At 59 years old I have had 25 years plus in the small business environment, I have been successful in building from a start up and also buying a going concern and developing the business to succesful profitable levels. These tips are based on my own journey between the age of 40-50. My aim in choosing this subject will hopefully help any small business to succeed and miss the pit falls of failure.
I was about 42 when I purchased a going concern. Turnover was about 650,000 with three staff the business was receding due to no activity on sales, however it had a solid base of customers which meant the business was profitable enough to enable a turnaround. The interesting analysis when I look back is the growth factor in the first two years.
Why was growth so fast
The business grew 50% in the first year, even though my product knowledge was nil. When I analyse the matrix we had 3 staff I worked in production distribution and sales every day and the staff that had been there years suddenly got highly motivated . Why ?
The staff got highly motivated because I worked closely with them. So why would this happen?
- I was passionate about the business
- I arrived and left before anyone else
- I was working closely with them and they felt special
The business had an re-newed energy, Every one pulled together and was enthusiastic about growing the company. I had given them a vision of what my goals were for the company and that eventually rewards would follow. The business in year two went from 950,000 turnover to 1,300,000 we had to take more staff on.
Some of the staff that I worked closely with in year one became supervisors and as we grew we had to take more staff on we still grew why ?
- The supervisors still carried the passion to grow
- This was passed on to the new members of staff
- I was still able to work closely with all the staff
1,300,000 to 2,000,000 we achieved this in year 4 however we were now 15 staff. This is where we stagnated I made an error. I decided to keep going out on the road travelling to see customers I should have invested in a Field Sales Manager.
- This caused the business to plateau
- Staff lost their passion
- Staff lost their discipline
The staff lost their passion and enthusiasm very slowly , it was a little each day, it was slow slight I didn't notice was was happening. Due to my passion, goals and desires for the business, what I had not realised my philosophy was passed on to all daily as we all worked together. BUT as new people joined they did what human nature does. Accepted their pay each week, did what was asked but they were moaning about small issues, grumpling that it was too hot to work in the summer and too cold in the winter. Small and insignificant you would think, beware this caused a negative attitude to spread through to the old loyal passionate enthusiastic staff. You have heard the saying " one bad apple......." well its true so if you are in a similar position look below the surface listen to the whispers are they positive or negative !!
I will be posting further blogs to follow on with this information to look at where we go from the questions posed today. Blogging is my new passion, I have fun coupled with happiness and fulfilment.
I want to thank you for reading my blog, would you please share like and comment.