13 June 2010

QuestionionThe ultimate open ended question.

Why does one of the shortest words start the longest conversations?

On Friday one of the girls from our recruitment division MySort.co.uk came to me and asked “do you have 5 minutes to see a prospective new recruit for the sales department?”

I am always keen to get feedback and develop the business and where better than from an fresh pair of eyes. I followed Abbey into my wife’s office where Tom sat, looking relaxed, sitting back and at home. After talking with him for a few minutes, I asked him “do you have any questions for me?”

“You clearly put a huge amount of effort into making this a great place to work, from your website you look like you really value people much more than other businesses I’ve come across since moving to the UK 7 years ago….. why?”

“This is indeed true,” I replied. “we sleep a third of our lives, we have a third to ourselves and we work the rest. As I do not want to waste a minute of my life I am focussed to ensuring that I enjoy every second whilst I am wide awake. This means the time at work is just as precious as the time I spend outside of work.

I therefore concentrate my efforts into making my work environment as stimulating as possible. To guarantee this I need to make sure everyone around me is stimulated and performing at their very best too, so a large part of my energy goes on ensuring the team is as focussed as me. The end result is that if you come to work here at UKFast or any of our companies, you are going to have fun. A BIG part of that is you are going to develop quickly.” I paused for thought and then asked him a question.

“Are you ready for such a journey?”

” YES PLEASE.” Tom said eagerly. “I can see that everyone here loves their job. You can feel the energy as soon as you walk through the door.”

I got up and shook his hand saying, “I am sure you are going to be very happy here.”

I left the office knowing that I have a very excited new recruit who is going to really enjoy his new job. Is that not stimulating enough to inspire me to be an entrepreneur? It amazes me that most business people just don’t get that people are the most important ingredient to a successful business. There is a saying, behind every successful businessman there is a great woman. Isn’t that the truth! But the same applies to businesses as a whole. Behind the scenes of every business are hundreds if not thousands of great people.

I see businesses starting to struggle as they get bigger. When businesses are small they have personality. The smaller group the bigger the personality. As the business grows the personality is watered down. The founders of the business usually get further from the coal face, middle management is put in place and then the whole thing collapses as it grows. To save the business from absolute failure and total melt down from over expanding, the businesses usually shrink back to the size of when they were more successful. This is one of the reasons so few businesses fail to get past the million pound turnover mark.

I like Richard Branson’s philosophy, something he said is, “business has to give people enriching rewarding lives or it’s simply not worth doing.”

And there you have it. Master that and you have the secret of a successful business, and as we are all stimulated by different things, what works for one business may not work for another and so the challenge begins.

But that is what gets me out of bed early every morning to improve the puzzle I started 11 years ago. I’ll let you know if I ever find the answer 🙂

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