Most people prefer the company of others for at least part of their working day, to “flying solo”. And their reasons for surrounding themselves with people may well be based on sound and practical thinking. Or it may not! There are entrepreneurs who are under the misconception that in order to be the real McCoy, they must lead a team of employees; still others simply like the camaraderie of the corporate environment or the presence of their own resident “cheering squad” to quell feelings of insecurity. None of these is a good reason for adding to the key people in your company!
In fact, contrary to popular belief, the opposite is often the case. Years ago I employed a multitude of people in business after business. And then I made a decision! I sold out of the last business, fired all the employees AND the Landlord and moved the “office” home. It wasn’t long before I was turning over $1 million per year working from home, in fact it would be safe to say I ended up making more money THEN than I do now, with the added expenses I have to cover since moving back into an office again! When I worked from home, there were certain roles I was required to fill myself, which I now delegate to somebody else. But now I also expend time and energy dealing with the inevitable situations that arise with staff and office politics, which were not an issue before. While a change of such dramatic proportions wouldn’t work for every business, it may totally recharge some!
The RIGHT reasons for increasing your number of staff are: to increase profits! This might mean that you hire someone who has skills you don’t possess. It may be that by having another person filling a role in the office, your own time is freed up so that while they work IN your business, you can work ON it.
And it’s not always measurable in financial terms. How many people live to regret lost time they could have spent with their families? Even if the whole exercise diminishes the coffers somewhat, what price do you put on spending valuable time with loved ones or being able to pursue an activity you love? The role of the entrepreneur can be a challenging one and the support of those close to them, whether family members, key employees or even peers, should never be underestimated.
In fact Andrew Carnegie referred to such a team of people, as “the mastermind concept”. Both Carnegie and his protégé Napoleon Hill of Think and Grow Rich fame, however, put a caveat on the formation of such a group. This was, choose your members wisely! Give the highest priority to building a team which will operate in harmony with each other!
Firstly, be realistic! Common to most entrepreneurs is a tendency to see the best in people, to expect that others share their level of motivation and enthusiasm. But they soon find out, some people simply don’t WANT to be helped or to take action to improve their lot. It’s when the highly motivated entrepreneur begins to push these people to raise their bottom lines that disaster often occurs! As Robert Kiyosaki says, “Don’t try to teach pigs to sing; it upsets the pigs and you just get covered in mud”! How true. I’m guilty! And I’ve paid the price in lost friendships and anguish.
With the benefit of experience both good and bad, I believe the profile of the RIGHT person to choose is …. in a nutshell, someone who is basically secure in themselves. They don’t mind covering your tracks and picking up the odd pieces. RESULTS are their focus and they MAKE SURE things get implemented to achieve them. Ideally, they also have a cheerful disposition!
As an entrepreneur, you’re looking for someone with …
- The ability to accept responsibility
- A sense of security, as opposed to a person in need of reassurance
- Abelief in co-operation
- A willingness and ability to confront obstacles and even confrontations in a mature manner, with the voice of reason.
You could liken this person to the assistant coach of a major football team. While the primary coach gets the glory, the assistant coach feels no need to demand more recognition… They just go about getting the result for the team and give it their best!
And when it clearly isn’t working? Get rid of the source of the problem. You have no other alternative, but to wipe the slate clean. If you don’t, the danger is it will fester and infect like a noxious weed. Do it as cleanly and quickly as possible in the circumstances. You can’t afford to allow a dysfunctional relationship or arrangement drain away energy you could be giving your business! The really smart – and realistic entrepreneur develops dissolution agreements.