The business of business

OrganigramIf you’ve ever been promoted you have probably found yourself doing a job that wasn’t what you set out to do – and may be a job you don’t have the skills for.  

Big organisations do this all the time – they promote their best performer and then that person discovers that promotion doesn’t just mean a bigger pay packet, it means managing people too.  One of the most common situations is where the top sales person suddenly finds themselves trapped in an office managing people instead of being the lone wolf out there bringing home the bacon.  Motivation goes out the window and the best case scenario is that the company gets a mediocre sales manager.  More often the sales person hates sitting in an office and isn’t interested in managing others, he or she would rather be out there at the sharp end making things happen.  Not to mention the fact that the company has also lost their best sales person.

Enlightened organisations don’t make this mistake – and at the very least give new supervisors and managers the right training in management skills to help them to do a good job.  But what about when someone decides to leave their corporate role and start their own business?

It’s easy to imagine that, because you are so good at what you do eager customers will come breaking down your door.  Even more dangerous when you leave your corporate role with an outsourced contract to keep some money coming in.  This is why many start ups fail – their entrepreneurial owners haven’t taken into account all the other skills they will need.  Who leaves the marketing department of a corporate with bookkeeping skills, prospecting and sales skills, customer service experience and more?  Which accounting clerk knows all about marketing, sales and networking?

Suddenly you are not just a specialist in your chosen field – you’re in the business of business.

So now what?

The bible on becoming a business owner I have ever come across is The EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber.  Reading this straightforward book should be on every business owner’s essential reading list.

Even if you don’t read Michael Gerber’s book you should create an organigram for your business – an organisational chart that has at the very least the key roles – Managing Director, Finance Manager, Sales & Marketing Manager, Production Manager and, as soon as you have even one part-time employee, HR Manager.  Right now these might all be you – but it helps you to focus on what needs to be done in each area and ensure it gets covered.

If you really can’t bear to do all the tasks your business needs you’ll either need to employ someone – and that might be a sales person if that’s not your strength, outsource services on an hourly basis to one of the many support companies or collaborate with other small businesses who have complementary skills.  For example, I know of two ladies who have different businesses, but debt collect for each other as they find it much easier to ring someone else’s customers and demand payment!


Written by Lesley Morrissey

Lesley Morrissey

I’ve written since I was at Primary School and achieved ‘fame’ by having a poem read on the BBC Schools programme at the age of 9! Since then I’ve written features for newspapers and magazines and, this century, commercial copy for businesses big and small.

The aim is to persuade my client’s target audience to take action so copy needs not only to be in their ‘voice’, but also to be written for the reader full of juicy benefits.

In other lives I’ve been a training manager, an HR manager, a quality director and a speaker.

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