If you’re not busy, you’re in trouble.
I walked into a restaurant over the weekend (ok, ok, there may have been buffalo wings on the menu), and it was emptier than a Saturday matinee of Dude.
The hostess was reading US Weekly, and when I walked up and asked to be seated, I got the ol’ ‘sighing-eyes’ of, “I was so happy to be reading about Kim Kardashian’s bad fashion choices and big butt, and now I have to stop what I’m doing and help this guy who kind of reminds me of Mike Dukakis.”
I saw a managerial/owner-type working a cash register nearby (or not working it, I should say, since there weren’t many people paying or ordering anything). She, unlike her “over-it” employee, looked a little worried about something.
And when she practically jumped up and down and did a Bring It On-like cartwheel at the sight of me, an actual customer, I realized what had her so worried . . . and it was the exact opposite of what the employee was relishing.
The employee loved it when it wasn’t busy.
The manager was scared poop-less.
You’ve been there, yourself, right? Annoyed that your phone rings. Bugged that you’ve got to rush something for your boss for a new client. I know I was like that at times, back when I was working for a company, and not running one.
But the truth is, if your company isn’t busy, your job could be in jeopardy. Gulp!
It’s common for employees, especially those that are long term employees (think long running shows), to forget that down-business, could mean that your business gets shut down.
Did that hostess at the restaurant really want it to be dead? So dead that maybe she gets laid off and the bartender, or the manager seats people? No. She had US magazines to buy (and in all seriousness, she had tuition to pay, as she told me later).
This is why I’m such a believer in open-book producing. Making sure your employees understand when you are doing well (and rewarding them), and when you’re not (so you can ask them to help get back on top) is an essential part of running any risky business. They need to have a general understanding of the numbers and why you do the things you do . . . how many tickets do you need to sell to break-even? What is the cost of a full page ad in the Times?
A lot of people (and by people, I mean my producing peers), are too nervous about revealing this kind of information. But I’d much rather my employees read up on the business that they are in, and how they can help make it better, for all of us . . . than read how Kim Kardashian’s big butt may be cosmetically enhanced. Seriously.
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