I am sat in a coffee house as I write. Many moons ago, living in the USA, I would sit and study in a coffee house - it was, and still is, a place of bliss for me. The coffee house offered me a space to connect with my work whilst being able to sit back, from time to time, to watch the world and its people go by.
I remember telling my Mum about it "It's the Bagel Place Mama".
"It's the what?" she would reply.
She couldn't get her her head around people paying, what seemed an extortionate amount of money, for a coffee - and an iced one at that.
I would often watch as things in the USA seemed to pop up way before here in the UK. I remember driving through Starbucks at College Park, Maryland USA and being AMAZED that it was a drivethru JUST for coffee! I also, judgementally, found it lazy (haha).
And yet, on a weekly basis here in the UK, I now find myself driving through the M1 Northbound Starbucks at J21. It's my guilty pleasure. Crazily, the "lazy" has been set to such a level that I don't even need to say my order anymore, they just know it now.
I also remember having drive through banking in the USA - something I have yet to see over here in the UK (I guess there is still time).
You might be wondering where I am going with this but, it's the coffee house I am sat in. A small little venture that started a couple of villages away in a small town called Blaby. The coffee house sat on the corner of the main street. Nothing too disimilar to any other coffee house or cafe. Until one day, just before lockdown of March 2020, another Jenno's popped up at the intersection of a busy dual carriageway, close to the M1 and large shopping centre within the city.
Talking to the owner recently, we reminisced about the early days of opening, of his fears that the timing had been so wrong and whether he would be able to compete with the "bigger boys" of Costa and Starbucks that were within a 10 minute walk of his front door.
And yet, here we are. The doors open, dare I say, far more often than those bigger boys across the road and the place, inside and out, often rammed to the rafters with individuals from all walks of life.
The "weird" timing, it would appear, was the perfect timing. Although, I imagine, it probably didn't feel like it at the start.
What makes this story beautiful is not that Paul, the owner, saw and leapt at the opportunity to build upon his empire, but that he stayed so very true to his values.
Every person that works in Jennos and that you come to meet, offers a smile.
So many times I hear of local communities and charities connecting with Paul for support and they are there.
The place really is a space thriving with joy, connection, community and spirit - they have. created that! It is at the heart of what they do.
It goes back to the simple, but powerful quote:
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
And it got me thinking, about the many hats that independent business owners wear. If you have never been a sole trader or business owner, I doubt you will have taken the time to do that. But honestly, the skill-set required is pretty staggering in order to get to a level of success, such as is Jennos.
Not only is there a LIVED way of values, mission and purpose, but the unseen aspects that many business owners (whether on their own or managing a team) can connect with on a daily basis is something that we should all stop and consider (especially when it comes to challenging their prices).
Here are just a few things they need to understand, consider and/or do as part of their job:
*Data & Compliance
*Policies and Procedures
*Health Care Insurance
I mean.....the list is ENDLESS! Like seriously, it does make you wonder when these people ACTUALLY get time to do the WORK part that they love.
BUT they do - and often at the expense of their own health and wellbeing whilst juggling all of the other aspects.
SO - if any of the above has resonated with you and made you realise that you are a PHENOMENAL human with a shed load of skills, courage, and more - TAKE A BOW.
NEXT, do the best thing for yourself this week and LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING - there really is only ONE of you. As much as you love to put your customers first, and likewise, you love the buzz of the work you do, it really is important to look after your energy so that you can actually do that AND do it for as long as you wish.
I know all too well that the highs, lows, ebbs and flows can feel lonely, isolating and hard work at times. I also know that it brings my heart and soul so much magic and warmth. I stand in awe of the people, like Paul in Jennos, who live and breathe the work that they love to do with a smile on their faces ESPECIALLY knowing how much they are juggling behind the scenes.
Whilst you take your bow, just know that I am saluting you right back and cheering you on every step of the way.