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5 Things Gordon Ramsay Taught Me About Running a Business
I have a confession. I sometimes want to be Gordon Ramsay.
Maybe it’s my first-born nature, but I think I could be really good at observing how other people do things, telling them they are doing it wrong, and then fixing it for them and cheek-kissing goodbyes. I’d furrow my brow and say things like (read with British accent) “What do you see in this mirror? I see incompetence.” Then I would throw it on the ground and say “It doesn’t matter that there are seven years of bad luck because you will be out of business in two. My gosh. The incompetence. I can’t even.” My language might be less colorful but I think I could find a nice balance of sass and common sense to find vocational success.
Though Ramsay may be a bit too salty for some, there are a few lessons that can resonate with all business leaders.
1. Think like your customers.
A sore point for many show contestants is that they have never eaten their own food or stayed in their own hotel. They have no concept of what their customers are experiencing, which leaves them puzzled as to why they are losing business. There are a lot of people’s opinions to consider in business, but ultimately it’s the client’s opinion that keeps you in business. Test run your business/product as your own client every now and then to gain better perspective. Ask for customer feedback and accept it thankfully.
2. Be nice to your staff.
“Bad bosses” are at the top of the list of reasons good employees quit.There is a bit of a balancing act as a boss, you can’t be everyone’s BFF, but if you fail to treat your staff with consideration and respect, you will lose them. Make sure a healthy culture is a part of your business plan. Scrum meetings or weekly check-ins can go a long way in making sure your staff is and feels heard. Also a heavy-weight, two simple words: thank you. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.
3. Do things well.
Anything worth doing is worth doing right. It’s easy enough to just show up, a little more effort to do exactly what is asked or required of you, but if you survey successful entrepreneurs, you will see that they don’t just do things. They do things well. They perform each task as if it really matters. One example of this is Disney. Take a look at their employee qualifications here. Sometimes the biggest triumphs come from the smallest of details.
4. Owning a business does not automatically make you owner of all aspects of the business.
It is important to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and to delegate accordingly. Read books, listen to podcasts, continue to learn your industry. Hire competent people and then let them do their job. That said, good leaders also understand that there is no place for ego in a successful company. Some of the best leaders are the ones who are entitled to a corner office yet not too entitled to take out the trash.
5.You can fail or succeed, but you must decide.
Every business owner will face a crossroads. Likely multiple times. We will have the decision of giving in to defeat, or buckling up and figuring out what it takes (then doing it) for success. Time spent crying or sticking our heads in the sand in denial is time better used for finding and implementing solutions.
Ramsay may be a smidge over the top but a top to bottom business audit can actually be a tremendous help. We like tough love as much as the next crew, but we prefer to conduct consultations over a nice cup of coffee and a friendly chat. Until then, if you want to catch Ramsay in action, you can catch several of his shows on Hulu.