The Right Track
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers
Since starting my business, I have come across many small business executives who would consider their companies to be on the right track. I have even helped some of them up to a point and I have had a few who decided that they didn’t need any help. But they all did! They were indeed on the right track, but they were just sitting there and hoping things would calm down and get better by their inactivity. It would be quite humorous if it weren’t so tragic. You could actually see problems on the horizon —problems that would eventually grow to the point where these executives would pay anything to make them go away. Why are so many business owners so shortsighted?
There are many reasons, but here are eight glaring reasons why companies just sit there:
Anyone can start a business – It’s true. It takes very little to start a business. However, not everyone can keep a business. Having a compelling product or service is one thing, putting it all together into a thriving business is something altogether different. Many people who have started businesses have no business acumen and they don’t necessarily want to have it. If you are one of those people, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a viable business, it just means that you need to find business people to run your business. You know your product or service. They know how to run the business to market, sell, and distribute that product or service.
It’s not all about the money – Many business owners measure the health of their company solely by their financial situation. The company is making money. Their personal wealth has increased. They have purchased the Tesla so things must be going great! Money is fleeting, and yet it is so easy to get intoxicated by it. Unfortunately, it is but a small part of the overall health of the business and business owners can celebrate financial success, but must take the time to look at the business in its entirety. Financials are positively or negatively affected by the other parts of the business.
Ego can both help and hurt – All business owners must have a bit of an ego, otherwise they wouldn’t have started the business to begin with. However, that same ego can negatively affect how the business is run. Ego can cause an owner not to seek assistance, not to hire the right people, and not to make the best decisions. It’s hard, but necessary, to put aside your own feelings for the good of the people around you and the business in general. Seeking help is not weakness, it’s wisdom.
You’re not as smart as you think – No one is as smart as they think they are. In some areas we are experts, of course. But where business owners run into trouble is when they don’t think they need help in a specific area. For example, many companies won’t hire an internal HR generalist or seek help from an outsourced HR firm because it’s easier to make the Office Manager the HR representative. Unfortunately, the Office Manager doesn’t have real expertise in that area. You don’t need to know everything, but it’s important to know what you don’t know.
You didn’t hire the right employees – Seventy-five per cent of all hiring is due to turnover. Turnover is caused by poor organizational fit or behavior issues. The cost of a bad hire can be as high as $50K depending on the position. Many companies have no idea of the cost of turnover or even the rate of turnover in their companies. Hire the best. Review and improve your hiring process to do just that. Consider job benchmarking to reduce bad hires.
Management by intimidation doesn’t work – Managing people is both an art and a science and some people were never meant to manage people, plain and simple. Management by intimidation, yelling, pointing out mistakes, and pushing people to the limit will not only stress you out, but will negatively affect your business. Most business owners have no idea of the true cost of hiring employees and if they did, they would realize that once you hire them, you certainly don’t want to lose them. Want to reduce turnover? Learn how to mentor and coach your employees and if you can’t do it, hire someone else to do it and get out of the way.
If you think you can wait, you probably can’t – All too often, business owners see problems but feel they can wait to address them. What they don’t realize is that the longer they wait the bigger the problem gets and the more costly it becomes to ultimately fix it. Problems don’t go away on their own. Ignoring them will not make things better, only worse. Put your team on it. You don’t have to resolve the problem all by yourself. Trust them and they will come up with a much better solution than you would have come up by trying to tackle it yourself.
You let glaring symptoms go unchecked – There are always glaring symptoms. Many times you are too close to the problem to see it. Addressing issues before they become problems is less costly and less harmful to both the employees and the customers. Teach your team to look for the symptoms. Bring in an outsider at times to look at your operations. You’d be surprised at what he/she might see that was right in front of your eyes.
Businesses don’t run themselves. Businesses need constant review, analysis, and improvement. Businesses need help both internally and externally. Businesses need to hire based on what candidates can bring to the table. Businesses need to ensure the new hires are coached and mentored and not just managed. Businesses need strong leaders with small egos. Businesses need leaders who know what they don’t know and will not hesitate to obtain the help they need to not only keep the business on track, but always moving forward.
About the Author — Ron Feher is the Chief Improvement Officer at WhiteRock Business Solutions whose mission is to help make small businesses better by making their people better. He concentrates on the people aspects of business through his Executive Coaching and Manager Mentoring Programs, Job Benchmarking, Staff Development, meeting facilitation and motivational speaking, and career coaching. Ron is a certified professional analyst with TTI Success Insights® and Career Direct. He utilizes their assessments to help hire, coach, mentor, and retain top talent and improve team effectiveness and efficiency. WhiteRock is located in Orange County, California and can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net; or contact Ron (www.linkedin.com/in/ronaldafeher) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (949-466-0943). @RonFeher