The main focus for any new business will be growth: building a client base, establishing an image for your brand, getting started with social media, et cetera. But while you’re trying to get word of your brilliant new cake shop to potential customers, it’s important to keep an eye on the people who are making the business tick. Very few entrepreneurs are capable of running a successful business single-handedly, and you’re almost certain to need a little help when you’re starting up.
It’s important to look after the people who have been with your company since the very beginning. This could mean your trusty secretary, your ever-vigilant accountant, or just the posse you rounded up to do the manual labour for you; all of these people are valuable to your business, and it’s better to hang on to them than to let them go and replace them with inexperienced new folk. Your initial cohorts are likely to have an emotional attachment to the business, a sense of loyalty that will probably be absent from any future recruits. After all, these people played a part in the company’s creation, and they’ll want to do what they can to keep it afloat!
So the lesson is this: look after the people you start with. A lot of managers encourage their employees to see them as a co-worker rather than The Boss, but this dynamic becomes much harder to achieve when you’re a multi-millionaire business tycoon who works in a separate office with an ensuite bathroom. If you’re keen to create a good relationship with your workforce (and you should be), it’s best to do so when your business is still in its formative stages. In a nutshell, be nice to your employees; this will make them more likely to stick around, and when you do start expanding and adding new faces to the team, the newcomers will be more than happy to get involved in the friendly, all-for-one atmosphere that you’ve been cultivating since the beginning.
- The people who helped to get your business off the ground will have an emotional stake in the company, which means that they will take a closer interest in your continued success than new recruits will.
- Keep an eye on your loyal employees. Make sure that they're happy in their work, and that they are content with the way you're handling the business.
- Remember, it's always better to hang on to a reliable old employee than to replace them with somebody new! Do your best to keep everyone happy (within reason), and you should find that your staff retention stays high.
If you'd like to improve your capability as a manager, there are several OSR training courses that can help. The Effective People Manager course is ideal for people with a lot of managerial responsibility, while the Managing Teams training day can help you to stay on top of your business as it expands and grows. Small business owners are welcome at both events; go to the individual course pages for details.