Bread Business Blog

   Return to blog

I am honored to present a guest post by the chairman of Great Harvest Bread Co., Nido Qubein. Dr. Qubein is also the president of High Point University and a very busy man! He serves as advisor to some of America's best organizations sharing his extensive business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit to help their companies grow and thrive. 


Scientists have been tantalizing us for more than a decade with the idea that we may someday be able to clone ourselves -- to create carbon copies of ourselves. It's an interesting idea, but even if it were possible to make exact duplicates of ourselves, I'm not sure that would be the best thing to do.

One of the greatest advantages of working through other people is that they have strengths and talents we don't have. Another advantage is that, if we get the right people, they can help to provide a healthy balance for us.

Great Harvest Hillsboro, OR photo
I firmly believe that the only way any of us can reach our full potential as professionals is to surround ourselves with capable, enthusiastic, and committed people. Yet, working through others can be one of the most frustrating, time consuming, and exhausting challenges you'll ever face. In fact, I've heard many colleagues say that the greatest source of stress in their whole operation comes from working with the people on their team.

bakery owner photoRunning your own franchise business requires that you bring like-minded, trustworthy people onto your team. Surrounding ourselves with people that we can delegate to and learn from is often difficult though.

Part of the problem is that by nature we tend to think that no one else can do things the way we'd do them, and that no one else cares about our organization or our customers the way we do.

Both of these assumptions may be correct, but thinking like that can severely limit your own career growth. The fact is, we need other people. So how can we clone ourselves through other people? By investing enough time upfront to find the right people and making sure they are being hired for clearly defined functions.

Probably the most common mistake managers make in hiring is jumping too quickly, especially when they are expanding. They have an idea and they want to get rolling on it. So they interview the available candidates and pick what they think is the best of the bunch. If it doesn't work out, they often find the pain of changing to be greater than the pain of staying the same and they settle for mediocrity instead of taking firm action to correct it.

There is no room for mediocrity when running your own business, but having the power to control your own destiny is one of the most exciting reasons that people buy a franchise in the first place. By making informed hiring decisions and cultivating your team to think and act like you, it becomes easier to task others with handling things you may have otherwise done yourself.

whole wheat bakers photo

The second most common mistake managers make in hiring is they fail to think through specifically what they want the new person to do. They reason that as long as a person has some experience, has a good work ethic, and has strong values, I can always teach them the specifics of our business.

That sounds good, doesn't it? But don't count on it working out. For example: If you find a salesperson who was a superstar in a large company selling tangible products, it's dreaming to assume that person is going to work out in a small organization selling intangible services.

I've always found it extremely helpful to draw up a complete list of functions I expect a candidate to do, and rate them by priorities. Then I try to visualize each candidate actually doing those things. Sometimes, it's even helpful to work with the person on a temporary or freelance basis for a while to see how well his or her skills and traits fit my needs. New franchise owners may find this to be an incredible valuable step when deciding who they want to hire.

bakers smiling
The more crucial the position you're interviewing for, the more helpful these tactics become. Of course, you can't always guarantee that you're getting the right person, no matter how deliberate and thorough you are. But the better you understand what you want a person to do, and the more carefully you search for the right person to do it, the better your chances of choosing a winner.

bread crew

Owning your own business is an exciting proposition that allows endless possibilities for success. By creating the perfect team to meet your goals, your employees will carry your torch for you allowing you to focus on the critical components of achieving greater profitability.

 

Interested in learning more about owning your own small business?

Discover Business Ownership with Great Harvest

I'm Debbie Huber. I love great bread, nice people and authentic businesses. As a veteran employee at Great Harvest, I've met amazing small business owners and eaten a lot of whole wheat bread. I've even baked it myself, and there is not much in life that is more immediately satisfying than pulling trays of your own bread out of the oven. Except maybe watching people put butter on a steaming slice, enjoy that first bite and say "wow! Just like my grandma used to make..." or "this is whole wheat? But it tastes so good..." In my free time I enjoy exploring Montana, golfing with my family and teaching business-related classes as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Montana - Western.