Train Your Staff to Wear Many Hats

I’m on the road right now for a business trip. During some downtime yesterday I went to a gym to work off some pent-up energy and decompress from the meetings and constant phone calls.

It’s a nice gym; one I’ve been to before.  I like it because it has great equipment, is ran by an entrepreneur who I know (it’s not one of those chain gyms where you go in and are reminded of a scene from the movie Dodgeball) and it serves the best tasting protein shakes on the planet.

One time I asked an employee there what the secret behind the great tasty shakes is and she explained that they use almond milk. I’ve tried using almond milk at home in my protein shakes but can never seem to replicate that taste. I think she withheld a key ingredient. Anyway, back to my point.

After finishing an hour long lift, I was looking forward to grabbing one of their world-class protein shakes to reward myself. I went to the shake shack and noticed there was no one behind the counter. Bear in mind, this is a small business gym. It probably has about 20 employees total, maybe half a dozen working at one time. I looked over at the woman working at the front desk, about 12 feet away, and asked her if I could get a shake. She explained to me that the other staff member who makes the shakes wouldn’t be back until 3:30. It was 2:15.

After hearing that, I paused, somewhat confused. “Is there anyone who could make me one of your awesome shakes?” I asked.

She responded somewhat sheepishly, knowing that I was referring to her, “I’ve never made one before.”

I couldn’t believe it. The gym had only trained maybe a couple people to make these delicious protein shakes…

Shakes are a staple product for a gym to sell, and provide significant supplementary revenue for the small business. They are sold with a huge markup and are logical upsells at any gym.

Needless to say, I walked out of the gym quite disappointed and drove to a convenient store to pay nearly ten bucks for a shitty protein shake in a can.

Here’s the lesson for small business entrepreneurs: Train your employees to do multiple jobs and fill a few different roles. In this particular instance, the girl who was working the front desk (which was not busy) wasn’t trained to operate the shake shack, which sat about a dozen feet away from her post. Because of this, the gym missed out on generating revenue from one of its staple products, for at least an hour. I certainly wasn’t the only person looking for a shake during that time when the shack sat vacant.

At the end of the day, small businesses are designed to be nimble. Employees must be trained to wear many different hats within the business. It’s just the way it has to be – otherwise you run the risk, as an entrepreneur, of missing out on revenue and negative customer experiences.

Stay hungry,
Aaron Hoddinott signature




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