Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Two Options for the 21st Century Small(er) Business

If you own a small(er) business, and most of us do, you have probably managed your business like we all have. Except for managers and mechanics, we hire “industrialized workers”. 

That is we hire cogs in the system; people who want to be told what to do, who are hired and trained to obey. These are jobs that get outsourced or people who work cheap. This team needs a manager, a manager patient enough to instruct, teach and measure.

The Downside: Sometimes you, the boss, are also busy getting new business, inventing new products and generally working outside the organization. As a result, you’re hoping that you have built the kind of organization where people will do as they are told, do it on time and do it in a professional, courteous and kindly manner. 

Because if you’re not the leader of this type of organization and haven’t built it in such a manner (you inherited it and never bothered to change it), you will be disappointed, over and over.

But there are a couple of other ways to run a “small business.”

One Other Way Is to Look at Employees as “Being Equals”. That is an organization staffed   with people who have particular skills, marketing and digital marketing, finance, personnel/training and operations. Now I’m not saying that you need four people for this, but I am saying you have four different functions that need to be covered, perhaps by 3 existing people. 

You could say that the Beatles were organized as "Being Equals". To make this happen, each person who takes on the function has to be really talented in that field, gifted and unique; he or she has to feel that his/her function are essential to the ongoing success of the business

The Downside: Sometimes this team of equals may forget that their job is ALSO coordination and communication with other team members and just because each of them have unique skills, becoming a prima donna is a trap that is far too easy for one or some of them to fall into.

The Second Way To Look At Employees Is “Your Merry Band of Men and Women.” This is a group of people with similar goals, perceptions and approaches to business. As a result, you can say to them, “use your best judgement" and they go off and do the right thing. 99% of the time

As a quick sidebar, Nordstrom’s, has this one line in their employee policy manual, “Use Your Best Judgement".  They can do that because they hire people who have been screened to match the organization’s goals, approaches and perceptions.

The Downside: This isn’t cheap or easy. You literally have to re-evaluate your whole staff and decide what your goals, approach and perceptions are and who matches or doesn’t match with what you want.  If you don’t spend the money to recruit, hire and train, then you will be disappointed when they “use their best judgement.”

The point is:  You do have options to organize and manage your business in the 21st century to meet a new set of employee and consumer criteria.  

In fact, there are many options. 
These are just two of them. 

What would you do or want to do?  
Let me know, please, and I’ll publish it!

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