No one can top your passion as the business owner, but if anyone should come close, it has to be your employees.
Any business that grows organically is destined to reach a point where they have to hire on a few like-minded individuals to help run the ship.
At this point in your young entrepreneurial life, you remain accustomed to doing everything on your own. You’re the CEO, COO, CFO even the guy that takes out the trash.
But now you have an employee! Finally, you are able to concentrate on the more important tasks, and for the moment, your workload has been reduced. You begin to delegate a few tasks to the “new guy” like trash; inventory and few other daily projects which you determine can be handled with minimal training. This goes on for about a month. You’ve successfully instilled the basic requirements that allow him or her to open and close up shop, while you are left grinding on new marketing campaigns, installing that inventory software you’ve just purchased, and keeping track of the book work.
All is good in the land of small business.
But it could be better!
The majority of businesses I work with hire employees to perform a single task. They ask no more of them then what’s in their job description–and that seems to make them happy.
Unfortunately, these business owners are cheating themselves out of multiple profit boosts, increased brand awareness, a heightened level of consumer trust and a shortcut to market expansion! They are stunting their own growth. They have overlooked one critical step when it comes to building a positive sales force within their business.
Your employees NEED to understand your mission, and have the ability to express it confidently and without hesitation when asked why your business is better than the “other guy’s.”
Your mission is to transform them into your biggest advocates!
So how do we embrace the power of employed evangelists and form a squadron of cut-throat sellers?
1) Create a training curriculum
It will take you less than a day to create a simple training outline consisting of required readings, performance checks, and some training timelines. No matter how small the business, you need to ensure your employees are fueled with some high-octane knowledge. Are they familiar with your professional background, why did you start this business, what are the benefits, and as always, what makes you better than the other guy?
Nothing is more frustrating than when a potential customer asks a simple question about the business, and the guy or gal behind the counter stares at them blankly and dumb-founded.
2) Accept their ideas and influence
If you hired someone to help build your business, you’d better be willing to accept with open arms their inputs and ideas. One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do is to admit that there might be a better way of doing business. Not only will it make them feel like part of the team, but when you implement one of their suggestions into the daily operations, they will take ownership, and start spreading the word. They will become excited to express your business’s functionality in the local market. They will be the ones out on the streets, or sitting on a bar stool saying, “Hey man, did you know that….”
Accept their genius, and they will flaunt yours in return!
3) Recruit a team member and not an employee
For the sake of understanding, I am using the word employee in this post, but as a business owner, I am asking that you refer to them as a member of your team. The team concept is an expression of faith in each other to form a complete and cohesive unit. An “employee” is too generalized, and often gives the impression that their role in the business is to simply do as they’re told.
No red-blooded working man or woman is going to be an advocate for your cause if they believe that all they are to the “boss” is a key punching heart beat who needs health insurance!
4) Turn them into a walking testimonial
Make it easy for them to become a customer. Offer up take home products for their review. Keep in mind that a customer testimonial is the absolute best selling weapon you can add to your arsenal. So common sense would tell us, that an even more powerful weapon would be a customer whose job it was to sell that same product which they are extremely satisfied with.
The goal here is to get them familiar with the product or service, so that they can better explain the added benefits.
*If your product sucks, then this tactic could backfire. So don’t suck! Also, never use written testimonials from your employees in your advertising. That could land you in some hot water.
5) Reward their commitment
We all love being acknowledged for our hard work! Doing so increases work ethic, passion and a commitment to the common cause. Go out of your way to thank those who play a vital role in the increasing growth of your business. I love when businesses have fun with awards! Make them goofy, and off the traditional “Employee of the Month” heavily beaten path.
Those who work hard, like to play hard.
Having fun is an essential part of doing business. If the fun starts to fade, then your vision will be overshadowed by the ugly fog of a mundane work place. Creativity will come to a halt.
And if that happens…you business is DEAD.
The employer usually gets the employees he deserves.” ~Sir Walter Bilbey
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photo credit: gcoldironjr2003 via photopin cc