Mrs. Tyler

I love to talk shop so much that I can’t help but peek behind the scenes when I travel.  

 

Every summer when my kids were young, we went to Tyler Place – a magical spot that feels more “camp” than “resort.”  

 

But make no mistake, there is nothing campy about the food at Tyler Place. This vacation consistently draws persnickety palettes back year after year for its gourmet, farm-to-table menu.   

 

And there’s a 3-year wait for a reservation at Tyler Place because a family has to “drop out” before a new family can take their place. And, well, families rarely drop out. They come back year after year and even return with their grandkids.

 

By the time I got the call that we’d been “accepted,” it felt more like being admitted to Harvard than just handing over a credit card to pay for a week-long vacation. 

 

The Tylers are certainly doing something right!

 

What’s also distinctive about Tyler Place is that the Tylers themselves mingle, run activities, and eat with the guests. 

 

Everywhere guests look, there’s a Tyler.

 

“What percentage of the hash browns do you think should be crunchy?” One of the Tylers asked me one morning in the line for breakfast. 

 

I had never thought about the ideal ratio of crunchy-to-mushy hashbrowns, but he sure had.   

 

And it turned Mr. Tyler was there in line with me to inspect the breakfast potatoes, which he felt should be “65%-brown-and-crisp to 35% white and mushy.” 

 

As a business owner, I understood that having the Tylers roaming amongst paying guests was a way to quality-control the operation.   And I appreciated that they cared enough to stay engaged.

 

It certainly would’ve be easier for them to hire out the day to day management of the resort and “stay out of the weeds.”  But I’m not sure they’d have a 3-year waiting list if they didn’t obsess about the crunchy-to-mushy ratio of the hashbrowns.

 

In my business, I’m Mrs. Tyler.

I have all kinds of standards that need enforcing – all of which are as fastidious as Mr. Tyler’s hash brown ratios – but I can only do this if I’m connected, engaged, and there.

 

Mrs. Tyler wants her presence known. She’s watching, overhearing, and connected.

 

The mice don’t play when Mrs. Tyler’s around!

 

 

Dozens of colorful bikes on bike racks at Tyler Place

Bikes are the only way to get around at Tyler Place!

So darn hard.

In the mid-2000s, car dealers often asked, “have I done everything to make this a 5-star experience?” I always felt put on the spot, and I hardly ever answered truthfully.

Assuming we only have a handful of genuinely 5-star experiences in our lives, getting my oil changed hardly felt like one of them.
As a small business owner, I never want to game the system and get flattering ratings without merit. I consider it my only job to identify the messy truth about the goings-on in my business and fix them, and so that’s what I’m going to share here in this blog.

I’ll do my best to get quite granular and not sugar-coat the truth for you, so you’ll understand why running a small business is so darn hard most days.

Exactly how?

You say:  “You need more online reviews.” 

They think:  “But how do I get them? 

You say:  “Ask for the order every time.”

They think:  “I’m not sure of words that would sound authentic.”

You say:  “You need to coach your staff.”

They think:  “But exactly how…?”

Telling people what to do is not always effective.  

For real results, focus on being incredibly specific and focusing on the “how.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job security.

When a dreadful project that nobody will touch comes across your desk, snatch it right up.

Dig in deep, untangle the knots and understand every nuance.

Become the person that does this time and time again.

And in no time you’ll be indispensable.

 

 

The weeds.

The weeds.

Weed emerging through cement

“You must be in the medical field,” My doctor said as he flipped through my indexed and cross-referenced binder of medical tests.

“No, since we only have 15 minutes…  

I just wanted you focused on my problem, not shuffling through a disarray of papers and lab work.”

Being strategic often means diving into the details and nuances of a project.  

In fact, understanding the nuances and “weeds” is an important step I like to take before ever delegating anything to someone else.  This way, I can coach them from experience, and I can’t be BS’ed about how long something takes or how hard it is.

God is in the details.

And the details are in the weeds.

 

Another HT to Seth Godin for getting me to ponder “caring” and “trying” in general.