For the last twenty-seven years, I have had moments where I have been able to spend all my time in the business and train every staff member I hired. Working alongside, guiding them every step during their training until they become the salesperson, I wanted them to be.
There have been times where I hardly worked with new staff at all, I hate to say this, but I could barely recall their names. This is embarrassing but to be honest it has happened. Fortunately, not often, but depending on what was going on in my life at the time always determined how much time I spent in the business. This is an upside of owning your business, hopefully, you can work your hours around your personal life.
Most small-business owners would agree no one works as hard in your business as yourself, and the majority of the time this thinking would be correct. It makes sense as it is our livelihood on the line, we have everything to lose or gain depending on how the business is operating. It is not necessarily we are the best at what we do, we are giving it our best because it matters.
You will get extraordinary, dedicated staff who give you everything they have, but they just will not have that bit extra you have to give, it is not critical to them in their life.
Training staff is one of the most important responsibilities we have as business owners, not only for the obvious benefit of how great staff will affect your business, but we have a duty to the staff we employ in helping them become the best employee they can be, not only for their time with us, for their future careers as well.
What we need to think about is how do we get them to be the most similar to us, how do we get them to be the person we want looking after our business when we cannot.
This is where I would like to share with you what we termed the “Photocopy Effect”.
To explain it I want you to think about a “Master Copy” of a document, the original, then I want you to picture what a copy of that master copy would look like, then imagine the copy of the master copy being copied, and continue to copy all the copies until the last copy becomes a very faded version of the “Master Copy”.
I think about my staff this way, I am the “Master Copy” I go in, train them until they become a good copy of myself, then imagine them training someone else, they then become a copy of their trainer, which can be a good copy but not quite as good as the original, they train someone and they keep being not quite as good as the person training them, if you let it go too far down your ladder they can become so faded you cannot recognise what the “Master Copy” looked like at the beginning.
This is why it is important to step in from time to time and keep training your staff, so they remain as close to the “Master Copy” as they can be.