The hour is late. You are physically and mentally exhausted when you finally take a break to grab something to eat before pouring yourself into bed so you can get up early tomorrow to do it all again. The daunting challenge of success is having enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that must get done. The “To Do Today!” list is always longer than the hours of the day will accommodate. It can be overwhelming and how often have you thought, “If there were just two of me, I could do this!”
Reaching the point where you wish you could clone yourself so you can meet the challenge of the tasks that need to be done, you recognize that you need help. Plain and simple, you need someone to do some of what you are trying to accomplish.
The question is, who? Who do you hire? What will you have them do?
Often I’ve heard, “I wish I could just clone myself,” but that is exactly what you DON’T need. Imagine you have a football team with Tom Brady on your team. He’s a great player, but do you want a whole team of Tom Bradys? How well do you think your team is going to succeed with no offensive linemen to protect him, no receivers, running backs, or even a center to snap the ball to him?
What you need is someone who excels at the things you are weak at or seem to take forever for you to get done. Someone who is just like you will have similar strengths and weaknesses. That means your business will remain vulnerable to those weaknesses. There would be no improvement in those things that you hate to do and take you forever to get done, or are only getting the bare minimum of attention because they just are not things you do well. Your clone would treat them the same as you.
Finding the right person to be an asset to your business begins with knowing what you need them to do. I’ve often been asked how to create a job description to build a great team. I tell them to start by spending an entire week writing down everything they do every day. At the end of the week rewrite the list, starting with the things you love to do down to the things at the bottom that you hate or dread having to do. Tear the list in half and hire someone to do the bottom half.
It sounds simple and maybe even a bit silly, but it’s direct and to the point. You need to hire people who excel at the things you are not as proficient at. This concept is a fundamental core aspect of true team building.
I have a business partner who knew practically nothing about the jewelry trade when I hired her. That was a huge asset for the business. She sees things more like my customers than I do. This allows her to connect with the customers quickly and have a clear understanding of what they want.
Her ability to translate what the customer wants into what I need to create has cut the back-and-forth discussion (and frustration level) down to a tenth of what it was when I was doing it myself. I am super artistic and super disorganized. Allowing her to do the organizational stuff has helped immeasurably.
It’s not that I could not do the tasks she does, but I cringe at the thought of having to. I could not accomplish what she does with the level of detail, speed, and accuracy. She is a wiz with her spreadsheets, whiteboards, forms, etc. I let her run with her ideas and put trust in her opinion, input, and feedback. I am free to focus my attention on my design, bench work, and marketing.
Once a week we sit down and coordinate our work. The day-to-day communication is always there, but this weekly meeting is a vital key to our success. It is about teamwork. In a closed-door meeting, where we have no distractions, we review every job in-house. We discuss everything from workflow, pricing, supplies, sourcing, and marketing to opportunities for improvement or growth. The two or three hours we spend each week making sure our team is on the same page with everything has proven to be profitable and effective. Orders don’t fall through the cracks or get lost in the shuffle. Efficiency continues to rise. The business continues to grow.
Lately, the forums have seen a lot of conversations about the conflicts between bench jewelers and store owners. They need each other, but they both need to acknowledge and respect each other.
Bench jewelers and store owners typically have different work habits and job expectations. The very successful stores have learned how to make the differences work to their advantage. Store owners face a lot of challenges keeping the doors open and all the bills paid.
I knew one owner who frequently charged the weekly payroll bills to his own credit card just to make sure it was covered and his employees got paid on time. That sort of stress causes a lot of pressure to come down the line to the bench jeweler to get more work done faster.
In the owner’s mind, the faster the work is done, the faster the money to pay the bills will get into the bank. However, that everything is an urgent rush puts a lot of extra stress on the bench jeweler.
Can you imagine sitting there with a hammer and punch trying to form the prongs and tighten up on this rock that is worth years of your salary? Diamonds are hard, but treat them wrong and they will break.
This is just part of the day-to-day stress bench jewelers have to deal with. Treating the gems with the care they need and the urgent speed the store owner needs. When both realize they are on the same team and work together, then both of them and the business can profit from it.