• November 30, 2022

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By Tommy Mello, owner A1 Garage Doors, a $100M+ home service business. Sharing what I’ve learned to help other entrepreneurs scale.

My dad nearly died of COVID eight months ago. He’s OK now. But it made me realize that I hadn’t done anything nice for him since I started making money.

He wanted to go on vacation with his girlfriend, so I got to pay for him to go to Portland. They went out for over a week, and they had a blast. And that made me feel so good! I said to myself: “I want to do this for so many more people.”

Now, it’s not just about buying nice things. It’s about helping people get what they want out of life, helping them win at what they care the most about. As Simon Sinek says: A leader wants to see those around her become stars.”

Apart from paying my employees better, here are a few other things I do for them, and what you could do too:

1. Connect the professional with the personal.

People don’t work for leaders, they work for their dreams. You want to align their personal goals/KPIs with their professional goals/KPIs.

At A1 Garage, we have what we call Dream Managers to help employees become the best version of themselves. Dream Managers help employees figure out what their goals are, make sure they’re written down and then match them to the KPIs.

For example, if the Dream Manager finds out that an employee wants to retire in six years, here’s how the conversation would go:

“I know that your goal is to retire in six years, and it’s going to require this much money. So help me help you. This is what we need to do… I’ve already adjusted the numbers of what we’re going to need to do to get you to your goals. So let’s make a deal together: you let me coach you twice a week…”


While you might not have dedicated Dream Managers, I recommend setting up regular 1-on-1 meetings with your employees to support their professional and personal growth.

2. Be nice ‘out of sync.’

Recognize the usual birthdays and anniversaries, of course, but what makes employees really remember you is when you do nice things “out of sync.” This can mean doing things when they least expect it, or things that they just wouldn’t expect a business to do.

For example, if you have an out-of-state employee coming to HQ say, for 30 days, try sending their spouse flowers while they’re away. Some people might find this surprising, but let me tell you this: Never underestimate the influence of a supportive/unsupportive spouse on your employee.

3. Spend time outside of work.

You probably spend more than enough time with your employees at work. But have you hung out with them outside of the office? What are they like personally? What are they interested in?

It can be hard to make time for every single employee if you’re getting close to the 500 mark, but do your best to catch a coffee break with them or take a team out for drinks or a meal.

4. Pour your love ‘at scale.’

Finally, it’s not just about your employees. Do you have a great relationship with the local community? How do you show that your company cares?

Contribute to your local charities and community by donating money and time and by giving volunteer PTO time to your employees.

Sure, it brings great PR, but that’s a by-product. It sends employees a strong signal that you care.

If you pour love, energy and affection into your people, they’ll do 10 times as much for you. They’ll want to win. They’ll want to challenge themselves. They’ll want to come to work. And there’s nothing more important than that in business.


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