Would You Hire You?

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Would you hire you?

A friend and I were talking recently about Michael Gerber’s seminal book, The E-Myth Revisited, and that got us talking about the by-now-almost-cliched concept of “working on the business” rather than “working in the business.” The basic idea is that a baker (to use Gerber’s example) decides to open a bake shop, and then spends all her time baking rather than running a baking business. To grossly oversimplify, Gerber is saying that, as business owners, we need to step back from being a “technician” within the business and look at it from a larger, more entrepreneurial perspective.

I propose we step back even further, and look at our businesses not as technicians, not as entrepreneurs, but as customers.

I know this isn’t a new concept—the idea of looking at your business through your customer’s eyes—but when was the last time you actually did it? If it’s been over a week, then perhaps this will be a gentle reminder to get out of your chair and go do it!

award winning performanceTake a look at your web site. If you went there as a first-time prospect, what would your impression be? Does it accurately reflect your business and personality? To many—maybe even most—potential customers, your web site gives them the first clues of what the experience of working with you will be like. Is your site indicative of that experience? If I go to your web site and I find it disorganized, confusing, and all about you, then I’m going to assume that working with you will be a similar experience. If I then go to your competitor’s web site and find it welcoming, user-friendly, and more about me and my needs, then I’ll make a completely different assumption. And your competitor will get the business.

The same is true of your letterhead, your business cards, and your e-mail signature line. As you’re thinking about all of those, ask yourself this question:

What will a customer, or a potential customer, need to know at the moment they’re looking at this (or listening to this, in the case of a voice mail greeting) to make it easy for them to do business with me?

Why give the customer a reason to say no? And yet we do it all the time. When we don’t return a phone call, that’s a reason for the customer to say no. When our web site is cluttered or out of date, that’s a reason for the customer to say no. When we send an e-mail announcement full of typos, that’s a reason for the customer to say no.

A neighbor of mine, Tom, recently opened a dog grooming boutique. He tells me the number one thing new customers—people who used to be customers of the competition—say when they walk in the door is, “Oh my goodness, this place is so clean!” I know Tom, and it doesn’t surprise me that his place is clean. What does surprise me is that the other places aren’t. The other places are giving their customers reasons to say no.

Actually, that doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me because most of us don’t look at our businesses the way a customer does. When Tom’s competitor—who, not surprisingly, is struggling—walks into his store, do you think he’s seeing it through the customer’s eyes?

Every time Tom walks into his store, he asks himself this question: “Would I bring my dog here?” In other words, “Would I hire me?”

Take a look around your own business today and ask yourself that same question. (“Would I hire me?,” not “Would I bring my dog here?”—although, come to think of it….)

Can you honestly answer “Yes?” Would you hire you?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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