When running or owning a business there are many variables that can be unpredictable and out of your control, like the market or the actions of your customers to name a few. Because of the unpredictability that comes along with running or owning a business, it is important to build a strong team to ensure that when those unpredictable difficulties arise, you have a team that is confidently able to work together and deal with the situations positively and efficiently. Strong teams equate to higher success.
Whether you’re a construction contractor with a few employees, an equipment rental house, surface preparation equipment dealer with a sales team, or any business looking to grow and build a stronger team atmosphere, there are a few things you can do that will strengthen and grow your team and positively effect of your business.
The first step in to building a great teams starts in the hiring process. When looking to hire for a specific position, for example a sales rep position for a surface prep equipment dealer, not only do you want to look for someone who has the ability to fulfill the role successfully but you want to look for someone with the potential skills, interest, and understanding needed for a higher position, like a sales manager position. Because each new employee requires a considerable amount of invested time, effort, and money, it’s important to invest in someone who has the ability to grow and move up in the company, as well as possesses a positive, hardworking attitude that reflects what your company stands for.
Have a solid mission, and explain it well
Having a mission is one of those things that you may not feel is of any importance, but don’t be fooled; having a solid mission, and explaining it well, helps direct the attitudes in your work environment and supports the goals you have set.Your employees need to have a good understanding of what you want to achieve and how to want to go about doing it.
Explain the Importance of Quality Customer Service, and Provide Clear Expectations of How to Provide It
The most successful companies make customer satisfaction a priority. If you’re main goal in starting and growing a company is making money, then it is inevitable that you’ll run into many difficulties in achieving that goal. If you’re main goal is providing a quality product paired with exceptional customer service, you will stand out from other business in your industry. Honest actions, speak volumes and is often the deciding factor for many customers. I’m sure you can think of a personal experience where you experienced quality customer service, and an experience where you didn’t. When given a choice, people are more likely to return to the company that offered quality customer service, than to the one that didn’t. Make sure your employees understand when and how to keep customers and potential customers satisfied, including how much or little they’re able to do. For example, are you on call 24 hours a day? Do you offer free delivery? Do you offer equipment demos? Are they allowed to give free discounts? Etc.
Defining what “Quality Customer Service” looks like in your company, and providing clear expectations and guidelines on how to provide it, will make a massive difference in how your company is viewed.
Have Clear Goals, Expectations and Defined Roles
Many employers wonder why and how, promising new hires can quickly become average and unmotivated. Most of the time it is because they did not have the appropriate expectations clearly set. Aside from customer service, it is important to establish clear expectations and goals for how you want the company, or departments to run, which processes need to be followed and when, and the consequences of not achieving what’s required, or not appropriately following the processes that are laid out. Having clear defined roles that are easy to
understand so that everyone knows what they need to do, and how to do it on a daily basis, as well as when difficult situations may arise. Without clearly defined roles, expectations or goals, your employees will lack direction and understanding of where and how you want to grow your company, and how they are involved, which leads to a lot a wasted time and can seriously damage the work environment and the progress of each employee individually, as well as the company as a whole.
Also, if you have the roles clearly defined, everyone will know who is doing what so your employees know who to ask for help when applicable, you’ll prevent overlap work or confusion, and if a problem arises, you’ll be better able to pinpoint where are what it is and how to fix it.
Have Quality, Well Managed Processes
Processes are misunderstood and underused in many companies. Having well thought out and well executed processes within your business will make a world of difference on how smoothly and effectively your business will run. Whether it’s how to properly write and record a quote, how to follow up with a customer, or how to order specific products, it’s important to have a process that is effectively explained and easy to follow. Without quality, well managed processes, organization becomes more difficult and you can end up limiting the amount of growth you’re capable of.
I’ll give you a short explanation of one of the many processes we have at Bartell as an example. Our Blog writing process extends way beyond simply writing, and publishing. It begins with brainstorming, then research, first draft, and then is passed through various people and editing steps until a final written copy is agreed upon. Then, there is the visual design aspect (i.e. pictures and formatting the blog), and lastly publishing and promoting it in the applicable places like social media, blog subscriber and marketing emails etc. This process has been fine-tuned over a period of time, and we are constantly keeping an open mind on how to improve it. It’s allowed us to increase the amount of blogs we publish and has helped us to provide better quality and more educational content. There is always room for improvement but quality processes help you to find what needs improvement so you can work towards ironing out the kinks to improve your success.
Always Be Learning and Training
We live in an age of continuous growth and development. There is constantly new technology and ideas being produced and released. It is so incredibly important to make sure that you are continuously learning about your industry and market, as well as continuously training your staff. The last thing you want, is to be left behind while your competitors advance with the industry and the market. The internet has almost unlimited credible educational recourses. Additionally, working with manufacturers or other companies that produce educational or industry relevant content is an awesome resource as well.
Build Trust With, and Between Team Members
Trust may seem like an obvious concept but building and maintaining trust with and between your workers can be harder than it seems. It’s important to maintain an atmosphere of open honest communication. That includes making sure your employees feel comfortable sharing their problems, concerns, and giving feedback, even if it may be negative. The moment trust starts faltering, the relationships will follow.
Value and Empower Employees' ideas
Your employees are the ones doing the “hands on” type of work. They’re out in the field, on the job site, dealing with the customers, whatever the case may be, they are doing the “dirty work” so to speak. Making sure your employees feel valued is incredibly important. If employees feel valued, they are more likely to work harder and go above and beyond. They’re more likely to invest in the company if they feel invested in, which builds a stronger team and promotes successful and positive attitudes.
Secondly, because your employees are dealing with a lot of the ground level issues, listening and empowering their ideas for improvement or advancement is incredibly important. Although not all ideas are feasible, you would be surprised at how many are helpful and beneficial. Your team will be more motivated to work together to help improve and work through problems if they feel as though they are being heard and their suggestions are taken seriously; which ultimately builds a stronger more successful team environment.
Corrective Action Doesn’t Have to be Negative
People make mistakes, we all know that, but it’s important to have the mindset that not all corrective action is a negative thing. If you can approach corrective action as learning opportunity for both you and the employee(s) involved, you are more likely to maintain a positive relationship with your team and grow from the situation. If employees feel safe coming to you when mistakes have been made, you have a better opportunity to teach those involved a better way of handling the situation in the future, as well as rectifying the situation faster and more efficiently.
Although these are not the only things required in building a strong team and having a successful business, they are just a few tips that many people don’t realize are a benefit to building a successful team and often don’t implement. All of these tips will look slightly different depending on the industry, business, and the people involved but all will be beneficial if used effectively.