6 Things Small Business Fears Most
- Keeping employees motivated and satisfied: Man, if you’re a business owner you might think people should just be happy to have the job your company affords in this uncertain economy. Well, I hear the point… BUT if you want employees and an environment that people and you enjoy coming to work everyday, consider this:
- Employees want more than a job and a paycheck. Yep, they want to contribute. Work with them on goals that are relevant to the company.
- Provide recognition for performance. Celebrate deserved success; Individual and Company wide.
- Pay attention to work/life balance challenges your staff might be facing. Your employees AND yours.
- Boss’ relevance: You’re the owner, the head of the company. People look to you to lead, give direction, make decisions; basically a know it all. This is a falsehood! Heads of companies are often playing this role at the detriment of the company. At worst they’re a poser. Accept that it’s OK NOT to know. Then get the best available talent around you. Collaborate, get input, then make an informed decision based on the input you’ve received. This is decision making NOT consensus management. As the owner/CEO the decision is ultimately yours. The difference is you’ve done what you can to engage your talented staff for input. They then should be able to agree to and execute the decision.
Costs: Rather than look at costs as a line item, consider whether there’s an investment toward creating economic value, e.g., revenue that supports the expense. Beyond certain basic support costs to the business review direct costs that create economic value to growth. Evaluate, change, and refine. This might included eliminating unprofitable customers (yes, there’s such a thing), dropping certain products from the portfolio, evaluating customer facing and support personnel on both qualitative and quantitative measures.
Revenues: Consider what is profitable, sustainable and repeatable. NOT just what grows the top line. Often small companies grow fast BUT at a loss on every incremental revenue dollar. Review 6 Keys to Revenue for more specifics.
International Competition from over the Horizon: Your blind to what might be coming at you outside of your backyard. In past years China manufacturing was the key concern. People ran over there to establish sourcing deals. Well China is becoming more expensive, less competitive. What’s the next country to go to? Consider this… Don’t worry about what you can’t see… Yeah really! Instead plan your own future. Map out your international strategy and programs. Where are you now? What products seem to have international traction? What are the appropriate channels and partners for country markets? Do you even need to source manufacturing beyond your home country?
Government Regulation: In the U.S. the new health care provisions in 2013 really begin to kick in. The policy of greatest concern appears to be the requirement that any company with more than 50 employees. The company must provide health insurance or the employer will need to pay a penalty to the government on each employee not covered. Many companies are looking at ways to avoid the mandate by reducing full time headcount below 50 or to shift more people to part time status. This is a knotty issue: complex from the perspective of human resource, legal, and tax. Consider:
Review of total employee compensation; wages, salary, benefits. What is the change effect? How do employees feel about this, and what solutions might be arrived at?
Strategic evaluation: as with any regulation consider the situation, the issues and opportunity to be constructive with what may otherwise seem a huge impediment.
- Get Related Human Resource expertise to advise on healthcare implications for your company. There are some good resources to speak with. Please email me if you’re in need email@example.com
My friend and associate Rich Hennessey comments that economic uncertainty is the new business normal. I’ll add… don’t lament about what’s not in your control. Focus on what you can do.
Rich adds, “…be optimistic; take calculated risks…”. He suggests 10 Methods for Growth in 2013. Two of the 10 focus on customers as both a source of additional business AND input about your business.
REMOVE your FEAR!!! Be bold, create your own certainty to overcome fear. Lastly, remember to have fun on the journey to growth that satisfies you.
Peter Klinge, Jr., is an executive whose purpose is helping companies grow to achieve their desired potential. He works alongside owners and executives to define and execute growth strategies. As needed he engages in operating, project, and board advisory roles.