Hire good people and let them get on with the job The salary difference between hiring a good person and a mediocre person is quite small. Aim to hire people whom you trust to take decisions. Some people cripple their businesses by insisting on signing off on every major decision, which limits the growth of the business to the number of decisions one person can make in a day. Cultivate a great working environment I have always preferred working in a friendly, happy environment. In your own company you have the opportunity to create the environment of your choice by choosing the right people and cultivating the environment. Before we hire a manager we explain how we prefer to work and emphasise that we don’t tolerate heavy-handed management styles. I have sometimes heard managers in other companies, usually men, taking pride in being difﬁcult to work for. To me that is like taking pride in struggling to hang onto friends! It helps to think about creating a cheerful comfortable place to work. After all we spend half of our waking hours in the ofﬁce. We spend a long time training people, and most people take a few months to become useful. The happier they are, the longer they stay, the more we beneﬁt from the build of knowledge in the company. Help people learn from their mistakes Mistakes happen in any business. It is important that staff don’t cover up mistakes for fear of being found out. This will happen if there is a culture of fear in the ofﬁce. A conscientious employee will beat himself up over a mistake far more than a few harsh words from a manager. It is usually far better to be understanding and helpful. Of course if they keep repeating the same mistake again and again you need to ﬁnd them something less demanding to do, preferably in another company. Use your management accounts as you would the dashboard of a car There are many entrepreneurs who have a blind spot when it comes to accounts. They just want to see the number at the bottom of the page. Learn how to read and use accounts and establish a discipline of issuing monthly management accounts, including all the key performance indicators for the business and then ensure that all key managers understand the part of the accounts that measure their performance. Keep a business plan up to date Every year we re-write our business plan taking into account everything that has happened over the year. It keeps us on track and makes us review and question what we are doing. Use your own time sensibly Many people have the impression that running your own business is about working all hours of the day. It doesn’t have to be that way. Once the business is proﬁtable it isn’t necessary to do anything yourself that could be easily delegated to someone else. Work out what it is that you, and only you, can contribute to the business and focus on doing that. For more information visit www.moonpig.com FEBRUARY 2011
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