Running a small business can be extremely stressful; it takes courage, confidence and lots of energy. You need to be prepared to take risks, to be inspirational, both for yourself and for any staff looking up to you and you have to keep on persevering when you feel dis-illusioned, when every day feels like a struggle.
It is no wonder that over 50% of small business fail within the first 2 years! Once the start-up struggle has passed, you come to a happy place for a short while: You are running the show, you are in control, systems and processes are now established and you know what most days look like, business starts to prosper. Of course, that can also become quite stressful, you probably find yourself working longer hours to fit all the tasks into the day, your daily ‘to do’ list starts to spill over to the following day, things start to spiral a little out of control. That’s ok, you can expand, take on more staff, move to larger premises, get back on track…
Of course, it’s quite rare to find staff who carry out the work with such passion and commitment as when you are running the show yourself, but you have to learn how to delegate and now you need to monitor the staff, praise when they are doing things well, but be quick to discuss and rectify when things aren’t being carried out quite as well as they should be. That can be a hard lesson to learn if you have not been in charge of staff before, you need to know how employment legislation works, how to get the best out of people, how to encourage, nurture, discipline and detach.
I have a never ending passion for the business and find it tremendously rewarding being able to encourage new people into the industry, train them to be great negotiators, whether they are working in the sales or lettings field, I love to bring out the very best in people by coaching to their strengths and helping them to understand and improve their weaknesses, giving fair appraisals, rewards for great work, critique where required and always looking at ways to improve.
My belief is that staff engagement comes from the bottom up, sometimes the top tier have lost touch with the day-to-day issues of the business or see things very differently than those on the front line. Never lose sight of the fact that the first impression of your business comes from the person who answers the phone (or doesn’t) or the person who stands to greet (or doesn’t) and your business is only ever as good as the last person to review you, even if that is just in their head.
Never forget to spend time with the front line staff, with your Saturday (busy day) people, with your valuers, with your property managers and with your accounts team. On that final point, just think of all that hard work getting a landlord on board, finding a tenant, getting them moved in and everything sorted, only for the accounts team to get the payment wrong and up-turn the entire happy deal.
For an independent review of your business and assessment of your staff engagement and customer experience, get in touch with JP Gardner & Associates today on 01923 627777 or email [email protected]