Enterprise

How to avoid the trap of self-employment

salesw
murori

Summary

  • Currently due to high level of unemployment you can get employees at the price of table salt. 
  • Hire competently people with the right attitude, skills and can make sound decisions at whatever cost.
  • Incompetent, inexperienced and untrainable employees are very expensive to any enterprise.

Jeff had worked for five years after graduating from university and then resigned to start his own business. Though his job was well paying he realised there was no life in it – long working hours alienated him from family and friends.

His business picked up well and made more money than in employment. However, as business grew, it become more complex in terms of management and his personal involvement.

To keep the wheel spinning, he worked more hours and hardly had any off day or holiday unlike when he was employed. His idea of having free time with family, time to travel and do the things he enjoyed for leisure became a mirage.

Many people who own a small business looking for time and financial freedom end up becoming a victim of their own success. They own a business and as it grows it owns them. The business imprisons them such that they have to work round the clock and sleep late at night and wake up early still thinking about it.

This is called self-employment trap. Once trapped you lose the freedom, time, and indulgences you dream and envisioned when starting a business. In exchange you get money and fame that ultimately you realise were overprized.

To avoid this scenario, you have to do certain things early in your entrepreneurial journey.

First, write down what success means to you and how you will know when you are successful. It is possible to be successful but live chasing success and never contented.

Second, build a strong structures and systems that enable you to operate your business easily without your 100 per cent physical presence and involvement. Empower your key employees to make decisions and sort issues without necessarily involving you in day to day operations.

Third, hire and train the right people. Building systems and hiring the right people are the foundation of successful enterprises. They go hand in hand. Your systems need to be so simple that anyone can fit in and perform well and you must have people who have the right attitude trained to do their duties well.

Currently due to high level of unemployment you can get employees at the price of table salt. But basing your hiring solely on how cheaply you can get workers is a terrible error of judgment.

Hire competently people with the right attitude, skills and can make sound decisions at whatever cost. Incompetent, inexperienced and untrainable employees are very expensive to any enterprise.

Finally, document your processes and leverage on technology to increase efficiency, cut cost and increase customer experience.

Doing what we have discussed above necessities you identifying and hiring specialist in different field rather than relying on few employees to perform task they are not trained on or competent.

Quite often you find specialist in certain areas are very expensive or you don’t have enough workload to engage them full time. In this case you can hire them part time or as consultants to guide your staff.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’