I love what I do and I love the people I work with.
On Tuesday, we had our first team meeting of the year. These are some of my favorite times. It is rare when we have everyone in one room together. We work at different times and in different departments and it is amazing to pull this family in one room, say a prayer asking God to use us and NS4L to glorify him, have a delicious meal, watch a couple Ted Talks / Inspirational videos and talk about where we are and where we want to be. The experience is nothing short of incredible in my opinion and I come away re-energized and ready for what’s ahead!
2014 has had an interesting start… for lots of reasons that I will share in the near future, but we had a sincere and productive meeting. I had so much passion to the point I was reaching tears. The discussion was motivating and I feel so strong about the direction this company is heading!
Later that evening after the meeting, I received an email from one of our newer team members (that basically made me cry for a second time) that stated the following…
Email Subject: Believe THIS Hype
So I know the team meeting ended really well, but there was a part there where I just really wanted to give you a HUGE HUG and thought maybe this would be like the virtual version. I had to write an essay a couple of weeks ago about what I would look for in an entrepreneur if I were looking to work for a start-up right after I graduate from college, and then discuss someone we believe embodies these characteristics.
I WROTE ABOUT YOU.
You inspire me and I just think if you have 5 quick minutes you should read what I wrote. I can’t even imagine the stress you are under everyday, and I’m sure sometimes it can be easy to lose track of everything you have done when you can see so much more on the path ahead of you. Like you said, your to-do list is a mile long, but so are your accomplishments!!
This is what I saw in your presentation at the beginning of the semester [in Professor Rossi’s class], and what I have seen in the month or so I have been at NS4L. Maybe all you need is a little reminder from the new kid on the block :)
Read it, or don’t read it, but either way, YOU ARE AWESOME and thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a part of NS4L.
(the new girl)
P.S. I wrote this the week before I went on spring break and had no idea how pertinent it would be after this team meeting.
P.S.S. NO this is not me trying to suck up to the boss, this is just me trying to show you a view of everything you have created from a different pair of eyes.
Like most recent graduates looking to join an entrepreneurial start up, I would be looking for something EXCITING, and the way to that is through the entrepreneur himself. I would love to work for someone who is always trying to innovate and is constantly looking for a way to stand out amongst his competitors and in the customers mind. Along with that, I would be looking for an employer who is not only extremely focused on creating the best possible experience for his/her customers, but someone who also looks to create not just a team, but a family out of all his/her employees.
It’s always refreshing to see small businesses or emerging start-up companies constantly innovating and trying to stay ahead of the game. This shows they are fully committed to making their business work, something that would no doubt be a huge motivating factor for the employees. The reason this is so important to me is because entrepreneurs like this are usually open to ideas from all across the board, and so it gives everyone a chance to be creative and think of new ways to keep the business interesting. Although you may be just a regular employee, such as a customer service representative or help in the finance department, being given the opportunity, or simply knowing that your ideas are always welcome on the table, really makes you feel like you are able to contribute to the continued success of the company in more ways than one. It further enforces the idea that everyone’s opinion matters and is welcomed, building a strong team-like feel to the organization.
Another huge quality I believe every entrepreneur, and business owner alike, should embody is their ultimate unwavering focus on the customer and making them happy. It is a fact that keeping the customers you already have is less costly and more important than attracting new ones. I would want to work for someone who appreciates and does not take for granted the customers he/she has been able to work with. People often underestimate how important it can be to make a customer happy, or to at least brighten their day if only for a few minutes. Customers remember more than we as employers/employees think they do. How do I know this? Because I myself am a customer and I always remember when I have had a remarkable customer experience at a store because as soon as I leave I cannot wait to go back. Working for someone who values delivering the ultimate customer experience is so important because customers are what keep the business alive and thriving. It allows us as employees to treat those that come into the shop just like we would like to be treated. In most business related classes we have learned that an extremely effective way of marketing is through word of mouth. By delivering a one of a kind customer experience to each and every customer we have, we will no doubt be spurring positive conversation about our own company, causing those individuals who are not already customers of ours to want to be because of how amazing we treated his/her friend. This can only help us in the long run and evidently give us more business.
The most important quality I would be looking for in an entrepreneur is his value on the team that works for him. Because I would become a part of that team, I would be looking for someone who not only treats us all equally and with respect, but someone who wants to create not just a team-like atmosphere but more of a family in the organization. This is important because it is one of the biggest drivers that I believe keeps employees coming back to work and happy to do so. Creating a more than pleasant work environment for your employees should be at the top of every entrepreneurs list, because it is what sets the path for getting everything else in the organization done. The phrase “Happy wife, Happy life” comes to mind here and I believe, although it has to be changed a bit, it really speaks volumes on the point I am trying to get across. By creating a family atmosphere in the organization, your employees become happy to not only come to work but also to transfer that feeling to the customers, further tying in the point I just mentioned above. Moreover, it is a good feeling to come into work and feel like your presence means something and that when you are not there you are missed; this may seem silly but really makes a difference in your performance and perception of your own company.
Although it may be biased, one employer who I know for a fact embodies each and every one of these qualities is Collin Austin, owner and creator of New Scooters 4 Less. I know this because I am actually one of his employees and could not have asked for a better entrepreneur to work for. He is constantly looking for the next project or campaign that can make his company and the work we do stand out. His biggest emphasis is on all of his employees delivering the UCE or “ultimate customer experience”. This completely works to his advantage and that of the company because it creates this extremely positive perception of the brand in the publics mind. Not only does it give us high ratings on online sources, where people have shared their experience and rated us highly, but it also causes our customers to talk with their friends and recommend us to anyone they know who has a scooter or is looking to buy one. Knowing we are on the top of people’s minds when they think of anything scooter related makes everything we do and all the hard work we put in extremely worth it. However, I would have to say that my favorite part about Collin is his love for the family he has put together at the scooter shop. Although he takes his business seriously, he is constantly trying to make sure we are having a blast each day we are at work, and makes sure we are having fun together. Just the other day we closed the shop for a few hours and went on a scooter ride for a few employees’ birthdays. He knows how important is that we take care of the customer, but is aware that in order to do so, he must take care of the people he has brought in to help his business thrive. Seeing him embody each of these qualities first hand, and seeing how far it has taken him, would make it very difficult for me to work for someone who does not value these things as important.
This is why I do what I do. Sure… my leadership style is different, unusual, crazy, etc. I have heard it all. I don’t care. Hopefully it is obvious what I DO care about.
How do I define success? There are several ways, but having an impact on someone’s life is the BIGGEST.
Thank you Hailey and to my entire team. You guys INSPIRE ME.