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You’re the backup

My father in law ran a cattle ranch in Nevada. He always stressed the importance of being able to do any job on the ranch.

He said that no business owner should ever be in a position where an employee knew how to do things that the owner could not do. What if something happens to that person or, if for whatever reason, they move on at some point.

If their job is critical to the operation, their absence could bring the whole thing to a halt.

This is not to say that having key employees is a bad idea. Obviously, any business bigger than a one-man shop is going to need people. And some of those people are going to have skills in certain areas that are important to daily operations. But no one person should be counted on for something that has to happen in order for the work to continue.

Someone has to be available to step in. If a replacement cannot be found quickly, it might be necessary for you, as the business owner, to be able to fill in or even assume the extra workload.

It’s your business. Ultimately, it’s on you to keep it running. If you can’t do what your employees can do, you could end up in trouble.

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That’s for me to know …

There have been numerous times throughout my woodworking career when people have asked me how I do this or that. Sometimes it’s just curiosity. Sometimes it’s some who wants to do it themselves and is in need of guidance. And, sometimes it’s a competitor who has underbid a job he doesn’t really know how to do.

Watch your back

In a line in one of his early songs Bob Dylan wrote, “Don’t think twice, it’s alright”. Whatever he was referring to, it was not doing business in today’s climate.

Tell the story

I have been asked about my work many times. Not any nuts and bolts stuff that I’m pretty comfortable talking about but things like how I feel about what I do or how I must love my work.

A revelation

Some years ago, I had the opportunity to hire a guy who had literally grown up in the furniture industry. He was from South Carolina and started working in a furniture plant when he was 14. He had moved to our area to take care of an ailing parent.

Who’s right?

It is often said that the customer is always right. Obviously, this is suggesting that the customer should always be accommodated in whatever he or she wants. And, to some extent this is a good policy. It can often lead to a very happy and satisfied customer. But not always.

The working interview

We are always on the lookout for talented, experienced employees. Yes, they are getting harder to find. And if we are looking for a strong work ethic, it gets even more difficult.

The reality is …

Many times, I have heard people say how much they love woodworking. Some were thinking of starting a woodworking business so that they could make a living doing what they love.

Stay in touch

There’s an old expression: Out of sight, out of mind. People will not do business with you if they do not know you are there. Even people who have done business with you in the past tend to forget about you once the current transaction is completed. Staying in sight is important.