What Franchise’s new resident business agony aunt, Angie Coates answers your business and entrepreneurial conundrums
MY BUSINESS HAS BEEN PLATEAUING FOR A YEAR OR SO NOW. WHAT CAN I DO TO REINVIGORATE IT?
AC: Business doesn’t often stand still, so the word ‘plateau’ is making me feel nervous. Business owners are normally active, restless types, either gleefully swimming downstream to win a race or madly paddling against the tide to make sure they don’t lose it. Most days I do a bit of swimming and paddling. This sort of activity happens because as business owners we want to change the world, make a difference and contribute something that is of value to society. It’s work that can be exhausting and exhilarating, but it’s never boring.
Make a list of the reasons why you went into business and think of how they show up in your company today. What are the things that you have done that have proved most successful? How can you build on those things so they become a bigger part of your business DNA? Think creatively to identify fresh opportunities and consider investing in some additional support; changing the dynamic of a team will often have a huge positive impact, boosting energy levels and releasing tons of ‘can do’ vibes. Get active! Nothing will happen if you don’t start swimming for your life. Learn from the good old days but don’t get stuck in the shallows.
“Think creatively to identify fresh opportunities and consider investing in some additional support”
SHOULD I HIRE FAMILY MEMBERS TO WORK FOR ME?
AC: The recruitment process is never easy. I love meeting new people but I really don’t like the job of having to choose a final ‘one’ and I fret about the finality of my decisions and if I am offering the right people the right job. If I were to read family names on my shortlist, it would make the whole process even more intense. However, I can see why there may be personal reasons where hiring a family member could work out, especially in the early days of business when everything is new. Your family know you well. They may be willing to go the extra mile, happy to step in at short notice or tackle jobs which no-one else wants to do. All of this support is helpful but may not be as critical as other skill sets that are integral to a particular job.
However, should it be, after careful consideration, that you settle on a family member as the best ‘fit’, then ask them to take a practical test. Ask your family member to write down, in their own words, what they think the job will require them to do, along with their salary expectations, ideal working hours, and holiday requirements. If you are going to be working closely together, you should do the same, making a point to identify any overlap and ensuring that any nice bits get shared! Only when you have had an open conversation around the job descriptions should you agree to go ahead with your working partnership. At this stage contracts and formal job descriptions should be exchanged.