It's not meant to make your business better. It's about a time one of my employees stole from me. If I am good enough at telling the story you can hopefully avoid the experience.
Firstly let's get something straight. People steal from bosses even when he is a 6th dan.
That's because they don't think they will get caught. This one did.
Sharing this takes courage as a business coach because I am expected to have all the answers. Unfortunately, the answers come at a price. And this was one price I paid.
The story starts with me not drawing a profit from my Dojo even though I had 400 students. I was making money but quite often not much more than my full-time instructors. I was advised to look hard at the figures.
I looked at every area of the business to see where we were losing ground.
I increased prices. We still lost ground.
I did stock takes. We still lost ground.
Finally, someone mentioned 'theft'.
It was at that point that the conversation became difficult. How do you point a gun at your staff? And at which staff member do you aim at?
Long story short, we caught a receptionist stealing from the till on camera. Quite a life changing event to watch someone you trust stealing money from right under your nose.
What she was doing was selling stock and not giving a receipt if the customer didn't ask for one. At the end of the night the till would not balance with the receipt book. She would just pocket the extra money then ask another staff member to complete our double check and to sign off.
No trail. The perfect crime.
Problem was that every month we would spend more on stock than we sold. This was impossible as our stock levels were static.
In the end I had a bad feeling so set up the camera with the help of a friend in the security industry.
The next morning as the consultant packed up I watched the footage roll through. Our culprit looked around, put the money in her purse and completed the end of shift duties.
As I watched I must have said, "Whoa".
The consultant walked over as I replayed the footage. "Bingo," he said. He had seen it many times before.
Obviously that was her last shift. A month later in court she pleaded guilty to 'stealing as a servant'. A fine was imposed and she got a record that future employers would read.
The story doesn't end there.
After she left, my monthly income went up $4000.
Think about it. As the business was small, she knew me, my wife and our kids. She would mind my kids as my wife trained. She even offered to house mind for us on holidays.
All whilst she was milking my business of $1000 a week.
Snakes come in all shapes and sizes.
Moral of the story?
Take care of your staff. Reward them by paying well, providing professional development and showing genuine interest in their careers.
And ... exterminate any pests that threaten your livelihood.
By the way, the manager who watched me deal with this situation now owns the business. He bought it off me some years later. I bet he won't have this happen to him as it was part of his education.
I hope it becomes part of yours.