Editors note: The below is a guest post from Tim Storm, Founder and former CEO of FatWallet.com. Enjoy!
I didn’t have any real grand vision for success when I started FatWallet – I simply started a site that I would want to use myself. The next 12 years would take me on a journey of non-traditional education that I wouldn’t trade for any number of university degrees.
The lesson that I didn’t expect, but something that sat at the core of how I would do business was an emphasis on People.
I’m not talking about the generic “Customer Service is our #1 Priority!” lip service branding on the wall. I’m talking about the “there are really great people in this world, hire them, give them the tools to do their job and let them do it”.
FatWallet started when there were already a number of coupon sites to be found on the internet (and hundreds more yet to be started). One of the great differentiators early on was that I hired employees to help build and operate the site, where many of my competitors clung fiercely to going it alone.
Along the way, the combined efforts of really great people built a great business. The business was one that became far greater than what I had envisioned when I started FatWallet, and what would ultimately put me in a position to be able to sell the company and walk away in to the next chapter of my life.
Through my journey at FatWallet, we piled up a number of industry awards – and they were great recognitions of the combined efforts of the team we had assembled. We displayed them with pride. For a long time, I didn’t have the “Affiliate Marketing Legend” award out on display, simply because it said “Tim Storm” rather than “FatWallet” – I was proud of it, yet I knew that I shouldn’t take credit as “ME”, for what “WE” had accomplished. One day, an employee asked why it wasn’t on display, and basically let me know that while it did have my name on it, they knew it was a recognition for all that we had accomplished. I put the award out on display that very day.
Of all the awards and recognitions, the one that meant the most to me, and I never would have foreseen when first starting the company was when we were recognized nationally as one of the best small businesses to work for in the country. #20 in 2010, and #13 in 2011.
One day, an employee asked why it wasn’t on display, and basically let me know that while it did have my name on it, they knew it was a recognition for all that we had accomplished. I put the award out on display that very day.
For many people, success is measured in finances. I can assure you that having reached financial “success”, it does indeed feel way better than the lack thereof – BUT…
The lesson that I want to share with you is this…
Hire Great people, Give them the tools to let them be at their best. Don’t tolerate less than great. The financial rewards that you seek should be an indicator that you’ve done all the rest right, but don’t let it be the reason for being. One day, you may realize that the greatest reward of the whole journey is looking around you, seeing great people doing great things.
Hire Great people, Give them the tools to let them be at their best. Don’t tolerate less than great.