As a small business owner, you want to create the best experience possible for everyone who interacts with your organization—because happy customers, prospects, and employees mean better sales and increased productivity. But, sometimes knowing just how to do that can be difficult.
If you struggle with finding the best ways to serve your customers and team, this week’s podcast episode is for you! Donte Wilburn is joining us to discuss steps small business owners can take to generate positive experiences for customers and employees alike.
Donte is a serial entrepreneur. He owns several multi-million-dollar businesses including Premier Auto Detailing, Legacy Sports Club, and Legacy Courts. He mentors at-risk youth, and is an associate pastor, speaker, and author of the new book Born Hungry: You Were Made for More. Regardless of what passion he is working on, one thing remains the same: the impactful way he treats everyone he meets.
In this episode of Priority Pursuit, Donte gives us a look into how his people-centric views on business help him prioritize both his customers and employees and how you can learn to do the same for your business.
Prioritizing Customer Service
As Donte learned early on, prioritizing customer service can have a huge impact on both your small business and those you serve. When he was just starting out, Donte looked to the bible for inspiration and found it in Ephesians 4:28.
This verse states, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” To Donte, this meant that, as a small business owner, it was his job to work extremely hard to give back to others.
With this instilled in his heart, Donte knew that his business needed to be focused on people—customers and employees alike. Because of this, Donte relentlessly focuses two driving factors every day:
- How can we continue to build an organization that prioritizes customers and gives them a “wow” experience so they leave with a smile on their face?
- How can we grow the business so that our employees are happier while they are at work (payment, rewards, company incentives, etc.)?
How can small business owners prioritize their customers?
Achieving that first driving factor—prioritizing your customers—is something that requires consistent practice and thought. Donte recognizes this and works to continuously provide memorable and positive experiences by putting himself in the customers’ shoes.
To do this yourself, think through what your business offers and how, if you were the customer, your business could provide you with a “wow” experience. If you struggle with placing yourself in the customers’ shoes, Donte suggests thinking of a loved one as the customer instead.
Imagine a parent, sibling, or significant other comes to your business. How would you want them to be treated? What could your business do to make them leave with a smile on their face?
Utilizing this process can generate an array of ideas and possibilities you can try to better prioritize your customers and their experiences with your small business.
Along with focusing on creating the best experience for your customers, it’s important to put effort into creating a workplace and environment that serves your employees as well.
After starting a small business on your own, you may find yourself suddenly going from a team of one to a team of ten or even more. Oftentimes, this means you are more focused on the basics of keeping your business running rather than how you can serve your team well. Because of this, some small business owners struggle with understanding how to prioritize their employees and develop a positive work culture.
Purpose, Core Values, and Recognition
Donte’s businesses—like most small businesses—are made possible by his employees, and he knows that people are at the heart of each of his organizations.
That’s why Donte is determined to find ways to ensure that his employees are happy and growing in their positions. To do this, he focuses on three fundamental elements: purpose, core values, and recognition.
Your business’s purpose should be the foundation behind everything your small business does. Donte simplifies this by saying to think about what you want your employees to say about you and your business when they are behind closed doors. What do you want them to focus on? What do you want them to think is the main mission of your organization? With this foundational purpose in mind, you can move on to more specific core values.
The core values of your business should be what you want your employees to live and work by when they’re representing your organization. They branch off your purpose and focus on the specific qualities and culture you want your employees to try to reach. It’s important that your team knows and understands how these core values are supposed to influence their work, interactions with fellow employees, and experiences with customers.
An effective way to reinforce your core values is through recognition. If you see employees working with and reflecting your values, recognize that effort. For example, Donte has recently begun to give a monthly award to an employee who has reflected the core values through his or her work in the company. This not only creates a culture in which the values and purpose are celebrated—it also creates a culture that celebrates and prioritizes the employees themselves.
Employees that Stray from the Path
Even with your purpose and core values in place, you may have some employees who stray from the path for various reasons. Rather than simply directing them back to your core values, Donte recommends having an honest conversation with them. Sit down with your employee and ask questions until you find the root of the problem.
According to Donte—80% of the time, problems are caused just by the way the employee is thinking. As he says, thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce actions, and actions produce results. Oftentimes, if you get to the root of what your employee is thinking, you can talk through the situation and create a more positive outlook.
Actions to Create a Positive Company Culture
Company culture boils down to establishing a clear vision and sharing it with your team. Your purpose and core values should be framed by a vision of where it is you want your company—and consequently your employees—to go.
When discussing vision, Donte goes back to the Bible and quotes Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” If your employees do not have a vision to strive for or guide them, you are likely to lose them—either from your company in general or from the path you have created through your purpose and core values. Developing and sharing this vision gives your employees the opportunity to get behind your goals and mission and connect with your business as a whole.
Next Steps You Can Take for Your Business
Donte shares that an important step any small business owner can take to further serve their team and customers well is to create a five-year plan. You need to decide where you want your business to be in five years, and then work backward to generate smaller steps and plans to get you to that point. Ask yourself, what will it take to keep your employees and your customers happy and to get to that five-year picture?
Be sure to listen to this whole episode (at the top of the page or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear more about Donte’s journey and experience. If you’d like to connect with Donte, please visit his website at dontewilburn.com. You can also connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Learn More About Donte
- Learn More About Premier Auto Detailing
- Find Donte’s New Book Born Hungry: You Were Made for More
- Save $20 on Your First order from InstaCart of $35 or More
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
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