I can't go into too much detail about what happened specifically at this stage but one thing that has been driven home is the realisation that we - as business owners - must remain extremely aware of how important every person - and I mean EVERY PERSON - is inside our business.
It also reminded me of an incident that I was a part of nearly twenty years ago now and even though business practises have changed dramatically in this time, this is one aspect of business that has remained a constant.
Let me share it with you ---
Going back to the 1990's I was working for a large corporate organisation - I'll refrain from naming the organisation to protect the guilty!!! LOL.
As a part of this job I was asked to attend upper level management meetings and these meetings often included representatives from other organisations.
Anyway, on this particular day I was going to be a part of one of these meetings and we got to the conference room early to set up in anticipation of our guest's arrival.
When we got there we found that one of our cleaners was still in the conference room putting the finishing touches to the daily clean of the room.
I can't for the life of me remember the cleaner's name but I do remember that he was by far the best cleaner the organisation had - he was meticulous with how clean he would leave a room and took great pride in his work.
Anyway, one of the managers with us had a reputation of "looking down" at staff members lower on the "corporate ladder" than him and when we walked in this same guy was very quick to give the cleaner a bollocking for still being in the conference room with 15 minutes to go before the meeting started.
After being told to pack up his gear and get straight out (in no uncertain terms) by this manager, the cleaner quietly looked up and said "I'll only be a minute or two longer - I'm almost finished" and turned back to finish his cleaning.
The manager did not like this response at all - how do I know? - because his face turned a livid shade of red and he started stomping towards the cleaner.
I'd seen this guy (the manager dude) in action before and knew this was not going to end nicely, so before he had a chance to get at the cleaner I quietly walked up alongside him and whispered "I wouldn't do that".
The good news is my comment stopped him - the bad news is that I now became the centre of his attention!!! - but before he could start on me, I quietly whispered "You do know that the CEO who we are meeting today is an absolute clean freak and if everything is not completely clean, this whole meeting could fall over?"
That stopped him (perhaps it had something to do with if this deal did not get over the line he was going to fail his KPI's!!! LOL) so he just stood there with that beautiful shade of red making his face glow while the cleaner finished his work and promptly exited the room.
The meeting took place - the deal went through - and everyone went home happy, but this little incident highlighted just how important everyone is in your business.
I say this because I'm confident that regardless of how good our presentation was, if that conference room had been left even a little dirty, the visiting CEO would not have agreed to anything (I'd seen him in action before - and it was ugly!!!).
It's so important for you to keep this in mind as a small business owner - particularly when the majority of your focus is on driving your business to greater levels of success - there are times when you are not the most knowledgable person in the room (have a look at the team around you - are you ever the most knowledgeable person in the room?) so it's very important to be willing to take feedback from all the members of your team - and that means everyone from your trusted secretary right through to your office cleaner - because the information you will glean by listening to these people may very well give you the answers you're looking for to drive your business forward.