Posts Tagged ‘successful business’

A Good Business A Great Life #7: Hiring is like Crack!

by Jack Hayhow on August 22, 2011

Yesterday I heard that my friend Stan (not his real name) had just hired two new employees.  With those two hires, the head count in Stan’s company has doubled in just a few months.  The business press is writing about Stan’s growth and everywhere I go I hear, “How about Stan?  He’s really rocking.”

And yet I am deeply concerned about the very survival of Stan’s business.

You see, there’s a culture in the business community that equates success with a large number of employees.  That culture often leads small business owners down the primrose path of profligate hiring because as employment surges, recognition abounds.  If you own a small business, that recognition, often after years of anonymity and sacrifice, can be intoxicating.  In fact, hiring can be much like crack cocaine – an intense high followed by devastating consequences.

Well-meaning civic organizations often encourage this addictive hiring behavior.  In my hometown, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce sponsors a wonderful small business celebration each year.  As a part of that celebration, the Top Ten Small Businesses of Kansas City are recognized.  The top business receives the Mr. K Award, named after the legendary Kansas City entrepreneur, Ewing Kauffman.  One of the key qualifiers for this recognition is an increase in head count.  In fact, it’s more or less impossible to receive Top Ten recognition without dramatic increases in the number of people the company employs.  But as I look back on the list of recognized companies, I’m shocked by how many of those companies have failed or been reduced to a fraction of their previous glory.

For many businesses (and for virtually all service businesses) payroll is the company’s single biggest expense.  And while hiring is easy (requiring only optimism or delusion) firing is brutally difficult.  We like the people who work for us.  We worry about what will happen to them if we let them go.  We think we can fix the people – we tell ourselves they’ll get up to speed if we just give them a little more time.  We have a million reasons not to get rid of people who really need to go.  We hang on to people who are incompetent or who we don’t really need to operate the business.  And every day we do, we take a step closer to catastrophic business failure.

All because the culture and our egos tell us that success is having a lot of employees.

But that is complete and utter nonsense.  Success is about a business lean enough to survive the inevitable tough times.  Success is a business with sustainable operating cash flow.  Success is a business where the employees are fully engaged and secure in their positions as long as they continue to produce and to grow.  Success is a business that customers can’t imagine living without.  Success is a business that gives back to the community in a significant way.  Success is a business that provides the owner with the time and money to do what he or she wants to do.  That’s success!

Start Early, Drive Slowly And Reach Safely

by Naveen Lakkur on September 7, 2009

If you are thinking that I am referring to a journey, then you are right! I am referring to the journey of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial journey has 3 parts to it:

  • The Start;
  • The Drive and
  • The Finish.

All the stated 3 parts are important to be a winner.

Early/good start provides great possibility to win a car race event (any event, for that matter).

ent-startWhile there’s no age bar for entrepreneurship, early start in one’s life has its own advantages. The risk taking appetite is higher, flexibility curve is better and they are in the listening & doing mode. While experience brings some advantages, it also equally brings in constraints/mind sets. If you study a wide spectrum of very successful entrepreneurs, majority of them had started their journey of entrepreneurship early in their life.

While speed determines the fate of a race event, the preparation phase is time consuming or slow as the process could be elaborate…. as activities such as the car selection, tuning of the car performance, fitness training of the driver, etc., is all time consuming/slow and elaborate.

ent-journeyWhile the business needs to happen at the speed of thought, it’s important or it’s a prerequisite to provide a lot of care in building an organization. Things take time to build and manage the right team, to fulfill the Vision/Mission of the organization; inculcate and live right values set forth for the organization and to build great brand value for an organization. There should be no hurry or compromise on these aspects.

The finish determines the result. The enjoyable moments on the podium receiving the winning medal is determined by the finish you have.

ent-finishWhile you have built a good organization, it can be great only if it translates into an enterprise (it’s true if an organization is either built to last or it’s built to sell). Great entrepreneurs give equal care to handing the business over to safe hands as much as they do to starting and operating an organization.

“Start Early, Drive Slowly and Reach Safely” – that’s the winning formula for entrepreneurship.