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Edition 213 – Taking Charge

Camden is my closest shopping village. It’s 3 kilometres from home, so it’s always been very convenient for me personally and for business.

In recent months, I’ve been trying out the various coffee places in Camden. Goodness knows there’s plenty. I’ve settled on one and I head in at different times of the day and the week. Sometimes it is early on a weekend morning, after I’ve fired up the Falcon XR8 Sprint and taken it for a short drive on the country roads near home. At other times, it is during the week, when I drop in and grab a quick coffee in between meetings or share lunch with a client or colleague.

Let me tell you, this place hums! It is busy most of the time, even if I’ve managed to grab pole position on a Saturday morning. There’s a variety of patrons – families with young children, twenty-somethings, retirees, business types and, occasionally, dogs.

For me, it has been interesting to observe how this business is run.

I don’t know the owner, but I’ve seen him in action and in my opinion, is the key reason why this place is successful. Here’s why:

  1. He holds his team accountable, respectfully.
  2. He takes charge, ensuring patrons are delivered their food and coffee as soon as possible, to the highest standard possible.
  3. He ensures that plates and cups are not left hanging around on tables once patrons depart.
  4. He’s present in the business.
  5. He engages with his customers – yet, not in a backslapping kind of way.
  6. The kitchen appears calm – I can’t hear any Gordon Ramsay moments emanating from it.
  7. He creates capacity by ensuring that things always look tidy and ordered.
  8. He doesn’t offer a huge range of food – which is smart from a stock management and customer choice perspective.

By taking charge, he has successfully created a culture in the business that you can feel when you enter. You feel appreciated for your business, and you enjoy being there. 

Sometimes, if the Saturday morning coffee drags on a little, I’m amazed at how the lines creep out the door for people wandering in for breakfast. With 14 choices around him, he’s created a business that has queues when others have empty tables. That says a lot about his leadership of his business – and it may also say a lot about how other business owners lead their own businesses.

Taking charge in your family business is about keeping your hand on the wheel. As the owner or manager, you don’t need to be doing yourself whatever it is that your business does. However, you do need to create the environment where it functions efficiently and without a sense of chaos. If you can do that, then clearly it’s why people keep coming back.

Your leadership style determines your business success. Your business success contributes to your personal and financial success. If things aren’t travelling so hot in your business right now, think about what your leadership style is like.