The photo you saw at the top of this page means a lot to me. It’s a picture of my staff and I when we had our first year-end meeting after I took over Can-Seed Equipment in 2015.
I tend to get choked up when I talk about that day, because the memory makes me think of how important people are in what I do. The day this photo was taken, I had got my staff together to thank them personally for meeting some targets I had set that, frankly, I thought were more than a little unrealistic. But they went over and above the call of duty and made it happen.
As a business owner, I have a lot of sleepless nights. I find my brain doesn’t turn off. You’re constantly thinking about how you can do things better, and what you need to do to make them better.
It weighs on you very much. When I ask myself why, I realize it’s because I love the people I work with, both my employees and my customers. I’m in the people business, primarily. Without my staff and customers, I’m nothing.
Once you recognize that, you open the door to being a better human being and a better businessperson.
At the customer level, it’s all about relationship-building and earning trust. I’m in sales, but it’s not always about making more money. I don’t want to sell someone something they don’t need. Don’t lie to people. Tell them the truth. That’s easier than putting a white lie out there and having to remember everything you said in order to keep up appearances, which can often happen in the business world.
I constantly remind myself that customers are people first, and customers second.
Of course, as I alluded to earlier, staff are just as important, if not more so, as customers. We’re like a family. Everyone goes the extra mile and without them, I wouldn’t have a company. Everyone in this company has a unique role to play, and that’s needed for our success.
I care about my staff, and I know they care about me. Over the last 18 months, we’ve grown at such a fast rate that I’ve come to realize there is such a thing as growing too fast. The business world has come to believe that growth is always good, and you can’t have too much of it. I’m not sure about that.
At Can-Seed, we’ve actually been growing too fast in our business, to the point where I have to pull back a bit and say, “Whoa, let’s slow down.” When you get to a point where you’re going so fast and trying to please everyone, you start to see cracks showing. And that’s not good for business.
I have some good mentors that I bounce ideas off of and rely on for support. I just had a call with one this morning. I said, “You know, I’m trying to slow down a bit, to make sure I’m able to support my customers properly and give them what they need, rather than trying to keep up this pace and end up hurting my business in the process.”
People are everything. My daughter is just getting ready for university — she was just accepted a month ago. She’s stuck on what she wants to do for a living. I advised her to pick something she’s going to love, because that’s the path to happiness.
I can’t explain how much I love what I do right now. By being involved with all my customers and staff at such a personal level, business is amazing. And that means that life in general is amazing, too.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.