When Your Business Grows, Remember the Little People

by on July 7, 2011


Growing your business

When a person becomes successful, it seems like suddenly they’re too busy dealing with the higher echelons to take time out for the “little people”. It’s something that’s always bugged us. It was all fine and dandy for you to respond to comments and whatnot when you were a little guy, but now that you’re big…

It’s something we’ve been thinking a lot about lately, because we’re growing. We’re taking on bigger jobs, bigger companies and more work. Along with this growth, come questions like:

  • How can we continue to write our blogs personally?
  • Will we still be able to moderate the blog at the same level of attention?
  • How can we continue to build our relationships?
  • What will fall by the wayside?

We’re facing the possibility that we may not be able to do all the things we’ve been doing: things that make a business more approachable, more human – friendlier.

Today, we’d like to discuss the idea of “remembering the little people”. Not just for your benefit, as your business continues to grow, but also as a reminder to us. Because one day, someone might be complaining about us – how we were cool with commenting and sharing while we were a small company, but now that we’re big…

You Didn’t Build the Business On Your Own

Wherever you are in your business goals right now, you didn’t do it all by your lonesome. Maybe you have friends and family that support you. Maybe you have good employees.

You didn't do this on your own!!

Maybe, the “little people” you need to remember are the old bosses you had. Those who, by their actions, forced you into a position of “I’m not going to take it anymore.” So, you packed up your professional bags and took them on the road. You hung out your freelancer or entrepreneur sign and settled into the business of running a business.

Or, maybe the “little people” are your clients and customers. They bought your product, contracted your services, or otherwise invested their trust and money in your brand. It’s a big leap of faith for them to do that – to complete that first order.

Or even you – yeah, you. Because you’re one of the little people, right now, at this time in your business. You’re working the long hours, struggling to figure out how to do it all, fighting that uphill battle. You’re wishing one of those “higher ups” would answer a question and give a helping hand.

Don’t ever forget where you are right now – no matter how far you go.

Why Remembering is So Important for You and Your Business

You didn’t think we’d write a blog without adding info for you to use, did you? Other than keeping you on solid ground sans swelled head, what good does remembering do?

  • Friends and family – Believe it or not, a lot of successful business people aren’t so successful in life. They put so much energy into building a business, into their meaning of professional success, that there just isn’t much left over for anything – or anyone – else.

The Takeaway – Don’t neglect friends and family. If for no other reason, than that a business won’t keep you warm and laughing when you’re old. When you unplug for the day, really unplug. Put your business thoughts to bed. Turn off your phone; step away from the computer. You need the break, and they need your undivided attention.

  • Employees and crappy bosses – Why remember a bad boss? Why dredge up old memories? Often, the motivating force behind people “becoming their own boss” has to do with their previous encounters with professional authority. A good employee is hard to find. Yet some business owners forget, and use sentences like, “You’re replaceable.” It’s true, but then, bosses are replaceable, too.

The Takeaway – Good employees help your business grow. They help you with the “grunt work”. They talk to clients, to customers, to potential partners – all to grow your business. Don’t forget what it was like when you were the employee. The more you treat your employees with respect, the more they’ll be willing to go that extra mile that is so often needed.

  • Customers and clients – The people who buy your product or pay for your services are the backbone of your company’s growth. You can’t be successful without them.

    We love our clients!!

The TakeawayTreat your customers like friends whenever possible. Thank them when they take that final step of payment, or the extra step of connecting with you. Although some businesses have NDAs, eCommerce sites might offer to connect using #newcustomer, for example. Let them feel like they’re an important part of the business, because they are!

  • You – Listen. Without “you”, you can’t do any of it. Don’t ever forget that, although you’re a vital part of the company, you aren’t the company itself.

The Takeaway – Cut yourself some slack once in awhile. Accept that, darn it, you’re human, and you’re allowed to be human. You’re allowed to rest occasionally and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor. It’s not illegal to pause for a day!

Conclusion

All of the people above, all of the so-called “little” people, helped get you where you are. You didn’t do it on your own; remember that others helped you along the way, no matter who they are or how they did it. That’s why we say:

When all is going well with your business, when comments are pouring into your blog, when you no longer have to ask for retweets and your bank account is flush with greenie success – remember the “little people”.

Now’s your chance, and we’d love to hear your stories. Tell us about someone who has made a difference in your business or outlook on life!



{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex Aguilar July 9, 2011 at 11:41 pm

In traditional businesses the CEO and upper echelons of a company often insulate themselves from the working stiffs by deal only with management and sending out memos and edicts to rest of the company. This model doesn’t translate very well in an online business – the strength of any online enterprise depends on the interaction between the author/webmaster/marketer and the visitors. The success of the site rests on how well the “boss” directly handles clients.

Of course, if the blog explodes in popularity you can always get guest bloggers or hire someone to help with the day to day maintenance, but you still need to be intimately involved with the ‘little people’ if you want stay successful.

Reply

JRPittman July 11, 2011 at 9:41 am

“..the strength of any online enterprise depends on the interaction between the author/webmaster/marketer and the visitors.” Excellent point, Alex – the fact that the “traditional” ways won’t work online is one that a lot of companies seem to be missing.

As well, thanks for the tip. Mainly, we DO know we don’t want to be posting nothing but guest posts. “Intimately involved” is a good description of how we want to stay.

Thanks for commenting!

Reply

Dean Saliba July 8, 2011 at 6:37 am

I like to think that I have become successful at what I do and I have never forgotten the people I met on my way. In fact that is a major feature of my blog, I publish posts that helps the new guy to get ahead. :)

Reply

JRPittman July 8, 2011 at 8:31 am

I like your blog, Dean – you’ve definitely chosen a wonderfully laid back writing style. Very much in tune with “helping the new guy get ahead”.

I have to admit, I was especially interested in your post “SEO Can Kiss My Blogging Ass“. As an optimizer, I can’t help but wonder what steps you tried that failed so miserably as to give you such a bad taste in your mouth. For instance, did you ever do any keyword research?

Just being nosy, of course. :D Thanks for commenting!

Reply

David Christian-Woodruff July 8, 2011 at 1:12 am

This is something that really ought to be taken more seriously by companies on the upward march. All too often, as you say, the customer service and attention to detail that was so prevalent when they were a smaller company, gets pushed to one side as they see the money rolling in. Perhaps it’s greed or laziness, perhaps it’s just that they don’t have time, but either way, what every company needs to remember is that prior to them being a huge success, it was their initial caring nature and attention to detail that made them get to where they are.
Personally speaking, no matter the pressures or the difficulties of the tasks in hand, maintaining a relationship with the ‘little people’ is a key part of ensuring that every project I undertake is as positive an experience for the client as it is for myself.

Reply

JRPittman July 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

Every time we turn on Askimet, a great comment has to be dug out of spam, which is where I found yours, David. Glad I caught it before deleting. :D

“..prior to them being a huge success, it was their initial caring nature and attention to detail that made them get to where they are.” <– Amen to that!

There’s a huge trend happening, and a lot of companies are missing it. Thanks in large part to social, there are a large amount of consumers out there that want to connect with a person behind the company wall. They want to talk to “Jan” in accounting or “Bob”, that nice gentleman who convinced them to buy the vacuum cleaner.

Although the good old days are seldom as golden as we remember them, the days of the handshake are back. Granted, it’s a digital handshake, but the same type of connection applies here.

Companies that miss the shift in the social paradigm are, sadly, going to be left behind.

Thank you for your great comment!

Reply

David Christian-Woodruff July 11, 2011 at 12:41 am

You’re more than welcome, it’s nice to see such an important issue being raised and forced into the limelight. Like I said, all too often, small or little people get easily forgotten for the prospect of more cash, so getting back online with the ‘digital handshake’ era, is imperative.

Reply

Wasim Ismail July 8, 2011 at 12:37 am

Many of the times, where we get to is because of the help from others around you, whether it maybe, family, friends, work colleges, they contribute in some way or another. Even it maybe your neighbour helping you out baby site while you are out in meetings, and when things go well, many times we never thank the people that helped us out, it maybe a neglectfulness from our end, but remembering your roots is essential, thanks for reminding us in this article.
Regards

Reply

JRPittman July 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

Thanks for commenting, Wasim. For the most part, I don’t think people are intentionally “moving on and up”, away from those that helped. I think it’s more what you mentioned – neglectfulness. We get so caught up in the daily grind of getting that next customer, commission, and client that we forget others are helping us succeed.

Excellent response, Wasim – thanks again!

Reply

Sachin Sharma July 7, 2011 at 1:39 am

I am an employee and I do understand this post clearly.

Reply

JRPittman July 8, 2011 at 8:17 am

I do hope that, as an employee, you have a boss that remembers your work, Sachin. Thanks for commenting!

Reply

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