As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

What shasta daisies and full soap dispensers say about a business

daily-grommet-0032With a lot of physical goods (samples of possible Grommets) coming and going in our little offices, it is hard to keep Daily Grommet neat and tidy.    But it’s something that matters to me.  I simply can’t think clearly in the middle of a giant mess.  And a chronically chaotic environment feels disrespectful to both the team and to visitors.

Sometimes I take that obsession too far….this weekend I spent some precious hours removing a patch of weeds outside our offices, and replacing them with a little flower garden.   We rent the space, and it’s hardly Class A commercial real estate.  For example, the rapidly rotting porch behind the garden is surely going to collapse under our feet one day.  So why take time to plant a garden on a rental property?  Well, we actually really love working in this crazy funky “office/house” and the happy little garden is….well… for us.  And for the 30 seconds of joy it could give anyone who comes to our door.  That’s reason enough.

Similarly, in my last startup we once threw a very well executed (and extremely cost-effective) launch party.  Thanks to our very talented VP of Marketing, every last detail was well-coordinated and supported the theme of the launch.  An investor who attended told me,

I have found in my portfolio that when I see the degree of care put into things like this–without excessive expense–that there are also usually really good things going on behind the scenes.

My husband wrote a great blog post about his own experience in this area.  Why a well-cared for office often signals the quality of the overall business management.  His first boss told him,

“Des, you’ll learn that a company that has a neat loading dock, an organized inventory room, a clean kitchen, a bathroom with paper towel and soap dispensers full – those companies will have a clean sales forecast, an accounts receivable that is not delinquent, a low number of old service calls, clean code, etc.”

Makes sense to me.

3 Responses to “What shasta daisies and full soap dispensers say about a business”

  1. Claudia

    Your garden looks great! Well worth the investment of precious time, as it will give you pleasure at least twice a day all spring, summer and fall!

  2. Steve

    Wait, your saying our building is not Class A space? I’ve got to talk to Dan and renegotiate. Looks great Jules.

  3. Claire

    I love this post. What is funny is that there are big companies (most recently in my life HP) that can’t coordinate the details in important ways. Getting things set up right matters, and setting the tone about what is important (from cost, to TLC, to pride in your space) is really important too.


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