All Posts Tagged: Jeff Cleary

What does it mean to ‘be the boss’?

Don Mercer
Posted by Don Mercer
Small Business Banking

The most common reason owners give for starting their business is “to be the boss,” according to Bank of the West’s “Pay It Forward” survey. Among owners in business for five years or more, 41% said they started their business because they wanted to be the boss.

Two women in hardhats talking in a warehouse environment.Many entrepreneurs I know love the independence of running their own business, and they thrive on being in charge. A frequent comment from successful business owners is: “I could never work for someone else.” But being the boss takes more than just wanting to be in charge. It takes guts and discipline to be your own boss, and your success depends upon your ability to trouble-shoot, problem solve, and make good business decisions. Or does it?

Attend to standards

Depending upon your company’s growth plans, you may become the boss of other people, and with that comes added responsibilities and rewards. As the boss, you get to set the vision and strategy, and you can define how your team will achieve that vision.

One of our clients described the job of being The Boss really well recently. Jeff Cleary, founder of Grateful Bread in Denver, has grown his business in the past few years from one employee to 23.

“Basically what I try to do is set a standard, and I make people come up to my standards,” Cleary said. “I tell people quality is first and money is second. If we can produce a very high-quality product consistently, then we should be able to make money.

“Being a boss is being consistent and being fair. I give a lot of latitude to my supervisors to produce the quality that we need, but you also have to be fair. People make mistakes and it’s a matter of how you deal with them.”

Passion with perspective

Most owners I know are passionate about their business. They are masters at their chosen profession whether that’s baking bread, manufacturing a particular product, or providing a service.

But as “the boss” you also recognize that there are other hats you have to wear — accounting, marketing, recruiting, for example — and some of these you may stink at, or hate. And let’s be frank here, it’s still work — especially when you have to do the things you don’t like to do. Otherwise they would have named it something else like vacation or recreation.

So now that you have recognized your role as Atlas with the weight of the world upon your shoulders, you understand how important recruiting and hiring the right talent to complement your talents is to your success. Then when you bring new team members on board and have established trust, remember Jeff Cleary’s advice, “…give them a lot of latitude … to produce the quality you need” and “be fair.”

Building a team of advisors and employees who share your passion and vision may be difficult, but the rewards may be immeasurable — in finances, job satisfaction, and fun. And, ultimately, being the boss may even feel a little less like work.

Read More ›

Customer Wise: Consistent quality needs no sales force

Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking
Jeff Cleary, owner of Grateful Bread, surrounded by many different types of loaves.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better example of how dedication to quality can pay off for a small business than Grateful Bread in Denver.

Read More ›