Being A Leader
Over this last year, I’ve stepped away from the day to day operations at Stodzy. It has been an intentional decision made by Tricia, Bryan, and me. The idea was that I would step back and focus on building out the sales team.
It’s been really successful so far. You don’t need me to tell you about it, as I’ve told you this story many times over.
But, something really cool happened today.
I was on a sales call with a current client. This is a client we already serve who is interested in bringing in more business to our company.
As we were finishing up the call, the CEO complimented me on my team. He said …
“The best thing about working with you is that I never have to speak with you. Your team does not mess around.”
It made me feel so good. Like … indescribably good.
Every business has advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage of building an agency business is the cash flow. Agencies don’t require upstart costs and the overhead grows in relation to your revenues. So you’re always profitable and you’re always cash flow positive.
The downside is that it’s very difficult to create a standardized product or service. No matter how much you want to “productize” an agency, the reality is that every client will have nuances and idiosyncrasies that you need to pay attention to. There is no one size fits all.
This can be very challenging. You’re constantly on your toes and you have to pay attention to detail, because every customer is the most important customer.
In the early years, Bryan and I recognized this. We recognized that young millennial wanna-be tech dorks were terrible at service. They would talk to business owners with distain, as though they understood some top secret techno-babble and were too pretentious to explain what they were doing for their customers in exchange for the hard earned money their customers were paying them.
I hate this. I grew up in a blue collar family and I value a dollar. Taking people’s money is something I take very seriously. The least you can do is give your customers the time and respect required to explain things to them, listen to them, and execute on the favors and tasks they ask of you.
It’s not that big of a deal.
As such, Bryan and I made a commitment to ourselves from the very beginning. Even before we had a legit business, Bryan and I committed to “no bullshit.”
We tell our customers the truth
We serve our customers and we answer their questions, even if those questions are annoying
If a customer wants to cancel their contract, we don’t hold them hostage or whine and moan about it. We assist in transferring whatever information is needed and we do it with poise and grace.
We don’t mess with people’s money. Customers get their moneys worth and employees get paid on time no matter what.
No bullshit. Ever.
To receive that compliment today meant more to me than just the compliment. It meant that I am having a real impact on my team. My employees and my team mates are buying into what it is I preach. They care, because caring is simply the right thing to do.
This entire year has been an emotional adjustment for me. It has felt very weird being the boss while simultaneously letting go of control.
I felt so incredibly gratified to know that the culture we instilled from the very beginning is still thriving inside the confines of our team. The wheels are now set in motion. I don’t need to be reminding people every day about our standard. They all remind each other.
It’s such a beautiful thing. It makes me feel proud in a way I can not articulate.
Leadership matters. The example you set matters. People notice. People are paying attention.