Ah the happy, maybe even good life, which was once described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as “the ability to lead a happy life is made, not found”. This surely is that special something we all aspire to? When the children get along, the dog is fed, and the cat is – well being more dog! You have made your life happy by surrounding yourself with those who matter and those you can trust. The same principles and aspirations have to be embraced, established and ultimately made in your business life. Starting your own business takes hard graft, determination, blood, sweat and plenty of tears, but you have taken that step and you have made it a success, or at least working towards that utopia (well done)!
However, can you truly say to yourself – have I employed the best people for the business? Does their input and opinion(s) benefit my business? And does it really matter? Yes, of course it matters and to think otherwise would be a business own-goal. The reality is that the parts of the business that you no longer have time to manage have to be dealt with by some other arm of the organisation, namely your staff. It all comes down to one simple characteristic – confidence! You have to be confident that the manager can control many aspects of the company, or the business will no longer continue to operate, or be viable. You need to have the confidence that your administrative personnel are capable of committing to their responsibilities in a dutiful and studious fashion. One too many ‘0s’ on the end of an invoice, or cheque can spell disaster and can have a dramatic impact on your company which will cause you unenviable suffering on many levels. Be under no illusion, having to back-track WILL not only be frustrating for you it will be extremely damaging to your company.
This aspect of confidence not only runs through the different levels of your personnel, it is a paramount component in your relationship with your client(s), which can be critical. They need to have the necessary assurances that they are involved with a business which is operating as a smooth and efficient machine. If it presents as anything other than this, let along disorganised, this will be looked upon as being at best somewhat questionable. They say that sometimes bad news can be good news, but sometimes bad news can simply be BAD news! Staff and processes can be fixed, or massaged but if a client losses confidence in your operation, the only door that you will be knocking on will be that of the Job Seekers office. There are not many certainties with running a small business, but I can guarantee you of one thing, if you do not have clients you do not have a business!! It is important to remember that the business environment is brilliant, ninety percent of the time. The other ten (plus) percent it can be stressful, pressured, and even volatile. It is at this point that your life is not so happy! This is normal in any business, but you will feel it more so if it is your business.
Now, what would be useful here is to have employees who deal well with pressure, have the ability to produce quick solutions, react to changes in the market and be able to keep you and the rest of the team as calm as possible. Whereas, personnel who nit-pick at every challenge, or mistake, who boil over at hearing the person opposite them breathing too loudly and/or panic at the mere mention of a deadline are probably not ideal for your company. However, employing close friends or family can also be fraught with pit-falls. Picture the setting, sitting round a table at Christmas waiting for the turkey to arrive and the atmosphere is frostier inside than it is outside, due to a business matter – not good. Further, with such employees it will be inevitable that they will want to take time off at no doubt the busiest time of the year and will also expect the obvious perks of being your brother, the odd £20 out of the petty cash to have a 3 hour lunch with their wife.
The overall point I’m trying to advance, is consider who you allow into YOUR business life. It is an unpredictable environment and — to a certain extent — you have the ability to make your own life happy by the people you put in it and the place you all work in. The second inevitable is that there really are no friends in business, so watch where the daggers are coming from as they may in fact be closer than you think – now enjoy that turkey!