I was at lunch today and got to talking to the owner of this restaurant seen below:
He mentioned that looking after regulars was important to generate return custom. One of his tricks was to provide a free glass or bottle of wine at the end of a meal. He empowered his staff to do the same. He said as reward and ‘thank you’ tell said customers this:
‘That last bottle / glass of wine is on the house!’
Problem was that some of his staff got the language ever so slightly wrong. Instead they would often say:
‘The next bottle / glass of wine is on the house!’
As you can imagine this changes their view on what to order (Hint: it comes from the top shelf). Instead of where they would normally focus their purchase. The strange thing is that the benefit to the consumer is essentially the same:
A free drink you didn’t expect to pay for.
The problem with getting it wrong is a cost to the business that could be many times higher.
Startup blog lesson: Our words to our audience matter. Small changes can have a huge impact.
I heard a great new (old?) terminology the other day called “Seagull Management”
Fly in, shit over everything, steal any hot chips or good food and fly away.
Of course all the other seagulls fight over the food that was stolen in the first instance. It’s an intersting idea we see in many corporate scenarios, less often in start ups.
Here’s an alternative idea “Koala Management”
Give birth to new things, put them on your back while you teach them to navigate the world, nurture them until they are strong enough to stand on their own two feet (four claws?).
No wonder seagulls have such a bad name, where Koalas are so loveable.
How to make a Hungry Jacks (Burger King) Whopper:
- Take the top of the bun and swipe mayonnaise across it twice starting in the middle of the bun and swiping out ways
- Sprinkle lettuce onto mayo base just enough so the white of the mayo shows through the lettuce.
- Add two slices of tomato on top of the lettuce at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
- Put the meat patty into the base of the bun.
- Spread 4 pickles in a dice configuration while using the squeeze ketchup bottle in opposite hand to spread the pickles.
- Squirt 3.5 circles of ketchup on the beef patty starting at the outside of the circumference.
- Lightly sprinkle onion onto the ketchup at 50% of the thickness of the lettuce.
- Place both thumbs onto the tomatoes of the bun top and flip onto the base.
The reason I’m sharing this with you is, that I learned how to make a whopper over 20 years ago, at a wage of $3.00 per hour and I still remember exactly how to make it. It was and probably still is, the lowest paid job available in the economy.
And yet a business colleague recently told me his his employees didn’t care about their job or the brand of his company because they were Uni students, and part time workers. What a crock. I took particular pride in making fast, well formed whoppers. Even thought it was a menial wage. At the time I was in year 9 at school and had zero intention of going to University or finishing school for that matter, yet I still cared. I cared because I had good managers, encouragement and there was a culture of doing your best, maybe even a little healthy competition to make the fastest and best burgers. It’s my strong belief that the vast majority of people take pride in what they do, no matter how menial it happens to be. So when I hear people saying their employees don’t care about their job, because it is part time, or low paid, I tell them this story. The story that all people no matter what they do have pride in their job, so long as one ingredient is in place:
They know we value what they do, and we treat all employee efforts with respect, regardless of where they stand in the hierarchy.
Startup Blog says: Employees will respond to how we treat them. We must respect them in the first instance. When we do this and we’ll get results reflective of human nature, not the hourly pay rate.
Lately I’ve been making a few decisions which are economically irrational. Making decisions which are, on the face of it, financially inept.
He’s not the cheapest and he’s not the best. Probably somewhere in the middle for both. I could probably get someone cheaper with similar skills, or better for the same price. But I don’t. In fact I tell him that I’m loyal to him. A large part of why I want to succeed so that he can succeed also, to share it with him. Even though he has not risked the capital, or the time that I have on the project.
Why would I act this way. Well I like working with him. He’s a nice guy, and sometimes that’s enough.
I guess you could call me an Economic Irrrationalist. And it just feels right.
I’ve always been an evangelist for international outsourcing. Especially as it pertains to digital work. I was asked recently if it has added complexity because of time zone differences. I had never consider the issue before, so I stopped to think about it for a while.
And this is my answer:
Having staff work on the other side of the world is usually an advantage. It feels like we have double the amount of business hours in a day. For example, when it is 5pm and something important comes up, I don’t have to wait for the next day for it to get started on. I can brief it out, and have it on my desktop by the next morning. For small startups getting things done quickly is what matters, and this process is a bit like inventing time.
Startup blog says: having a team in different time zones is rad.
There is nothing less valuable in startup world than people telling you what to do, while they are doing very little themselves.
Traffic Directors I call them.
These days information and ideas are cheap. The thing of great value is when people start and finish projects. It’s so valuable simply because it’s so rare. In fact that’s true leadership.
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No doubt your new start up will face issues. Many of them will be people related. Some will be things simply not getting done or not working once you press the on switch. If issues arise and remain unresolved within 24 hours you will start to suffer Compound Damage. This is particularly the case with suppliers and staff. All things in life compound, it is just natures way. Consider this with all problems and general stuff ups.
If you ignore them they will go away, along with your business.
The number one reason being an employee sucks is this:
You can’t sell your job.
No matter how good you are at what you do,
- you don’t own your output
- you are building other peoples brands and empire
- you are at the risk of hierarchy
- you are not servant to customers, but wage earners (the fundamental issue)
What this means is that as an employee you are not serving those who actually pay your wages – your consumers. Instead you become servant to people who are best at ‘internal politics’. So for you to succeed in this environment, you too must excel at internal politics. Which takes you always for important real world skills entrepreneurs develop. And then the final reality is that at some point in your ‘employee career’ someone will not like you, and dispose of you. At this point you instantly lose any good will or employee equity which was built. Even if you are a stock holder, you still have no decision making authority.
The point is, if you want to build assets, being an employee makes it difficult because you lack control. If you want control, then you must have the courage to build something independently, like entrepreneurs do.