I work with lots of small businesses and one of the things which is very obvious in many of them is that the business owners gets in the way of progress. That might sound a bit ridiculous and if you are a business owner, you probably think you are doing everything you can to promote and grow your business, but are you really?
I was recently asked to be a Dragon at a Dragon’s Den type event for a business which is looking to pitch to a crowd funding platform. They did their pitch to us and then asked for honest and rigorous feedback. The business was looking to reduce the time taken for conveyancing in the house moving process and on the face of it looked great. For me the big reason why I chose not to invest was that they didn’t know their numbers. I think there are a lot of costs relating to staff which they hadn’t included. They seemed to have a block on the numbers which as an investor is a key part of the decision-making process.
Another business owner complained that she didn’t have enough customers and asked what she could do to improve the numbers booked on to her classes. It transpired that she wasn’t really networking, local business owners didn’t know she was there and her social media presence was a bit random and spasmodic. In fact, when you look more closely, it’s more a hobby than a business so unless she changes her mind set and really focusses on what she wants – and takes some action – nothing is going to change.
Many businesses have issues with recruitment and retention of staff. Is this a staffing issue or is there more to it? I would say that the issue is quite often the business owner who doesn’t know how to manage, has no systems and processes in the business and manages by abdication. Does this sound familiar?
Having staff is great because it means you can focus on the areas of the business which you are good at and have a keen interest in. However you can’t just give someone a task and leave them to get on with it without any supervision. There is a balance between supervising/mentoring and interferring. You want to check that the tasks are being completed in the way that you expect without actually taking over the job yourself. If an employee is not completing a task in the way that you would like then you can offer coaching or training but if you just leave them to it and they are flailing, then nothing gets done and you could potentially end up with a big problem.
Systems and processes are key to a successful business. Having an operating manual for your business so that the employees have a resource that they can refer to without having to ask you every 5 minutes will free up your time as well as enable them to feel empowered and capable of completing the tasks allocated to them. I meet no end of business owners who run their business from their phone, constantly responding to texts and calls or rushing in to help. This only results in an exhausted business owner who can’t leave the business for 5 minutes let alone a whole day or a week to take a well-deserved break.
If any of these issues sound familiar and you would like a chat about moving your business forward, please get in touch.Do It Now!