Marcus Lemonis: ‘Hire The Most Expensive’ Employee

Marcus Lemonis promotes a “three P” principle for a successful business: “People, Process, Product.” He told an Inc. conference this fall that one of those three is far more important than the rest: people.

“The question is what’s the most important between people, process, and product? It’s not even a competition, it’s people. End of story. People, at the end of the day, is all that matters. You can take a crappy process and an average product and put the A-Team on it, and you’ll beat somebody with a great process, a great product, and bad people.”

He went on to say that people should be properly compensated — and he doesn’t believe in getting good employees cheap.

“[T]here’s a reason they were cheap. Hire the most expensive, most talented, most sophisticated person you can find.”

The importance of good people extends to Lemonis’ advice for small businesses during the busy holiday season. Product knowledge is less vital than enthusiasm and reliability. Customers will remember their shopping experience after the holidays are over, so it is better to overstaff.

Lemonis is best known as star of The Profit on CNBC, but the entrepreneur has a long history of philanthropy. His official bio lists St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Joffrey Ballet Bridge Program as organizations he has supported.

Lemonis also insists his employees volunteer 32 hours a year. It is a condition of employment that builds character, according to the entrepreneur.

“Once you begin the process [of volunteering], you become addicted to it. What I heard back from employees was: ‘You changed my marriage!’ ‘You saved my life!’.”

Marcus Lemonis is involved with many businesses including Crumbs Bake Shop and one of Kevin O’Leary’s Shark Tank investments, Wicked Good Cupcakes.

According to the official website for The Profit, Marcus Lemonis has contributed substantial funds into small businesses over the course of the program. That amount was $14 million of his own wealth in the past two years. Overall, in his private life, Lemonis has turned around over 100 companies in the past decade.

[Marcus Lemonis image via CNBC]