Personal Issues on Business Time

We have been struggling with personal issues at work. For me, it’s a family illness. For one of my key employees it’s a relationship that’s not going so well. Another employee is facing financial difficulties. And a third has her head in the clouds, planning a wedding. It all seems to be ganging up on us. As the owner, I know I’m responsible for keeping things at work on track. I’m looking for advice on the right approach. I know this is how life goes sometimes, but I’m worried about the toll it might take on the business. Where do I draw the line?

Thoughts of the Day: Life intrudes, often at the most inconvenient times. Realistically assess what each employee needs in the way of relief or support. Be careful about setting precedents you can live with. Invite people to participate in groups. Know when you have to step in and do something.

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Doing the Deal

A colleague asked if I was interested in buying her company. My curiosity is piqued, but I’m not sure. She says she wants to keep working to help insure a successful transition, and to have income for the next few years. While I’d be open to doing an acquisition, I’m also worried: If she came to work for us what opportunity is there for her to make a living? My gut says she’s considering selling because she can’t make enough money on her own. I don’t want to solve her need for income and leave my company on the short end of the stick. Suggestions?

Thoughts of the Day: Make sure you know what this business does for your company. Negotiate until you’re both clear as to the role can the seller will play in your company. Think about how easy or difficult it would be to take on the business. Can you make money by doing the deal?

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Transferring ownership across generations

We’re a two-generation company, and I find that ownership is very confusing. It feels like as long as the seniors are alive, we in the next generation will never own the company, even though we’re now doing the majority of the heavy lifting. On top of that, the seniors represent a huge financial drain on the company. Given what they’re taking out of the business, why would they give up control?

Thoughts of the day: Think about what control you want, and what leverage you have to get it. Figure out how to make the senior generation whole. Make sure the next generation is ready to run the business.

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Reaching for more, with confidence

A wise person once told me that the fear of rejection is something that some people internalize – when you can let go of that fear it’s empowering; if you don’t get there it holds you back. I want to empower my people, encourage them to do more. I know I have to hold people accountable and challenge them to do more so they can earn more. How do I do that without causing them to fear?

Thoughts of the Day: It’s all about approval and a secure sense of belonging. Make sure you and your employees are clear about what’s expected. Help each employee to visualize success. Reassure your people that you will stand behind them one way or another, until they get to the other side of the problem.

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Building a Success Model

If we’re thinking about the future, none of us is passionate about the industry we’re in. We’re seeing troubles and struggles with every aspect of our current business model. How do we decide where to go from here?

Thoughts of the day: It’s not just startups that need to come up with a fresh-start business plan. Work backwards, building your new plan around success factors. Make a plan to align your company, top to bottom — vision, strategy, goals and tactics.

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