When Work No Longer Feels Like Work
“It’s important, that aspect of recognizing the availability of expertise and resources, but we have to have the confidence and willingness to ask for help.” – Kyle Willis (31:50)
Marketing from the Roosevelt Room
Growing a company, and the staff to go with it, is not unlike growing a family.
The phrase “company culture” gets thrown around a lot in marketing circles. But what does it take to build a company that really thrives as its own functional family unit?
This is a concept Andrew Considine knows a lot about from his experience building Small Batch Cigars and its tight-knit staff dynamic.
Building a solid brand, and team, begins with innovation. Small Batch has owned this concept in its effort to shine a spotlight on boutique cigar companies and help them tell their stories. The cigar community is a close community. In fact, Andrew’s online business was birthed when he transitioned out of a tech job asked his favorite local cigar shop about making a website.
From there, the mission became giving small cigar companies a platform and customers unique and excellent service. Word spread easily through online cigar communities without any big marketing push.
Building a strong business requires patience and strategic planning.
“These guys went to my wedding. These are guys that I go out to dinner with. And I think the team that I built, I don’t really view them as employees.” – Andrew Considine. (14:35)
If there were ever a story to echo the adage, “don’t quit your day job,” this is it. Andrew gave Small Batch the time it needed to grow, supported by capital from his other job until the time came naturally for him to fully transition to his new venture. He moved into the new phase confident that Small Batch had grown enough to serve as a solid income source.
The staff of Small Batch is unique. The feeling throughout the company is more like an afternoon with family than a stressful day at work. Cigar shops are most often hubs for conversation, relaxation, and general good vibes, an atmosphere Andrew encourages. In fact, most of his employees began as customers and moved smoothly into their careers.
The barrier between boss and employee is there, but it’s intuitive. Because the company culture is familial and comfortable blending professional with personal, egos are kept at a minimum and knowledge is shared freely. This is also, as it turns out, an excellent way to keep your employees. In the years since Small Batch Cigars was established, they have maintained a 100% retention rate.
Celebrating individual skill sets is the key to a happy staff.
“Part of the secret sauce of what we do is we care about our customers and we care about each other. There’s a balance there.” – Andrew Considine. (28:08)
Within the work environment, each staffer is praised for his individual strengths, in the knowledge that he’ll lean into what he does best and continually improve as a team member. No one is expected to start out perfect, and everyone is empowered in a way that makes initiative easy.
Decisions are a group effort, with employees kept in the loop and consulted about the company’s trajectory, large decisions that need to be made, or simple task delegation. And when someone inevitably drops the ball, Andrew approaches the subject in a caring and supportive way, rather than coming down hard on the person who came up short. When your employees feel supported and cared for, they’re much less likely to bring up issues in the future. The barrier between employer and employee can remain intact, without being overly rigid.
All these components come together to form a team that radiates care, both for the customer and for each other.
This team mentality is definitely unique and may seem like a foreign way to operate a business. However, when you invest time and energy into building a cohesive team, the results will filter down to your customers, creating a brand and business that continually gains success and momentum. Take a look at your team structure this week. Perhaps there are small changes you could make to begin fostering a greater level of healthy connection, and building a team that wants to stand by your business for years to come.
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