I usually come on here and talk about marketing but not today. Today is about one of the other key factors in growing your business:Employees.
You can market your butt off and have the business rolling in but if you don’t have the staff to handle all that business you’re sunk, plain and simple.
I am a big advocate of the E-Myth, if you haven’t read it you really should. If you have read it, reread it on an annual basis just to take stock of where your business is and what the next steps to growth are.
One of the main tenants of the E-Myth philosophy is that you can’t do everything so as your business grows you have to start replacing yourself in all the rolls you once held. That can be tough. I have seen it time and time again, business owners unwilling to let go or afraid to really train or fully read in an employee for fear that they will take that knowledge and open their own shop.
Yep it is sort of a Catch-22 but if you don’t grow your staff you can’t grow your business. You become limited by the amount of work product you are able to put out.
Here is the article in Forbes that sparked this post: Six Reasons Your Best Employees Quit You
First and foremost, you have to find the key players to replace yourself. That isn’t easy but you can do it. My favorite restaurateur of all time dined out often and would leave his card with a note ”Call me” to servers that impressed him. Yep he stole every one! Do I advocate that? No but he did build a hell of a staff that was making more money than anywhere else. Another thing he did was bring in young, bright culinarians in a second banana role and then give them the autonomy to begin creating dishes. These bright young chefs were motivated by being able to create and they became loyal employees. Some of them eventually moved up to the top spot and some of them did move on to open their own shops, but they still remain close friends to the owner rather than adversaries. To this day, he has more people wanting jobs than he has openings.
It takes a lot of looking for the right people but once you have them, the KEY is to keep them.
My thinking (and it is only just that, an opinion based on years of observation) is that you have 2 types of employees; those motivated by money and those motivated by joy in what they do and the support they need to advance their career.
Take for example a banquet server, they don’t walk away at the end of a shift in a mild euphoria because they put the plate down on the correct side of the guest or that the silverware was perfectly polished. They walk away cheering for the cash in their pocket. Your chef on the other hand may very well be doing handstand at the rave reviews her food got from the guests and clients, from the joy on the faces of those eating it or maybe from the fact they yet again did an amazing job but lowered food cost.
Your job as an owner, is to discern what motivates each of your employees. Now in a giant Fortune 500 company that may not be doable, but in the small businesses that I deal with every day it really should be.
- Leave no stone unturned in looking for good employees.
- Figure out what motivates them. Find their joy and feed it.
- Give them the tools and autonomy to do the best job possible.
- Groom the best for even greater roles and let them know your plans for them.
- Get the hell out of their way and let them do their jobs.
- Use praise liberally.
A solid non-compete isn’t a bad idea either.