Business Owner as Teacher and Coach!

I was reviewing the monthly financials with The Boss in advance of sending them to his banker, one of the services I offer is coaching The Boss how to manage a banking relationship.  I was challenging The Boss with a few questions regarding the change in his backlog.  The backlog for the previous month was close to a million dollars and now for this month it is next to nothing, and the revenues did not reflect the million dollars in sales.  We took a step back to analyze why and search out the root cause of the miss-information.  Come to find out the production manager, who was only a few months out of the field and now in a management position, had made an error when estimating the backlog. It didn’t take long to determine that the production manager was never taught how to calculate the backlog.  Fortunately, in this case, we caught the error and adjusted the information prior to sending the financials to The Boss’s bank. After we found the problem, The Boss and I had a few conversations about how to fix the situation so it did not reoccur. What I explained to The Boss, who was […]

How did The Boss act when “The Toy” was broken…!

There are times when I first engage with a business that I realize the business model that has worked for many years is broken for whatever reason and my goal is to work with The Boss to repair or “fix” their long-standing business model.  As I begin to work with The Boss to assess the challenges of the organization, I often find myself working closely with the key employees of the organization. As we begin our work together, it becomes apparent what needs to be improved and what is working well. Often, I come to this assessment through the insight of the key employees.  In short, the answers to the problems the business is experiencing are often offered up to me by these seasoned employees. Why then does The Boss not know how to fix the problems? Once the business model is broken and The Boss cannot fix it himself or herself, they may become frustrated because The Boss feels they should have all the answers, it’s their business after all.  The real answer lies in poor communications and The Boss has not engaged these key employees, who are the “subject matter experts”, to help to solve the issues. Ever-so-often […]

What’s a customer worth? If you roll the dice, you could “crap out!”

In a recent manager’s meeting I attended, there was a discussion regarding a poor performing employee who was disrupting co-workers and exemplifying very poor customer service.  The Boss’s initial knee-jerk reaction he said, “Fire her!”. The employee’s supervising manager was lobbying The Boss to keep her on duty until he could hire a replacement to take her place.  This is a service business already operating in an understaffed position due to a low unemployment environment and lack of qualified applicants. A position that most employers are experiencing in today’s economy.  As I listened to the discussion, I began to hear The Boss’s position change as he was being sawed by the supervising manager. After a while, I began to ask a few questions to get their attention.  What does it cost to lose a customer? How hard is it to gain a new customer?  We already know how challenging it is to find good workers in today’s world. I continued, in my experience when a company retains a bad employee, it is hard for the very good employees to justify staying with the company.  The good employees leave not because they cannot do the job, they leave because they do […]