14 Jan

Your employees are not your mates

“I get quite anxious when a certain employee arrives at work in the morning, as I never know what to expect. A happy, motivated team member or a grumpy individual who the customers will complain about? ”

I have heard variations of this comment from a number of business owners over the years. What is wrong with this statement? Absolutely everything.

Why, as a business owner are you walking on egg shells around your staff? Why are you giving your staff the power to define how your business day will operate?

The main reason we hire employees to work in our businesses is so that they can add value. The minute they stop doing this, they are damaging the business.

So how do business owners get stuck in this situation of feeling like they have to walk on egg shells around their staff?

Here are three key points to consider:

  1. Your employees are your employees, not your mates – You may get on extremely well with your staff members. You may share the same interests outside of the working environment, but do not lose sight of the primary reason for them being in your business. You are paying them to perform certain functions to service your customers. Crossing the line into mate territory only creates confusion and frustration for everyone. As the business owner, you are the one who clarifies and maintains the boundaries. Take ownership of that role and always remember your position within the business.
  2. Know your Human Resources procedures – One of the best gifts you can give yourself as a business owner is to know your HR processes. Understanding how to onboard an employee, train them, review them, reward and recognition them, discipline them and terminate a contract, if required. These are vital competencies for the success of your business and for your own sanity. By following the process correctly, the “lifecycle” of an employee, from the beginning, all parties know where they stand as there are clear expectations. This practise actually makes your staff members feel safe and part of an organised and well run operation. Set your staff up for success not failure. Again, take the ownership and responsibility to equip yourself with the right knowledge.
  3. Be consistent“Consistency is a key element, without which a leader is incapable of getting respect, success or even developing confidence in others.” Daniel Transon. Sending mixed signals to your staff members and having “favourites” can be confusing and is a slippery slope to losing good staff and ultimately damaging your business culture. Being consistent in how you manage and lead each team member will only strengthen your professional relationships with them, which in turn will positively affect the business. Here again, it is your responsibility as the owner to ensure that you are exhibiting the right consistent behaviour.

On-boarding employees is a huge responsibility. To set yourself, your business and your employees up for success, ensure that you are equipped with the essential skills and knowledge and be consistent in your approach and finally, always remember your position within the business.

26 Jan

What does it take to build a sustainable business?

There is no such thing as a silver bullet strategy when it comes to business success , that being one action or activity that will miraculously build a successful business. We all intrinsically know this, but yet, so many business owners set themselves up for failure and disappointment by taking on for example the mindset of, “If I just do this one promotion, then everything will be fine.

Not to put a damper on your efforts, but sometimes we do need a reality check. One of the key components of achieving one’s goals is that you must be realistic, very simple. If you want to build a sustainable business and avoid being a one hit wonder there are a few key components you will need to ensure are part of your business structure and business ethics.

Vision and mission

Before you excitedly start setting business goals, think about what your long term vision is.  What is your ultimate goal and how do you want to be seen in five or ten years time? Once that has been defined then confirm your mission statement.

Completing your business vision/mission statement shouldn’t be done begrudgingly, rushed through or be viewed as an afterthought. Put the time aside to build this part of your business. Why? Your vision and mission are your guiding lights whenever a business decision needs to be made. They keep you focused in good times and very importantly  they guide you when times are tough and there will likely be many tough times in your business. Therefore, establishing strong, powerful and bright guiding lights makes good business sense.

Courage, resilience and grit

In my opinion these are probably some of the most important character traits to have when running a business . Having the strength and courage to pick yourself up after failure will turn you into a survivor. If you have the ability to do this, you can achieve anything. These character traits do not always come easily and we are often only asked to prove ourselves when we have already fallen on hard times. No opportunities for test driving these qualities.

To boost these character traits it is advised to have a solid business plan and a business purpose that is true to your values. It can be tricky and extremely demotivating to be courageous if you don’t really believe in your purpose one hundred percent.

Support

Being a business owner is not for the faint-hearted. So make sure you have a good strong pool of people you can call on during the tough times. This can take the form of business partners, family, friends, mentors, coaches or professional networking groups.

Support is also good to have in times of success, sharing your wins with your support network can be extremely rewarding.

Consistency

Consistency in business builds trust and loyalty with your customers. Whatever your business goals are make sure you are consistent in your delivery, follow through and follow up. Customers will very quickly look elsewhere if you are inconsistent and unreliable.

To make sure you are consistent in your business, always have a plan. Yearly, quarterly, month, weekly and daily. There is much to be said about the saying, “proper planning prevents poor performance”.

Business success will be different for every business, depending on what the end goals are, however one thing that all businesses have in common, is the need to achieve the goals.

So, when you are planning your goals for the year or quarter ahead, also think about these  components. Do you have a strong vision? How courageous are you and how would you persevere during tough times? Who is your support network and do you operate your business in a consistent manner? Some food for thought.