Running a hectic SMB.

Do you know, small & medium business owners experience all sorts of hurdles during the lifecycle of their company. Causes like growth (or shrink) of the company, back-office staffing, salesfigures, finance, product development ….. Stress creating and diffusing the daily needed focus on the actual business and – moreover – the challenges of tomorrow.

Recognizable? Then read on please.

Here’s a surprise: Running a business consísts of just these factors. If they were non-existing, the whole world would be doing yóur business, running yóur factory or selling yóur products. It is simply because these hurdles exist, that only a smaller group of people has the guts, the character and the stamina to set up a business, keep it running and – one fine day – gets the glory. May you sometimes feel like Sisyphus, pushing that enormous piece of rock up the mountain at Tartaros and seeing it roll down just before reaching the top, sentenced by the gods to repeat this labour unendingly, remember only you and people like you can do the trick successfully.

But really, you can think of no situation or crisis that did not occur earlier in this worlds’ enterprising landscape or, for that matter, has not been experienced and described somewhere at some time.

This means that, apart from running your business, you háve to develop your entrepreneurial and general knowledge, by reading. Situations you experience today, have been solved ánd described by others yesterday or before that.

Reading books and articles written by experts gets you further and is also cheaper than practicing trial and error, or visiting lectures. Also, reading can be done at moments that suit you, even on holidays.

Experiencing problems or challenges within the company means, that there is always at least one book in which your situation is described in the course of time. Only thing to do is turn the pages to the next chapter(s) and read one or more solutions, as well as the tricks that didn’t work out right. Another thing is to find the right books ofcourse. For the latter, the internet is the most useful source, but talking to others also helps to get you on the right track. Just do not start attending every network chapter in your surroundings. It will cost you too much time, time that you need for activities that really need your physical presence, like at home.

However, it is nowadays impossible and also irresponsible to start or run a business without having or acquiring a minimum amount of theoretical knowledge, or at least having access to it. Decisions have to be taken every hour of the day, in which you cannot just depend on your craftsmans’ skills and intuition. Investments, ideas, pricing, the IoT, negotiations with your banker … all are duties you maybe didn’t look for when starting your business, but they come in the deal, inevitably.

Not so keen on reading yourself? Try to find one or two experienced and trusted people on which you can rely. Pay their fees as they charge them and before all, keep away from friends and family for this specific function. Do not mingle or frighten them with your business-originated headaches. One way or another, you either lose a friend or become the black sheep in the family. Consultants have to be just that, consultants. Hired (or fired) on the basis of their knowledge and results, with no emotional strings attached. Don’t be mean, but keep it clean!

Also, your banker or accountant is not fit for this function, they have other specialities and other interests. As my father always told me: ‘Hand the company over to an accountant and it’s the end of innovation, and sales too.’

About bankers, well, they have had their bit of attention in the past few years.

You need someone with a reasonable distance to your markets, the typical hands-on guy (or girl) with the famous helicopterview, but with mud on the boots and a kind of rugged approach. Honest and direct in style of communication. By the way, the female advisor has my preference. Women tend to look different at things, people or situations and can open your eyes to subjects you might until then have overlooked. Refreshing to have them around in a world dominated by machismo! Ofcourse, the other way round, when you are a woman, try to find out what the male view can do to assist you.

Anyway, I prefer reading but I’m far from dyslectic, which can be another hurdle in your professional development. If the reading goes allright, buy that book / those books and keep a yellow marker at the ready, supposing you prefer the ‘old skool’ paper version like I do.

If reading tires you even more than facing all the daily challenges, find that advisor and get some help. If you – for some reason – don’t, you’ll put your company in peril and hence the means of existence of your associates and their families.

Wishing you lots of wisdom and a bit of luck, too.

 

√older Managementondersteuning

Organisatieadvies en Personeel

Ivar Volder

Telefoon    06 21 26 01 08

E-mail        ivar@volderenco.nl

Website     http://www.volderenco.nl

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What is nót done on LinkedIn?

Why this question? Because it bothers me sometimes and I think people can do with some advice from an experienced user, sometimes. LinkedIn is a business networkfacilitator, or is meant to be such. Most people use it according to this intention, but not everybody seems to understand. Hereunder a few simple advices to prevent embarrassing yourself, your company or your employer.

  • Keep your profile up-to-date and activate the “Notify your network” functionality. People will first want to see where you are and what you are up to now, not what you were doing three years ago.
  • Post a businesslike profile picture, so no sunglasses, children or pets in your photo. What about motorbikes, cars and other bigboys toys? I don’t favour them on LinkedIn. Save these pics for Facebook.
  • Watch your language. If you publish a post or respond to other users, take extra care in using correct grammar and spelling. Watch out for automaticially added words or sentences, because – if unnoticed – they may reduce your contribution to gibberish.
  • Remember, LinkedIn has no members, groups and communities have no members, just users or maybe fans. It is not an association in which you pay for your membership and there are no regulations, only (unwritten) rules of interaction.
  • Do not use LinkedIn as if it were some sort of Amazon, Marktplaats/EBay or AliBaba. It is not meant to sell houses and cars and not even for charity, or to try to find your stray dog. Use the appropriate media for these purposes, or keep your dog on a leash and find out why it would want to get away from you.
  • Take your time to explore all functions LinkedIn has to offer, both the free as well as the paid products. You might be in for a surprise.
  • Also be aware of your account settings and adjust them in the way you prefer. Leave them unattended and you will never get the most out of your network.
  • I always find it very handy when an e-mail address and/or telephonenumber is available and easy to find. Mention them at least in your personal contact information.
  • Change of job? Erase your old e-mail address(es) and telephonenumber, often forgotten items in contact info.
  • Do not try to connect to people you never have met or talked to. Sometimes they accept, only to delete you a short while afterward. Most of the times they will refuse and be annoyed about being bothered i.e. not a good start.
  • Furthermore, do not post any games or riddles. We are not interested when active on LinkedIn.
  • Control your number of posts, likes and shares and do not post too many items on a single day. Not everybody wants or has to see everything that you have been watching or reading or digging.
  • Last but not least, quit the quotes! Too many – in a way – interesting and more or less famous statements by more or less famous people, tend to be annoying, do not endure and only pollute our timelines.

 

√older Managementondersteuning

Organisatieadvies en Personeel

Ivar Volder

Telefoon    06 21 26 01 08

E-mail        ivar@volderenco.nl

Website     http://www.volderenco.nl