I started working at a supermarket in September of 2005 and quit that job in the December of 2006 when I launched Retire at 21. I learnt a lot about employees and customers in my time doing this and indeed, I would recommend that every young entrepreneur gets a “real job” - as it is vital life experience for anyone who wants to be there own boss!
Here is what I learnt:
Employees are lazy - every chance they have, they will take a break, cut corners, go missing and call in sick. I have experienced so many designers, programmers and marketers who have done a half arsed job, not been online for days on end and go for a coffee every 10 minutes.
A percentage of customers will be a pain in the arse - they can’t do anything for themselves, they expect you to do there shopping, pack their shopping, pay for them and then drive them home. After you have done all these things for them they will still complain!
Appearance is everything - every thing must be in the right place, do not make people think. This applies big time on your website, put links, logo and content where people expect to see them! (I confess, this is something I am still working on myself)
You can never please everyone - at the end of the day, customers will always complain about something, employees will never think there paid enough and no matter how easy you make it to find, someone won’t find it.
So what can we do about this?
Personally I like website businesses because it allows me to have few if any employees. Also, some entrepreneurs are drawn to the Internet simply because it is a method of keeping themselves somewhat remote from their customers - but of course this is not practical for every business.
Here are two suggestions that I have found useful - on how to make your business life flow more easily:
1) Build a support system that answers customers questions without you having to be involved. (FAQ’s) Many times you will get emailed the same question - keep a template of your reply and just “top and tail” it to suit the client, rather than writing out a new reply every time.
2) If you get asked a question repeatedly - then do a Blog Post or article that answers it
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