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76 CLARKIES CHAT

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE… it’s how you handle it that makes or breaks you What happens in small business when demand increases, or competition gets tougher, or staff leave, or any other change occurs in business fundamentals? Yes, the business owner invariably picks up the slack through working longer hours. This is okay for short periods, but often becomes part of business-as-usual. And that is where the danger arises. For example, I know of one business owner in my network who is regularly working until midnight just to keep up.

I also know from personal experience that if this situation of being over-worked persists for any length of time, it can result in health or other personal challenges developing. Laurie Clarke is a retired local business owner and senior banker. He writes in Matters Magazine about issues of relevance to business owners.

There are options to fix this, but it does take a very conscious effort as it can be difficult to break out of this cycle. It also requires the owner to set aside some time to work out the best option for their individual business. Some of these options might include shedding unprofitable clients or product lines, re-defining the core target market, or taking on additional resources to delegate lower value tasks. As one senior executive once told me — “Don’t get caught up doing the $20 an hour jobs.” Let’s look at some of these options in a little more detail…

Business owners often get dragged into spending time on the clients who yell the loudest. That’s okay if they are in your top 20 clients for profitability, but it rarely seems to happen that way. This is understandable — most of us are in business to serve and we all want happy clients. The time to deal with this issue is not when the client is agitated. It’s best to resolve the issue and then manage the relationship expectations when things are calm. Either it will fix itself once challenged, or the client will move on, hopefully with everyone’s self-esteem intact. If you provide great service, then bear in mind that it is a privilege, not a right, for clients to work with you. Staffing is probably the most vexatious issue for business owners, particularly in terms of when to add or shed staff. A trainee can be a good option to consider, from both a cost and team development perspective. While some employers I know have had disappointing experiences, just as many have gained great, loyal, longterm employees. I know it worked for us. There are a number of organisations on the Sunshine Coast that are registered to provide services to businesses under the various government support programs. If you’ve read this far, then it might be safe to assume you’re in the over-worked category, and perhaps conscious of a need to do something about it. Well, here’s my final tip — DO SOMETHING NOW! The process has to start with you.

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“Local People Moving People Locally”

Matters Magazine Autumn Issue  

We include some great articles on Sunshine Coast Changemakers, and give you some ideas for embracing change and being the change within your...

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