- Curtis Mackenzie
A small business owner becomes "anything" they need to be at the time....
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
I like this quote because it encapsulates the mindset entrepreneurs should have when unexpected events inevitably occur day to day. Few small businesses have the luxury of having a specialist employee or outsourced "Vendor" to solve every problem for them at all times. More likely, they will have frequent events that come up with no one assigned, or available to handle. In these instances, someone needs to step in. The outbreak of Covid 19 is a perfect example of an unforeseen event that needed to be adapted to quickly. We are starting to see some recovery with jobs and business spending, but small business owners still need to remain vigilant. Here are some reminders:
Being willing and able to become "anything", means taking whatever action and role that is necessary at the time, and to fix whatever problem is urgent. Owners that become accustomed to making comments like "That's not my job", or "someone will have to fix that later", need to re-think their perspective, ... every job should be "their job", until the job gets done.
...But don't all "good" managers think and behave this way? Yes and no, it is common in larger organizations that a lot of problems do not get fixed in a timely manner because managers either feel overwhelmed by too many problems, or that they're not compensated adequately for making extra efforts that are out of their direct mandate. The good news for small business owners is that their willingness to take on any role at any time can give them a competitive advantage vis a vis their larger competitors. More critically, small businesses cannot afford to have problems go unsolved for any length of time, they will cause slow downs in the sales cycle, negatively affect morale, kill cash flow, and soon the business itself.
"Owners that become accustomed to making comments like "That's not my job", or "someone will have to fix that later", need to re-think their perspective, ... every job should be "their job", until the job gets done".
Here are some examples of situations where an owner needs to "change hats" suddenly and get the job done without hesitation or complaint.
A key sales person calls in sick at the last minute and a client is waiting. The entrepreneur or business owner suddenly needs to become a "salesperson". He or she may not have a responsibility for sales in their own job description, but needs to step into the role nonetheless, without hesitation. Apologize to the client and make the best sales presentation possible on short notice.
If it's decided your company needs to get more publicity from industry events, you need to quickly become a "networker", whether or not you enjoy the social side of business.
If an invoice is unpaid and someone needs to go meet the client and talk it through, you'll suddenly need to become a "negotiator". Yes, you could outsource this to a collections agency, but this might be better handled and go more smoothly with you as the owner making the visit rather than a third party that wont care as much about the client relationship.
Other sudden roles can include "mediator" - if two staff are not getting along, "therapist" - when a staff is having issues with stress, "accountant" - when financials need to be double checked, or a "fundraiser" - if your business needs cash suddenly in order to scale quickly.
"...small businesses cannot afford to have problems go unsolved for any length of time, they will cause slow downs in the sales cycle, negatively affect morale, kill cash flow, and soon the business itself".
See our post "7 Common mistakes when starting a new business" for other advice on starting and managing a small business from day one.
For a direct discussion on how we help your business grow and thrive in Japan or Asia Pacific, contact us. New Frame KK.