This week I had the privilege of listening to Kevin Bryne, CEO and Founder of Checkatrade, at a Sussex Chamber of Commerce event and I am keen to share his ‘Five Pillars of Business Success’ – the basis for the success of his company.
First a quick bit of background on Checkatrade. Kevin has built the company into a household brand with no investment to a turnover of £16.5m, generating £2.7b a year for the trades on-board, used by 13m people a year, and generating 8,700 new employments for trades in the last 12 months.
Kevin left school and worked for Selsey Press for 12 years as a graphic designer and it was here as an employee that formed his first pillar – appreciation. Like most of us at one time in our lives we have worked for someone else building their company often with little thanks. This has made Kevin incredibly appreciative of the people working for his dream and his company. When every new employee starts at Checkatrade, currently six new employees a month, they each spend one and a half hours with Kevin. They then spend one to two weeks in every department before they start their actual job. In Kevin’s diary he has reminders for the anniversaries of every single employees’ start date and on their anniversary seeks them out to personally thank them.
Kevin’s vision for setting up Checkatrade was to help the public find quality tradespeople. Checkatrade is now saving consumers over £300m a year by not having to put things right by rogue traders. The pillar of vision is all about having making things happen. Hopes and dreams are just that – hopes and dreams that may never materialize. Whereas behaviours and action will flow from having a clear expectation of where you want to take the company. Kevin expects his company to keep growing and has put in place actions to make that happen.
Kevin’s third pillar is integrity. His sales team know that if they ever tell a lie or exaggerate what Checkatrade can do then they will no longer work for him. And he empowers his staff to make decisions without having to refer to managers. So for example if a tradesperson is not happy with the service provided, once the employee has checked the facts of the situation, they can give the tradesperson a full refund without having to refer to anyone else in the company.
The next pillar is all about being understood and the importance of empathy. Its about treating people as people. If someone is underperforming it’s not about pulling them into the boardroom to berate them about their performance but instead to understand why they might be having problems or what help they may need.
The last pillar is trust. Kevin talked about a book by Stephen M.R. Covey called The Speed of Trust. Here is a summary of the book. From the relatively short time I listened to Kevin it was very clear how important trust is in his company and his approach to trusting people to do things. So for example he may ask someone to think about how they could improve an area of the business, ask and give them the resources they need and then be clear that he trusts them to get with it.
If you ever get the chance to see a presentation by Kevin Bryne, then I highly recommend you do.