Why Small Businesses Have it WRONG and How to Avoid Making the Same Mistake!

by Chris C. Ducker · 31 comments

Since the day I started my call center company I have always put my employees first and I continue to – all 260-odd of them.

Always.

It’s simply been my number one priority, with the understanding that if I treat them well, pay them right, give them opportunities for growth and be a nice guy to work for, that they will stay with me for the long-term.

The call center industry here in the Philippines is pretty tough, with an annual staff turnover rate of around 60% (yes, you read that right!). At my company it’s been under 8% since day one – we’re celebrating our fifth anniversary in March next year.

It’s something that we pride ourselves on at the Live2Sell Group, and something that personally, as the owner of the business is a driving force for me both as an entrepreneur, and an employer.

Re-Discovering the Reason

Last week one of my favorite entrepreneurs and content creators hit the scene again after a fairly quiet 8-10 months. Gary Vaynerchuk started posting videos again. And towards the end of last week, as I was flying to Manila to attend a private Mastermind group, I stumbled over one of his latest clips.

In the clip below you’ll see Gary talk about how he believes that the amazing growth of his company, Vaynermedia over the last 12-18 months is all down to his people. I’d have to agree. I’ve conversed with a couple in the past, and they were fantastic.

He also points out that most business owners need to flip the switch a little! Watch the video for all the goodness.

In true Gary Varynerchuk fashion, he drops an f-bomb at the end of this video (those that are a little sensitive might want to skip this part of the clip – or this blog, actually, because I swear from time to time, too!).

Flip the Switch – Regardless of What Size it is!

As I feel passionately about looking after my people and honor them with providing a great environment to work in (see the image below), and an atmosphere that promotes both individual and team growth and development, I absolutely resonated with Gary and his ideas of putting employees first, then existing clients, then the hunt for new business.

Share the Tweetable:

Build an atmosphere where your people can thrive, and new business will come your way naturally! [Tweet This!]

So, the moral of the story today, kids, is that you need to REALLY prioritize whats truly important to you and your business, in order to grow and succeed. Gary and I have it right, as far as I’m concerned. Do you?

Regardless of the size of your business, whether you have just one single virtual assistant, or an entire army of people, sit back for 5mins right NOW, and see what you’re doing to make a difference in their development as PEOPLE, not just employees – because they all have a direct effect on the potential success of your enterprise.

What do you think about this philosophy? Should you take your eye of the client rolodex and concentrate on employees, or do you feel that once they are trained, they should fend for themselves  so you can grow, grow, grow…? Let’s kickstart a chit-chat below!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean November 13, 2012 at 19:34

Hi Chris,

Great post and I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy. Take care of your people and they’ll take care of the business.

Cheers.

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:37

Thanks for dropping by and appreciating the concept, Sean.

Kudos to ya.

C

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Bernd November 13, 2012 at 21:03

Chris, great post. Thanks for sharing.

One may argue: Do employees come first or do customers come first?
But in the end I think such a discussion will lead into the wrong direction.
The point should be: People come first!

The main question is: Why are you in business?
In my opinion the purpose of any company is to satisfy the needs of customers. If someone is just in business to earn money, he/ she will mostly only focus on the short term goals: increase revenue, get new clients etc. He/ she is not really interested in employees nor in clients. Development of employees or support of clients is seondary for someone like that.

But if an entrepreneur works on his/her business in order to solve a meaningful problem, which makes the world a better place, then he/she will treat people in the right way:
He/she will help employees in their personal growth as well as supporting clients. People first!

Bernd

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Les Dossey November 14, 2012 at 02:31

I think you settled the question perfectly Bernd – When people don’t come first disaster is imminent

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:30

And there is a perfect, second Tweetable for this post!

Tweet away, everyone!

Thanks for interjecting, Les.

C

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:36

Great point. People come first, I like that.

But, if I had to choose, I think I’d say that employees MUST come first. Always. Customers are important, don’t get me wrong, but its my personal philosophy that I should, as their employer, look after them, priority number one.

You bring up some great points here, buddy.

I sincerely hope to have the chance to meet and enjoy a glass of wine with you some day in person, my friend.

Regards,

C

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Steve Wyman November 14, 2012 at 01:15

Hey

Gary always nails it..

Pretty much his core principle.

private masterminding :-) cool

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:34

Yep – every now and then I like to roll up my sleeves for a good ‘ol chit-chat over buckets of coffee with smart people (makes ME feel smarter!!!).

Gary does nail it – pretty much all the time. Don’t cha just hate it…..?!?!!!
:-)

C

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diamantis November 14, 2012 at 01:48

hi chris .

when you’re doing fine , everyone’s happy . you , the employes , the costumers . you understand what I mean.
but what will you do , what will we do , when things get tough ? hope it never happens , but maybe it’ll happen. bad things happen you know . I really don’t have an answer , I’m just adding another dimension to the conversation .

anyway, to lighten things up , since I am the only employe in my business I take extra care to keep me happy.

be healthy and smile .

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:32

Great point – I hear you.

Nobody said that starting, running and growing a business is easy, right…?! One thing is for sure, though, asking additional questions like this one is needed – at least from time to time.

Planning for the tough times is important – but, not focusing on the good times, and how to better them, keeping them around longer, is more important, I believe.

Thanks for the input, bud.

C

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Les Dossey November 14, 2012 at 02:36

Good stuff Chris.

When you focus on people instead of profit or roi you end up with a base of raving profit makers known as people who are loyal, love to spread your fame, and like paying your premiums

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:30

Hi Les!

Loyalty is probably one of the most under-rated topics in business. Both from an employee standpoint and a client / customer one, too. I mean we KNOW that we WANT loyalty, but smart money says that the large majority of business owners don’t even recognize it when it arrives – my opinion, anyway.

Hmmm… I feel another post coming on!

C

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Owen McGab Enaohwo November 14, 2012 at 03:22

@Chris I totally agree with the @Zappos philosophy. Everyone in the chain is very important, my team members (<<<— your employees), my partners, my vendors and my customers are all very important. The goal is to keep all of them very happy and pushing the overall mission.

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:28

Yep. BOOM!

And its the overall mission that is fueled, entirely, by the team that we build up as business owners.

Thanks for dropping by, bud.

C

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Adrienne Furness November 14, 2012 at 05:45

Hi Chris,

Thank you! Totally agree with Gary. Even though I don’t currently have employees, I have worked in enough cultures where employees were considered No 3. Thank you for sharing. Once of the most pertinent communications for business I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks Adrienne

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:26

Thanks so much, Adrienne.

I’m glad my post, and Gary’s clip resonated with you so much. That’s great!

C

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Nate Anglin November 14, 2012 at 09:38

Owen nailed it on the head that everyone is important. With one disfunction in your supply chain, organization, department or team, it can reek havoc throughout the entire company. However, the greatest asset in an organization is it’s employees. Without employees, you have low customer engagement and with disgruntled employees, you have bad marketing in direct contact with the customer.

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:25

Great point, Nate!

And we all know that the customer NEEDS that interaction and engagement more than ever before nowadays.

Appreciate your insights.

C

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Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon November 14, 2012 at 11:49

You know it’s gotta be true when you have Chris D & Gary V saying it ;)

Although some people would argue customers come first – by putting your employees first it directly impacts your customers positively as well. They will think you put them first the whole time!

Thomas

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Chris C. Ducker November 14, 2012 at 19:25

And thats EXACTLY my point.

The mentality of it all rubs off on EVERYONE around you, which means the entire team catches the ‘feeling’, and helps spread it further.

Gotta love a little viral appreciation!

C

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Sheila November 15, 2012 at 01:04

Great post!

It’s not an either or situation. It is more like a continous cycle: People -Service – Profit. Each link upholds and supports the other. At least this is the core philosophy in Fedex.

“People-Service-Profit (PSP): Take care of our people; they in turn will deliver impeccable service demanded by our customers, who will reward us with the profitability necessary to secure our future.” – the profit then flows back to the people, who then delivers impeccable service…and the cycle continues over and over again.

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Chris C. Ducker November 15, 2012 at 09:44

Hi Sheila

Thanks for your insightful comment.

The Fedex mentality is something that I believe needs to spread throughout the world, one company at a time. It’s more than just saying ‘thank you’. It’s about truly WANTING to deliver amazing service and create awesome memories whilst doing so.

That, as we all know starts with the people that work for our companies.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy) November 16, 2012 at 00:09

Chris,

Great post here bud, and great philosophy. If the employee cares about themselves and the business, they will go the extra mile to always putting the customer first!

All the best,
-Alex

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Chris C. Ducker November 16, 2012 at 00:59

Hi Alex

It’s about creating that ‘dream job’ for everyone involved, right…!?!

Thanks for dropping by and commenting quickly, mate.

C

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Pilar November 17, 2012 at 06:48

If there is not a good vibe in your business and staff are unhappy probably customers will suffer.

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Chris C. Ducker November 17, 2012 at 17:43

No probably about it, Pilar.

I’ve seen some ROTTEN workplaces before in my life, and the atmosphere (as well as the productivity) is terrible. I really pride myself on providing a great workplace for my peeps.

They all deserve the best!

C

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Heather Stone November 18, 2012 at 17:52

Chris,
Thanks so much for the post and for sharing Gary’s inspiring video. People are certainly at the core of every business and the heart and soul of any successful endeavor. It’s certainly important for entrepreneurs to carefully watch the bottom line to ensure their businesses are profitable, but, of course, doing this at the expense of the people who are operating your business will eventually negatively affect your products and services. It’s simple. Taking good care of your people is good for business.

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Chris C. Ducker November 19, 2012 at 12:13

Couldn’t agree more with you, Heather.

Glad you liked the post, and enjoyed seeing Gary do his thing.

Let’s promote ‘good employee care’, and perhaps some business will stick around longer!

C

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Corinne Smith November 22, 2012 at 01:23

What an awesome, refreshing and vitally important post!

We’re just starting out on our business journey, literally, and after a lifetime of working in various business cultures, I can’t agree more!

Recently, after the US elections, small businesses are either threatening to or actually cutting their employees in protest to paying health insurance! This is the ultimate type of employee denigration that I’ve ever seen and it is nothing short of appalling. Imagine how the employees feel and how the owners will blame the healthcare law instead of their own lack of respect for the employees that drive their businesses. Do they really think there will be a positive atmosphere where employees will feel good about themselves and help their businesses grow or even maintain what has been built? They don’t even know how this will shake out in terms of cost and these people seem incapable of placing value on their most valuable assets. How do they think the people who work for them will talk about their businesses outside of work. The ultimate hostile workplace will bring them down but their egos and greed will be the real destructive force.

The people I’ve managed over the years STILL contact me and thank me for creating a culture in which they could learn and thrive. The impact on their lives has been remarkable and the teams I’ve created worked above and beyond because of loyalty and feeling appreciated.

A former employee just cntacted me on FB recently too thank me for STICKING BY HIM during a difficult time and how this led too his success in his own business. It was another unexpected success story that I played a part in and it feels so fulfilling to hear stories like his. And I worked with him and his obvious potential almost 20 years ago!

Hearing that FedEx and Zappos, as large companies, support positive employee cultures makes me want to send my business their way.

Truly a great post and most timely!

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Chris C. Ducker November 23, 2012 at 00:08

Glad you enjoyed the post so much, Corinne, and that it resonated with you so deeply.

It’s so great that so many of your old employees still get in touch – thats testament to you as a leader.

Well done.

C

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Garcinia Cambogia Diets August 24, 2013 at 22:29

Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

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