Having just spent the last few weeks watching my staff getting ready for our biggest show of the year – Cosmoprof North America in Las Vegas, It struck me just how hard my team works for our company. Notice how I use the term, “team and our company.” Without a doubt, one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my 30 years in this industry is that you are only as good as the team you work with. As a business owner, it is my job to lead the team; but I must also make sure that every member of that team feels valued so that they can make the fullest contribution that they can to the overall effort and most importantly they must feel like they are part of something special.
I am very fortunate that within my company as we have grown over the years I have managed to attract and keep some very key individuals that have been essential in developing what is now a multi-million dollar international business. I was thinking about how far we had come as I accepted (on behalf of all of the team at Cuccio) the Award for Vendor of the Year. This was at the Sally USA vendors’ presentation breakfast during the recent Cosmoprof Las Vegas show.
For those of you that don’t know how I started in this business, my wife Roberta and I began our venture 30 years ago with little more than $200 stock and a table on the edge of Venice beach in California. Over the years we have been through many highs and lows, including surviving earthquakes and many events that would test any business. But survive, we did.
Those that know me know that I don’t often reflect on how well we have done, but look to what challenges we have coming up next. However, this occasion has given me the opportunity to think about what I was going to say in my speech to all those people that attended the awards ceremony. I kept on coming back to the same theme as I thought of the people I had to thank for helping my wife and I get to the position we are now in and the award that we were receiving. I thought of those key people in our team and I thought of the years that they had worked with me. I realized that even though we started small, many of those people who had joined us along the way had stayed with us. Many of these people have been with me for 25 years or more and others 20 years, 15 years.
Now, if you know me (I will be visiting the Beauty show at Olympia so please come and say hello), you will know that I am a figure who knows his own mind and so I take it as the supreme compliment that I have been working with many of our team for over 20 years. Now here is the thing, I know that I work very hard in supporting my team, motivating them, pointing them in the right direction and even correcting them when necessary. I try to build a sense of purpose and of direction and I do this because the value of knowledge, experience and wisdom that my team has gained over the years is invaluable. Yes, we and I say we, have made mistakes, but we have learned from them and then grown from them. You need to make sure that you understand the value of long service and the rewards that it can bring for your business and I don’t mean complacency. You still need to challenge your team and they need to challenge you, but I think we are living in a disposable world – everything from clothes to music. You need to make sure that your staff members are not disposable, they cost you in recruitment, time to train and the time it takes for them to become an asset to your business.
Please take the advice from someone who has been lucky (and a little smart enough) to see the real value in the quality of the members of your team and the loyalty. Honesty, support and on many, many occasions; dedication beyond the expected, as your employees move from staff members to team members. I look back and also forwards in my business and I see the people who have made it the success it is today. At the end of the day without them, we wouldn’t have achieved anywhere near as much.