What I've Learnt: TMC's Paul Jackson
That people are “lazy”
Everyone has times when they know they could make a change for the better but they end up giving into the temptation to stick with the devil they know. It is just human nature and it happens all the time in business. It’s understandable if there’s a risk involved. Say because the cost benefits aren’t 100% certain at the outset. But I’ve learned to live with the times when we go in with a solution that ticks all a prospect’s boxes, including cast iron cost-savings, only to be told ‘We’ve decided not to move’ or ‘I’m not going to recommend this.’ When that happens it is often because the company isn’t really incentivising the manager to save money. We humans are “lazy” in the sense that we typically make an effort to change things only when we expect to receive satisfaction or recognition. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit out there in terms of fleet fuel and mileage cost savings at the moment. But businesses need to be receptive to making changes to achieve them.
You get what you give
In life you get what you give, and vice versa.
When I’m the customer, I expect to receive high standards of service as a matter of course. What you expect for yourself sets the tone for what others can expect from you. TMC’s approach to customer service works the same way. We choose people who join us because they want to look after customers. We reward exceptional performance frequently because we don’t just want to stand out from the crowd, we want to be head and shoulders above it.
On successful partnerships
Personal contact is still at the heart of business relationships. It is hard to work successfully with other businesses over the long term purely through formal meetings. If you’re in a partnership you need to make sure you can get away from the office every once in a while and meet them over a beer for a couple of hours. If you can’t do that, there’s little chance the relationship will succeed.
To stand up for myself
When you’re building up a new business or operation from small beginnings, large competitors and prospective customers often put pressure on you to make decisions that would push you off course. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied or overawed. It’s hard to say no at the time but the pay-off when you reach your next goal is worth it.
To invest in work time
We employ a driver at TMC because it allows my colleagues and I to get more done. It means we can work and make calls safely while travelling. Say I’m doing two or three consecutive meetings, or I could fit another meeting in because I have a driver, or it’s a lengthy day, then that’s what makes the decision. At other times I’ll ride my motorcycle. People are always amused when I take my onesie off with my suit underneath. Then my briefcase comes out of the pannier and I’m ready to go.
If you love doing something, you'll excel at it
As they say, ‘If you love what you do you’ll never work another day.’ I still wake up every Monday morning excited about our business and the week ahead. Having said that, if you’re running your own business and you think you have a work-life balance you’re sadly mistaken. The phone’s always on and you’re always on call. You literally live it. Happily I’m married to someone who’s ready to live it with me!