future team. Take care of them, and they will take care of your business.

Here’s to your financial independence!
Alfio Bardolla

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