My wife and I enjoy watching “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are in the minority as they are a leading ratings draw on the Home and Garden TV channel.
Chip and Joanna Gaines have made a huge economic impact on Waco, TX through their design/construction firm. Beyond their own employee requirements for staffing the Silos in downtown Waco, they’ve added a Bed and Breakfast at $695+ per night and have promoted other businesses such as Harp Design Co. and Coffee Grounds.
What started as a simple house flipping business has become a Waco mainstay. Joanna introduced her Magnolia furniture line which is made in Alabama. These are all examples of an expanding and hopefully profitable enterprise.
They have grown a small, struggling house flipping business into a tourist draw for their small Texas town. Their cute back-and-forth on screen keeps viewers engaged. Even if there’s sameness in Joanna’s designs with her love of farm sinks and shiplap, they have created a formula that brings people back.
I started considering their show and local entreprises from a business advisor standpoint. I did a little research online. Local folks won’t go to the Silos on the weekend because there are just too many visitors there. Property tax and home values are going up as a result of the improvements to at least 20 blocks of the older parts of Waco.
People are moving there from elsewhere to participate in the small town feel that they see on TV. Locals are fearful they may lose some of the “small town” feel with so many transplants choosing Waco or they won’t find affordable homes for themselves. We’re starting to see that there just aren’t as many “fixer uppers” for them to feature on the show –this season they used two couples who work for them and purchased one property to flip on their own.
A “win” for some may be a “loss” for others.
As you build your business, keep in mind that you have a responsibility to your employees, to your clients, and to your community.
Your community isn’t just the people around you- it’s also the people you do business with. Make a point to make their experience the best it can be.
Location, location, location
Where your business is located will be central to their experience, and it’s important to consider the needs of your most important business relationships – your clients and your employees – when deciding where to physically build your business.
Client experience is a top priority.When we look for a building for our business, we try to imagine clients coming to visit us. How hard is it to find a parking space? Is the building easy to find? I personally find The Texas Medical Center in Houston to be extremely daunting to navigate and find parking. The location is actually a deterrent for me. I seek out doctors who have satellite locations that have convenient parking and are easy to find. They are responsive to their patient’s desires.
Keep your employees happy. Is your location convenient for your staff? How far must your employees travel? An average 45-50 minute commute (not uncommon for Houston businesses) adds another “day” to their week. Do they have the option to work from home occasionally without disrupting your productivity?
Be a good neighbor. You may also need to think about your neighbors at the office. We were once in an office building with a doctor’s office that was so busy that the hall became their waiting room. We had to step past their patients on the way down the hall. In another office building there was a talent agency that “shared” their music with their neighbors on a regular basis.
Being considerate of outside pressures is all part of caring. It’s a two-way street. However, you may have employees who take advantage of a low supervision time schedule. Having a mentor, a trusted business advice source, or even a paid informal advisory board such as Vistage International (www.vistage.com) can be a wonderful place to have a sounding board to deal with this and other business challenges.
Where do you get your business advice?
If you don’t currently have advisors, you may want to establish a group and define what you want to accomplish through regular sessions with them. You can also subscribe to our newsletter, which contains business mentorship advice and information for entrepreneurs and small business owners.