Choose Your Friends Wisely
As Belisle has grown in the business, he has expanded both the size and scope of the business, and has become more of an integrator in many ways. He recently keynoted BFAAM’s annual meeting, and was a forceful presenter of his ideas.
When I asked him about managing a family-owned business, his answer was fairly straightforward. His response made me reflect on my own business career. I thought it might be advantageous to put up some ground rules for having friends, family and other people close to you in a small business:
1. Define each person’s role, the line of responsibility, the reporting methodology, and try not to cross those lines.
2. Always treat people with whom you have a personal relationship with respect. They deserve it, and it helps protect the personal side of the relationship.
3. Never do something for a family member or friend that they should do for themselves. It won’t help, and it probably could ruin them for future growth in the company.
4. When facing adversity, remember that it will pass, but what is said in a moment of stress can come back and haunt a relationship for many years to come.
5. In periods of high profitability, be generous. These are the people who have brought you to where you are!
Utilize Your ‘Hired Gun’
Knowing that Belisle is sales-oriented and considers himself to be a professional sales person, I asked him if he had just one really great idea on selling in the alarm industry.
He responded: “Hire the best hired gun you can find! You need someone who is on your side as a seller, who is not acting for both sides. And in the final analysis, doing it alone will cost you more than you will ever spend to get your hired gun.”
I’m not sure I would have used the term “hired gun” in describing an industry professional, but I think we all get the message. What Belisle is looking for is the best: a real game-changer who can move the company up by leaps and bounds.
Belisle has acquired this knowledge the hard way. He’s had to practice it over and over again. Sometimes you don’t always get what you pay for, but if you don’t pay for it, you always know what you will get (see “Pay for Quality, It’s Worth It ” in the October 2008 issue).
In this industry, professionalism does not come cheap, nor should it. Remember to keep in mind that when you look for commitment on the part of your business associates, it’s usually the professionals who understand where you’re going and how you expect to get there. Make sure your team consists only of the best of professionals. And when it comes to sales, get the best “hired gun” in town!
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