My name is Saul! I'm an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer, Professional Speaker on the subjects of Social Media, Customer Service and best of all... Word of Mouth. I collect Air Force One sneakers and think you should hire me... (as a consultant) to teach you how to get your company doing interesting things!
the smartest man in the world.

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Photos from the Drupal Conference in San Francisco, CA 2010

Wednesday, Dec 12, 2008

Cause when the going gets tough….will the you be going?

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[Disclaimer: I work for and I am pretty lucky cause FreshBooks is one of the best places to work in the entire world. That being said this post is my opinion and only my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else besides little ole’ me]

One of the best things about my job are that I get to talk to hundreds of people every week about their lives and their jobs and it gives me a clear picture on what is going on in the world.

So using this insight I have to tell you all that I am really surprised by the fact that one of the real results I am seeing due to the economic downfall is that some companies are treating their own staff poorly. Now I understand layoffs if they are for financial reasons but I don’t understand when employers don’t recognize that their own people are their most valuable resource.

My CEO at FreshBooks is a handsome guy named Mike McDerment and he always talks about how “if you take care of your staff, your staff will take care of your customers and your customers take care of your business.”

As you can see Mike is not just handsome but also pretty sharp because this makes sense in any economy but in this current climate it rings more true than ever.

Simply put, When times get tougher it is easy to panic or even give up and some people will…and this will create huge opportunities for the folks who are willing to jump on them and not give up.

So how do you do this, well…best way is to treat your staff well…heck, dare I say like family and show them that if they work hard and stick out the hard times you are going to stick with them and you are all in this thing together. A great example of this is how when you hear celebrities talk about their humble beginnings and they always say “I never know we were poor because my parents always provided something for me”. Something doesn’t have to be a tangible thing and a lesson that employers don’t always understand is that you can show appreciation for your people in hundreds of ways that doesn’t include spending big money. By doing fun low cost things to keep spirits up all year round no matter what the economy is like will motivate your staff to, like Mike says “to take care of your customers”.

I could go on and on and get very preachy with this but I feel this is an important message to get out there. Yes the economy is going in the wrong directions…Yes the next year may not be like a Beach Boys song but the facts are that new business is going to be everywhere because people will be looking for new options and new vendors so no matter what you do or what industry you are in there are going to be little pots of gold lying around and if you have a motivated staff you may just find them.

…and if this hasn’t motivated you to re-examine your company culture/general staff happiness maybe this will help to get you amped to do great things.


  1. I was with ya way before the video, but it was a nice capper.

    The last company I was with (TrialGraphix) knows how to do this. Their culture is all about taking care of their people because they know they will take great care of their clients.

    I now take excellent care of myself since I am my only employee. Ahem.

    Managers, listen to this man. He speaks the truth.

  2. I think it very much extends past employees to customers/leads as well. You still have to be nice/human to those who might not need you now, but will need you when things look up. I want your job for a day. Loved the talk w/ Andy below–good stuff.

  3. Dead on stuff Saul, TSMITW.

    Listen to Kanye West’s “Stronger”.

    Put an -er after every word that describes what you do these days to everyone and you’ll prosper, feel better, ….


  4. @scott

    Stronger huh? Are you asking me get lost tonight orto be your black Kate Moss tonight?


  5. Great post Saul. With that philosophy I may have to start checking the Freshbooks job postings 😉

    I know I’m not getting “it” where I’m at now.

    Hope you get those size 12 slippers soon.

  6. Enjoyed your post,Saul. Unfortunately, many organizations will follow the old ways of "cutting back and getting lean & mean" rather than investing in their people (and in quality).

    I ask clients to consider if this is a wise decision in the long term?
    a.Following the pack and reacting to fear is a slippery slope. Fear spreads to employees and to customers.
    b.There’s more to lose in tough economy. Consequences are greater.
    c.Recovery could be longer and more painful. "Survival" becomes mode of operation. "Scarcity" becomes the new mindset.

    Conversely, this is the time to "respond" to challenges by finding new ways of conducting business and by doing things differently in order to "thrive":
    1.Fill profit holes vs cut back (improve process effectiveness, focus on employee retention);
    2.Invest in the right things and make the most of existing investments (employees #1,quality best practices, coaching);
    3.Take advantage of the opportunity to increase competitiveness;
    4.Cultivate a position of confidence. Confidence is more attractive to customers and motivates employees to spread the word “We are still in business”
    5.Maintain, increase momentum, and focus on best practices.

    Now is time for wise business leaders to separate from the pack while their competitors react and cut back. Develop a culture that puts all employees in a position of strength and confidence in serving customers. Confident, proud, and satisfied employees will make it happen.

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