Letter from Collin to NS4L

Put Your Team Members First
NS4L Team:

I just wanted to take a moment this Sunday evening and share a couple of things with you.

1. Seth Godin is a biz genius I respect very much… Read his short blog below.

Pleasing a person who is not in the room

One reason organizations slow and stumble is that teams of well-meaning people form committees and go to meetings, determined to please the boss.

What they do, instead, is assume that the boss is far more conservative than she actually is. They buff off the edges, dilute the goodness and quench their curiosity. They churn out another version of what’s already there, because they’re imagining the most risk-averse version of their boss is in the room with them.

It’s the boss’s job to continually ask, “is this the most daring vision of your work?”

I don’t like the term ‘boss’ (the word he uses, but he is describing a ‘corporate’ world in my mind) as I feel that the term puts the individual on a different level than the rest of the team where as I always view our organization with us on one level with equal responsibility. That is what creates a TEAM.

With that said, I think that ‘avoiding risk’ is common amongst most organizations. Doing so will cultivate an atmosphere of mediocrity and I know that you guys know that this is NOT what I want. An individual recently asked me during his interview, “What things make you proud of employees?”

I am most proud when someone takes the initiative and risk to do something that will make this company even better. Andrea, for example, took the initiative to create a system for all the scooters that have already been sold for back to school but have not been picked up or delivered yet. We didn’t want to lose track of these important customers during back to school madness! Thank you Andrea for creating a great system for this and for creating systems for many other things!

Guys, this is just ONE example of the MANY things different individuals are doing to make this team greater and stronger. I hope that you will ask yourself, “Am I making this company stronger today?” as you go through your day. CHALLENGE yourself.

2. I know you guys see me every day. You know the stories. You know me. So I know you will probably look at this and be like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” haha, but I wanted to share it with you anyway :) Business in the Heart of Florida blessed me with the opportunity to write another article in their magazine! I feel that God’s purpose for me in life is to inspire, motivate, and build other leaders. I hope that I do that first and foremost within NS4L, but I also want to do so within our community. Because YOU inspire me, please take a moment to read this latest article…

5 Life-Changing Leadership Lessons

You will find that one of our core values and another popular NS4L quote from Leigh, our Chief of Wisdom, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” made the list. You guys have such a huge impact on me and I wanted you to realize how often you influence me.

3. We are one step closer to back to school. Thankfully we have approximately 40 deposits for Fall 2014 Back to School! We have over 125 scooters in storage that have to be re-prepped too! Things are about to get CRAZY to put it lightly!  We have thousands of new students coming to Gainesville and we have the privilege to welcome so many of them to our NS4L family!  Let’s make August the greatest August to date and welcome all of these new family members! Let’s earn their business and show them why New Scooters 4 Less is THEIR GAINESVILLE SCOOTER STORE.

Thank you for making my world a better place. I love you all.

Collin

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4 Lessons from my personal experience with a new startup

As an entrepreneur, I naturally want to help new entrepreneurs. I LOVE seeing others succeed and most people know my passion for entrepreneurship and small business. We need more small businesses!

I know how hard start-up life can be, so when I meet someone who started a new business and it is a service that I could use or benefit from, then I try it out. #naturally ;) This was the case with a new entrepreneur I met that started a mobile auto-detailing business. Because the experience was mediocre, I thought I would share some things this business owner did (or didn’t do) in hopes that it may help other entrepreneurs. I am not going to disclose the business’ name. I am not bashing on their business. I want to help their business! God knows all the errors I made in my first few months as an entrepreneur. I do feel that these lessons could really help other businesses, especially startups that are in the same early stage of entrepreneurship.

Here are four important lessons from my experience with this auto-detailer startup. (If changes aren’t made quickly, this business won’t be around long-term).

1. Wake Up and Be Awesome. (Ok. So I technically stole this phrase from one of my former (graduated) team members.) When you are interacting with a customer, WAKE UP! You should be attentive, well-spoken, polite, and have good eye contact. Unfortunately, this individual was very quite and spoke only a few words to me. Not necessarily the interaction that would make me want to have him come back.

2. Over Deliver (especially as a startup)! The gentleman showed up with his trailer and materials and went to work. He detailed my truck. He did a good job, but there was nothing that WOW’d me. The detail job was comparable to any other detail job. Nothing made this business stand out over auto-detailers I have met. It was just another auto-detailer. It was ‘blah.’ You should offer a great detail on my truck at a competitive price, but then go just a little bit further. Maybe when I enter my clean truck for the first time, there is a nice air freshener installed on the AC Vent or a small gift of some kind sitting in the cup holder. Remember, the small unexpected things go a long way.

3. Never Turn Down Another Sale/Job. I feel this is obvious, but yea… It happened. My wife came home while this gentleman was detailing my truck. Since she was home (and since I knew her car needed a good scrub too) I asked the gentleman, “Would you like to go ahead and detail my wife’s car as well?” To my surprise he said no. When you are a startup (heck – even when your not), you never turn down the opportunity to make another sale! Seriously?! Did that just happen? Nonetheless, I gave him the benefit of the doubt… Maybe he had another appointment to get to? I told him, “Ok, no problem. Just give me a call when you can work it in your schedule and you can come back out.” Did I ever hear from him? No. This is bad. Real, real bad.

4. Follow Up. You just detailed my truck. You want to keep me as a customer. So you should follow up! Send a thank you note thanking the customer for the business. Maybe provide an incentive to get the customer to book another appointment soon… “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to detail your truck! I really appreciate the opportunity. I have included a 10% off coupon if you book another appointment within the next 60 days. Here is an extra discount to give to a friend that you think may like our service as well. We appreciate any referral you may be willing to send our way. Thank you again!” These types of moves are detrimental to the success of a business, especially early on. I did not receive any type of follow up.

I am always trying to learn from experiences my business friends have had, whether they are successes or failures. I hope that these lessons from the experience I had with this business will help you!

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Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated

Ok. I admit it. I am obsessed with customer experience stories. I love hearing about them. I love seeing videos of peoples reactions when a company goes above and beyond. I really love seeing our customers reactions when NS4L delivers an awesome customer experience… It makes me want to do it again and again.

Yesterday, Leigh came into my office to discuss a scooter repair that has been in the NS4L shop since April. I know. Crazy, right? This is EXTREMELY rare. It drives me nuts if a customer’s scooter is in our possession this long. Let me explain because I know NS4L customers read this blog and I don’t want anyone freaking out :) . . .

This doesn’t happen with scooters that are purchased from our store. We stock thousands and I mean TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars of parts in our service department. The scooter brought in appeared to be a scooter purchased online and this ALWAYS makes it very difficult to find parts sometimes. This was the case in this instance. We spent hours upon hours trying to find the parts. Many dealerships would even charge for the the amount of time in research it would take to locate these hard-to-find parts. We did not. Leigh asked me if we could comp an oil change for her due to the length of time the repair took… I told him that I wanted to give our customer the ENTIRE repair for free simply because it took so long.

So many people think this is crazy. Some people even tell me that it is not smart business. However, I believe that such moves may not show results in the short-term, but will have long-term positive effects.

Sure we lost money on the repair. Sure it wasn’t necessarily our fault we couldn’t locate the parts. However, I push my team to be the very best and I felt we should have located the parts sooner!

If you simply reflect on this Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” you can’t go wrong. It’s a concept that is lost because the whole world is obsessed with money. I knew that I would be a little frustrated if my scooter was in the shop for 3 months. I also knew that my frustration would instantly be dissolved if the entire repair was just handed to me for FREE and then be ecstatic if the business went beyond what was necessary and gave me a free general service as well (we ended up giving this customer a free oil change, transmission service, and valve stems that she needed).

This customer will be back. I believe that she will be an advocate for NS4L and will let her friends know that we truly care more about her than we do her money (which is absolutely true).

We somehow have become known as this ‘UCE’ – Ultimate Customer Experience business. It is a tough label to live up to sometimes, but we will continue to do what we can to do just that.

I also want to make a conscious effort to highlight other businesses that deliver such great service and experiences. That is exactly what I did when I wrote this article in the Business in the Heart of Florida Magazine. I highlighted 4 Rivers Smokehouse, a restaurant that has exceeded my customer expectations multiple times. I will never forget the time that a 4 Rivers employee remembered who I was and wrote NS4L in BBQ sauce on my ribs :)

NS4L at 4 Rivers Smokehouse

NS4L written in BBQ sauce on ribs at 4 Rivers Smokehouse

Take a look at how 4 Rivers delivered our service manager, Leigh, with the Ultimate Customer Experience not too long ago.

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World Cup – Brazil 2014

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It’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the excitement of the World Cup.  It comes around once every 4 years and let’s face it…  Soccer is a religion in most countries.  People obsess over it.  I also get wrapped up in the excitement and can’t wait for the United States to take the field on Monday night.  The countdown is on!

As I watch these games, it is difficult for me to turn off my ‘business brain.’  I can’t help but wonder how much revenue is being generated by this worldly experience.  How many people are attending each game?  How much are the tickets?  How many sponsors are flipping up on the sponsor boards around the edge of the stadium?  (This also makes soccer the greatest sporting event to watch as you will never have a commercial interruption).  How much did those sponsors have to pay?  How much does a single game generate in revenue?  How much will the entire event generate in revenue?  Who gets this money?  The country?  FIFA?

Then other questions come to my mind… Is this helping Brazil’s economy or hurting it?  Heck…  after a little research I found out that Brazil spent $270,000,000 to build a stadium that is in the middle of the rainforest only accessible by boat or plane that will be used for 4 World Cup matches.  Does that make sense?!  Who made that decision?!  I feel like $270,000,000 could be used for so many more (IMPORTANT) things!  Did this hurt the environment?  Everything I read tells me that this stadium was built in the middle of the Amazon.  Does this mean that part of the rainforest was plowed down to build a stadium that will be used 4 times?!  Please tell me no…

One would think that the businesses of Brazil would benefit greatly from all the tourists and psycho fans traveling to Brazil to part-take in the excitement, but does that benefit out way the cost of hosting the event?

From what I can tell, FIFA is not a non-profit organization (though they claim they are).  They are a government doing what they want, when they want…  Manipulating countries to change laws and preventing themselves from paying taxes to the countries that host the event.  How is that possible?!

So a friend sent me this…  Now I understand that it is a ‘late night show’ for entertainment, but I have to believe that the majority of this is true…

(Caution:  It is late night television.  A bit crass, but funny and true.)

It’s now 2 – 1 as the Swiss just scored a goal in stoppage time to win the game over Ecuador.  This is what I love and why all of us get sucked into the madness called The World Cup.  My mind is boggled by all of the controversy, yet I am still entrapped by all the action and excitement and I have to admit, I wish I were there.  I am sure lots of my friends are saying…  “Dude…  turn your ‘business brain’ off and just enjoy the soccer game.”  I CAN’T HELP IT!

Enjoy the World Cup, but remember that this is much more than a soccer tournament.

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USMNT vs. Nigeria

Not really business related, but a lot of fun, so I thought I would post a couple of pics from my weekend in Jacksonville as some friends and I traveled to watch the United States Men’s National Team take on Nigeria in an international friendly before heading to Brazil for the World Cup!

If there is anything to learn from this…  It would be to make sure to get out and CELEBRATE some of the wonderful things in life!  Seeing everyone come together to celebrate our nation and this team was so much fun!  And of course I took pics with person after person just because I was Captain America!  :)

Why was I Captain America?  The truth is I LOST at Saturday morning’s round of golf and that was the punishment.  Let’s face it though…  I rocked the Captain America suit and it was meant to be…  We have the same initials.

Oh… and this just happened…  http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140612/ARTICLES/140619904?tc=cr

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Vacation

I went on a vacation!  #saywhat?  I know!  It is a miracle!

At the beginning of the year, during all the ‘New Years Resolutions’ and all the dos and don’ts for 2014, I read an article that encouraged business owners to get away for 2 straight weeks and completely break away.  I’ll admit it.  I don’t think I am ready for that.  I think my team would handle it ok, but I think I would personally miss it if I was away from it all for 2 weeks and the ‘catch up’ process wouldn’t be very much fun.  I guess I still have to learn to delegate better so I don’t have any ‘catch up’ when I get back from vacation.  Anyway… My wife and I decided to take a 4 day cruise.  No phone.  No email.  Nothing!  Complete separation!  (Scary!)  Everything went just fine!  In fact, my team gave a guided tour to Buchholz Academy of Entrepreneurship on Friday while I was away!
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Anyway…  I just wanted to share a few quick things I learned (and others can learn) from this mini-vacation:

1.  Customer Service is alive and well (at Royal Caribbean anyway).  Every single employee greeted me with a friendly ‘hello’, ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ as I walked by them in the hallway.  I didn’t realize how much of an impact this actually makes until it happened to me.  Consistency is key though!  If one person I walked by wouldn’t have said hello, it would have stood out in my mind.  Lesson:  Customer Service is important (duh!) and consistency is just as important.

2.  There is unity in our differences!  I was beyond impressed with how Royal Caribbean celebrated the diverseness of the crew and customers on board.  There were approximately 50 nations represented within the crew of our ship.  Lesson:  The differences we have as individuals and in our cultures should be celebrated!  (Seems like common sense right?  So why don’t we celebrate it more often?)

3.  Everything is going to be alright.  Business owners…  Get away!  Take a break.  Trust your team!  You will feel fresh, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world upon your return!  Lesson:  Just do it!

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Sweat the Small Stuff

You often hear people say “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  I say, “The small stuff can mean the difference between mediocrity and excellence.”  (#miniboom)  ;)

As one who wants to build cultures around the UCE, Ultimate Customer Experience, I work hard to encourage my teams, both at NS4L and with my partners at Gulejo, to pay attention to the details.  Believe me, we are good, but we could always be better.  Of course, as an entrepreneur, I will probably always be our worst critic.  There is always room for improvement.

I can’t tell you how many times I get annoyed by someone showing up late to work or a meeting, how often I find coffee drips on the coffee counter, how often I find a piece of trash laying in the parking lot or even in the shop, or how often I find a helmet strap hanging from a helmet in the NS4L showroom instead of being properly tied up.  These are details and details are important.

Will any of these things keep us from making a sale?  Probably not.  Take NS4L for example…  I know a customer isn’t going to say, “Oh no!  I am not going to buy this scooter over here because this helmet right here on this shelf has a helmet strap that isn’t strapped up and the presentation is terrible!”  (though that would be hilarious)  Some members of my team may tell you that I am ridiculously obsessive.  Maybe I am.  I want them to be too!  They will learn.  It’s my responsibility to teach them, right?

“So Collin… Why is it soooooo important then?”

Besides the fact that I feel presentation is HUGE, there are several reasons!  I am sure I could go on and on, but let’s just take a couple of important ones:

1.  The snowball effect…  If you decide to not “sweat the small stuff,” what else are you going to let slip?  These details that are missed will continue to be missed, you will start to miss additional details, they will compile and compile until finally the snowball hits the wall at the bottom of the hill and creates a huge mess.  I have never been one to half-ass anything, so I hope that you won’t either.

2.  Customer perception… Face it, people judge books by their covers.  That’s just the way it is.  What makes you think that would be any different with your business?  Look at it like this… If you pay attention to details, customers will take that as an indication that you will be there for them in the event there are any major concerns that need attention (and of course make sure you do should that moment arise).

I understand the difficultly in paying attention to the details, but work on it!  Doing so will contribute to providing that UCE.

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Perceiving Perception

Perception Example 1:

A couple days ago a gentleman walked into the shop.  He was greeted by our one of our amazing team members, Shaina, and the gentleman informed her that he had a laundry list of items he needed to get taken care of on his scooter.  The customer was a new customer and had never been to our shop before, so Shaina politely asked him to fill out our new customer information sheet so that we could get him and his scooter into our system (standard routine procedure).  As the customer began to read the information and then fill out the new customer form, Shaina proceeded to help the next customer…
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Between the showroom and our office area is a wall with a sliding window.  This sliding window was open and our videographer, Austin, and I were cutting up and joking about a new video and contest we were planning on having for the shop.  Fun, craziness, loud music, and laughter are all things commonly found at NS4L…  Unfortunately, I saw the customer out of the corner of my eye throw his helmet on and swiftly walk out the front door.  I obviously found that peculiar, so I jumped up and ran outside to catch up with him.  As I did, I asked, “Sir, is everything ok?  Was there something I can help you with?”  He simply answered, “I’m good, thanks.”  I had asked if he was waiting on someone or something and he wouldn’t even speak to me.  I continued to rack my brain as to what had happened and started investigating…  Everyone had done everything they were supposed to do.  Then I found out from Shaina that he was a NEW customer.  Maybe it was something he read on our new customer information form?  I’m not sure.  My theory?  I believe he saw Austin and I cutting up in the back office and he perceived that our ‘fun’ was more important than he was.  Obviously, that is not the case at all, but it may have been the customer’s perception.

Perception Example 2:

A couple of weeks ago, I had a young lady (who was in the process of purchasing a scooter from us) recognize me as the owner as I walked in from being gone due to a couple of meetings I had that particular morning.  The customer asked to speak to me for a second and had a complaint.  I was floored because we don’t get them very often!  I was even more surprised at how professional the young lady was being by addressing the complaint to me as opposed to jumping on a review site and leaving a bad review like most people would probably do.  (Pay attention to this if you are a person that typically leaves a bad review for a company before speaking to the management and giving them the opportunity to fix whatever the issue may be.  This individual handled it in the appropriate and professional manner.)…

“Hey Collin, the reason I came to New Scooters 4 Less was because of the stellar recommendations from my friends.  I have to be honest, my friend and I here were really hungry [as it was almost lunch time] and anxious to get the scooter and get on the road, but the scooter was pushed through the back door to be prepared and it was left there for more than 20 minutes before anyone even began to look at it.  It seemed like no one wanted to prepare the scooter or even cared to prep the scooter.”

I thanked her so much for her professionalism and feedback and told her it would be addressed and that of course we would work hard to make sure that the experience for our customers are beyond superior.
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So what happened?  What the customer saw and what actually happened were two different things.  The scooter was pushed through the back door and one of our technicians removed the battery from the scooter seat, went to fill the battery up with the battery acid, seal it, and give it the quick charge before putting it in the scooter.  A process that takes approximately 20 minutes.  The scooter sat in place for those 20 minutes while that process was being completed…

The customer’s perception was different and a negative one.

Perception Example 3:

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine put up as a Facebook status that has always stuck with me, “Must be nice to be the boss and leave at 3pm on Friday.”  I couldn’t help but chime in and say, “Unfortunately, you don’t see him on those typical late nights when the rest of you guys leave at 5pm.”  Again…  Perception.

If you have ever thought something like this about your employer, stop and think about the early mornings and late evenings your employer often has.  I start my day at 5am and frequently end the day late into the evening as well.  That doesn’t prevent my team from seeing me between the hours of 9:30am and 6pm when they are around.  If I leave early one day, they could easily perceive the same thing.  I have never heard one of them say something about me leaving a couple hours early one day (perhaps one or two of them have thought it though).  Then again, such an instance is probably considered a ‘miracle’ in my world, haha ;)

Perception.  It is important thing to remember as you develop (whether as a leader of an organization or as a member on a team).  I think the 3 examples above allow you to look at things from another perspective and that is exactly what you have to do.  I have found myself putting myself in the shoes of others more often in order to understand and familiarize myself with the situations from that other point of view.  This has allowed me to make stronger and healthier decisions for my company and learn / adjust from situations that arise (especially in terms of the customer-related situations described above).

Oh…  and don’t get me started on the way people perceive me as an entrepreneur that shows up to work on a Friday in a Who Wants A Ride? NS4L t-shirt, loud board shorts, Vibram shoes, and ball cap.  ;)

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BET ON THE JOCKEY

I was very honored and humbled to receive a compliment via email a couple weeks ago from a person in the community that I admire quite a bit…  The email stated…

Collin,
Your grit overflows.
Please include in your message to entrepreneurs (and “wantrepreneurs”) that grit is what investors look for in them.  Not wordy business plans, glossy presentations, and/or hockey stick financial proformas. Just grit. Give me an entrepreneur who is successful at selling his/her product or service, and I’ll show you an entrepreneur who will get the support of investors, strategic partners, rock star employees, and loyal customers. It all starts with grit.

Since I received this compliment, this word ‘grit’ has popped up more than ever.  It has strangely come up in several conversations and business meetings I have had.  Because of this, I wanted to share an article that was shared with me about GRIT.

Do you have GRIT?  Are people/investors/etc. betting on you as the jockey or on your horse (the company / product / market)?

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How do you define success?

I’m passionate.
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

HEY COLLIN!

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. 

Hailey 
(the new girl)
#BOOM #newcorevalue 

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.  

Her Essay…
 
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.

[END ESSAY]

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.

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