2002 was the first time I ever had a boss tell me to do my job “as if I owned the company.” At the time it was said to me, I sort of thought I already did work like that. I knew there wasn’t anyone at the station I was running (WHBQ in Memphis) that cared more than I did. That’s what I assumed my boss meant when he said to run it like I owned it.
2007 through 2012 I had the unique opportunity to actually own part of the company, first just a monthly publication and then later two radio stations were added in. That’s when I really figured out what my boss was talking about when he said to run it like you own it. The problem is, most people will never really know a business that way, where they are concerned with every intimate detail, so it is difficult to put themselves in the owner’s shoes.
It’s been mentioned in this space many times that our world of mostly commissioned sales is very similar to having your own business. Now, while you are provided things you probably take for granted like offices, desks, phones, computers, printers, business cards, etc, if “your business” isn’t good you don’t make much, but when “your business” is going well, so are things for you financially – much like the owner of a business.
So, in our daily lives, there are a couple of things that come to mind that can put us in the mode of running our business like we are owners. The first is in negotiations, which to me is a very teachable skill. The bottom line on negotiations is that if you are giving something up, get something back.
Unfortunately, I see too many sellers willing to settle for a lesser deal just because they see it as the fastest way to get the deal closed. The real problem, of course, is now that same client is going to ask you for more and want to pay less every single time. Now, think about if you were negotiating from the perspective of the owner of the company you work for. If that were you, would you cave as easily or want as much as you can get for as long as you can get?
Something else we should be doing as if our lives depended on it (like an owner would) is customer service. We are in the renewal and referral business, so we should be wanting our clients to think we are the greatest things since sliced bread. Remember, often it is people buying the person, not the package or the number of spots, they are buying you.
I look at it as an interview each time I am seeing a client. What kind of impression would I want to put on if this person were hiring me for a job? Then, once I have built a relationship with a client, it’s about consistently exceeding their expectations. Too many try and get away with sending a couple of texts every now and then, bringing by the same bottle of wine for the holiday gift and then the one lunch when it’s renewal time. If you owned that business and saw the importance of each and every bit of revenue that comes through the door, you would want each of your clients to feel like they are the most important client you have.
Business owners, ones that are hands on and involved with everything on a day to day basis, see things differently than most of us. Trust me when I tell you that staring at budgets, bank statements and payrolls will make you see the world a whole new way. In our own little worlds, we can be fortunate that those things are all taken care of for us, but we still should look at much of what we do as if it is us who is the owner of the company.