It is only now, four years in that we are beginning to understand the importance of building a good network around you. We’re talking about those plumbers, electricians, printers, accountants, builders, solicitors and babysitters that are so vital – and the list is endless. The one bit of advice we can give is to look after your network and in turn, they will look after you. It has taken us many different attempts and tradesmen over the years to get this right. But building those relationships is vital for our industry and once these are in place, life becomes so much easier. Some classic examples of situations arising are when your morning kitchen person walks into the shop at 6am and finds none of the lights work. Or the boiler is broken. You then need a team that you can wake up and who are happy and willing to go and sort out the problem. This type of service doesn’t materialise if you are forced to pick up the yellow pages or do a Google search; this happens if you know the person on the other end of the line.
Time and time again at Artisan we find ourselves relying on others to help us through difficult situations and the longer and better the relationship, the easier you can navigate your way through it. In many ways we have learnt that running your own business is not necessarily about being able to do the work yourself but more to be able to motivate others to do it for you and to a high standard. If everything goes to plan, you can then work on building the relationship between your network and your shop, thereby removing yourself from the equation. We love it now when we receive calls saying that the flush on the toilet broke, so Tom was called and he came within the hour to fix it! This is a big difference from when we first started our journey, if whenever the toilet broke we would be cold calling random plumbers to see if they could come in and often we’d be waiting for days on end.
We have also changed our philosophy as to how we perceive value. When we started out we would constantly be looking for the very cheapest deal or the cheapest hourly rate and this sometimes meant long delays in getting the job done as we negotiated over the price of simple jobs. We now see the value and importance in quick service and quality tradesmen, mainly due to the effect working with broken equipment has on our team. It can be really demotivating and become frustrating, which in turn hinders performance and customer service. Therefore we have changed our emphasis on the best price coupled with the best service and this in turn improves our team and shows that as a business we care enough to fix problems quickly. This is something we feel is vital at Artisan.
Love from Artisan