Small Business Attitudes Affect Employee Performance

Lisa Temperley, writing at Small Business Talk, suggests that the attitudes and behaviors of the owner are reflected in the business.  No real surprise there, but she makes a good point about how your attitude towards your employees affects their performance.

Like Temperley, I’ve often heard from business owners that it’s hard to get good help.  I also know dozens of small businesses that have excellent staffs.  The difference?  Maybe it starts with the word “help” itself.  It’s always seemed kind of demeaning to me.  Who wants to be thought of as “help”? ” Staff ” is a good word.  “Associate” is nice.  “Team member”, though overused by many managers, is better than “help”.  I know one company that refers to its employees as “family members”.  I like that one, though I suppose it could be confusing if the owner has actual family members working for him.

Temperley speaks about trust.  Your people want to be trusted.  If you let them know you don’t trust them, you may find that you’ve created a self-fulfilling prophesy.  People tend to act the way you expect them to act.

Finally, your attitude about compensation has a big effect on the amount of work you can expect from your staff.   Minimum pay usually leads to minimum performance.

To quote Temperley, “Successful owners pay to get the best people they can and then train them well.  This means their staff can deliver top class service to customers and owners can happily delegate whenever possible.”

That’s excellent advice!

Small Business Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Gran’t Trail is a bicycle path that runs through suburban St. Louis.  It so named because it passes by General U S Grant’s home.  Since the trail is a former railroad right-of-way,  it passes  a lot of light industrial businesses but very few retailers.

Friar TuckOne business that backs up to the trail is Friar Tuck’s. Friar Tuck’s is a large retailer of beverages, adult and otherwise.  As you can see from the picture, they are taking a proactive approach to attracting the large number of thirsty bikers who pass by the back of their store every day.

The last thing a cyclist wants is to have his/her bicycle stolen, especially when (s)he’s ten miles from home.  Friar Tuck’s offers a simple solution.  Bring your bike into the store.  Problem solved.

While the energy savings and health benefits are beginning to be recognized, bicyclists are still a sort of subculture.  We’re considered “wierd” by a lot of people.  (Some of us are a little odd, but that’s another story.)  In a world where some people think it’s great sport to try to run us off the road, we appreciate anyone who goes out of their way to earn our business.  But I digress.

What type of people pass your business every day?  How can you parlay that traffic into additional business by letting them know you want to serve them?  A sturdy vinyl sign is a very inexpensive ($4.00 per square foot or less) method of advertising.  Rather than present the users of the Grant Trail with another concrete block wall to look at, here’s a business who thought outside of the box, turning unused space into a very effective marketing message.