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  • Writer's pictureJoel Thiessen

Let's Talk Value

When I was a 15 year-old kid, I worked for FootLocker. My brother’s best friend was the manager and he needed staff fast and I had just quit my job at McDonalds. He offered me a sales position on November 15th, but he promised that I would be let go at the end of December. It was a one-month temporary position. I had never done sales before and made some absolutely amazing mistakes (don’t tell a potential customer they don’t know what’s best for them, even if it’s true), but I learned one thing in that job that has made me successful everywhere else that I went.

At the end of December, I had outperformed every other salesperson in the store. This made my manager reconsider firing me. He said, “Joel, great job. We are going to keep you around until the end of January. So in January, I worked as hard as I could again. This month was more about cleaning the store than selling because it was a slow period, but at the end of January, Trent said, “Joel, great job this month. We are going to keep you until the end of February, but I can’t guarantee you many hours.” This went on until June when things started to pick up and he gave me a permanent job.

When a member of the management team left, who did he look at promoting? The person who had worked as hard as they could for more than 6 months. Who had already learned how to close the store and do most of the things that the management team was expected to do. It was a no-brainer for my manager. I was already doing the job. He didn’t need to train me in the role!

What did I learn that I now pass on to people? You are not employed, you are under contract. What do I mean by that? You are always under contract and if the company needs to let go of somebody, it will ALWAYS be the person who is providing the least amount of value for the price that the company is paying. Employment is not a guaranteed job, it is an opportunity to show the company that you are good at what you do. It’s a chance to show them what they were missing without you.

If you are gone, will they miss you? … or will they replace you with somebody else? My mother was a bookkeeper for a small NPO in a small town in the middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is amazing at what she does, but when she left that job to start her own bookkeeping firm, they had to hire more than one person to replace what she did for the NPO. She provided value that was on the level of two people.

When you start a job, learn how to do that job the best that it can be done by you. Once you know how to do your job, ask your boss if you can help them with their job if you have time. Generally, everybody in the company above you is overworked, so by helping them you are giving them the time to do the rest of their job at a higher level than before. This increases their job performance and their chances of getting promoted. Who do you think they will replace themselves with? If you already know aspects of the job and are the reason their quality of work has increased, you are the no-brainer for promotion.

You aren’t an employee or a contractor, but you own a business. Congratulations, now you have to get clients. How do you get clients and keep them? The same principle applies. I run the call center at Legacy Innovative. We ask, how can we make another business owner’s life easier? This is the core of how we received our clients.

If you are getting clients, but are unable to keep them, then you may need to look at what you are offering and the value that you have created for them.

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