Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Backroom Backbiting Will Bite You Back

There’s a coffee shop in the Portland (OR) airport with the tagline “good coffee … no backtalk.” It’s hard to see in my picture here, but there it is.

What I make of this is a reminder about a fundamental business practice that way too many business owners forget. You can’t, simply can’t, let your employees get together and amuse each other by telling stories of how annoying the customers are.

Seems obvious. But it happens all the time. Criticizing somebody else is the best ice breaker between strangers. When you sit beside a stranger in a plane, does conversation start with how wonderful air travel is? Or does it start with how bad the airline, how late the flight, how small the seats? We criticize. It’s who we are.

But don’t let it happen behind your scenes, backstage, in your business. Don’t let your employees do it.

I have no data to prove it, but I’d bet that the the annoyed and self-righteous tone of the petty bureaucrat and counter minder starts behind the scenes, with people sharing stupid questions and annoying traits of the customers.

Don’t let that happen to your business.

(Image courtesy of Shelley’s Coffee Notes)