279: Why business IS NOT all about finding good people

279: Why business IS NOT all about finding good people
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Too many entrepreneurs are looking to hire people that care about their business as they do; they want self-starters that are willing to solve difficult problems and be completely dedicated to the company. That may work in the tech world, but it doesn’t work for normal businesses. The key to success is not about building a business around superstars, the key is building a business that average people can operate. Successful entrepreneurs hire average employees and set up a system to deliver a great product to customers, they build processes to make every job simple and repeatable.

If you run around complaining about not being able to find good people, that’s a copout to make yourself feel better for your own failure. Focus on simplifying roles so that people don’t need special skills or strong decision-making to be successful. Unsuccessful entrepreneurs will have unhappy employees that aren’t provided with the tools they need to succeed at their job. You need to make it clear what is expected of each employee and what is needed for their job.

Look at McDonald’s they’ve built an entire kitchen system that anybody can function in. That’s why a team of teenagers behind the counter can deliver food quickly and consistently, because of the processes in place. Early on in our student storage business, we expected employees to do 20+ different tasks including loading and unloading trucks, creating invoices, driving trucks, and handling customer service. We succeeded by taking things off of their plate–we outsourced scheduling to one remote worker, we provided business cards for drivers to hand to customers for any customer service needs, we simplified the invoice creation process, and hired employees at a warehouse to load and unload trucks.

This level of simplification can be hard to do early on when you can only afford a small number of heads. At that point, you either need to simplify your offering–maybe just one variation of your service instead of five–or hire ahead of growth until you have the scale to specialize key roles. However, the focus remains on asking each employee to do 5 things well, not 20. Your employees will look like A players when you give them the tools to do it.

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I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.