Hiring Entrepreneurs: A Case Study of Hiring the Spirit of Success

As we continue to mine Dave Melton's book, Hire the American Dream, I thought it would be interesting to highlight a case study that demonstrates just how successful smart hiring can be. Here Melton describes his experience hiring an immigrant.

Zia Shah has been working in one of Melton's franchises for a decade now. The native Pakistani holds a business degree and plans to one day own his own Domino's Pizza franchise. "Everyone has a dream to come to America," he says of his homeland. "Dreams come true for everybody here."

The optimistic Shah arrived in the United States in 1998 - alone. He had no connections in New York, but an uncle had a friend in New York who happened to know one of Melton's store managers and offered to put Shah in touch with him. Shah applied for a job, started at minimum wage, and worked as a employee for 18 months, but he wanted more.

"During that time my manager taught me how to make and how to answer the phone to take orders from our customers," he says. "One day I was feeling frustrated. Then I saw my franchisee wearing a Rolex watch that he won in a sales competition as a manager. I wanted one so I decided I had to become a store manager."

He began shadowing his store manager, watching how he interacted with customers, how he drafted the weekly schedule, how he ordered and supplies. Shah then asked his manager if he could run shifts when the manager was out. This gave him hands-on experience. It also showed him to be a self-starter with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Every time Melton visited this location he encouraged Shah. He quizzed him on the kinds of things a manager needed to know and gave him positive feedback. "I also promised him that when he was ready and there was a position available, he would be a manager," says Melton. Shah's now been a store manager since 2005 and has earned two custom Rolex watches for strong sales performances. He did it by aggressively promoting sales, impressing customers with service, and motivating his crew.

Melton says you can find the entrepreneurial spirit almost anywhere. "They are the ones who ask a lot of questions of business owners to learn as much as they can. They are the ones who have an extra when it comes to making it big. They have an idea and a fire in their bellies to own their own business. They may be entry-level employees looking for experience and money to get them started, or they may be in a job that is unfulfilling and want to work for themselves doing something they love to do. Entrepreneurs are passionate," says Melton.

Zia Shah is living proof of the entrepreneurial spirit.

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