How entrepreneurs can manage people to help grow their business

Michael Howes
Founder | Pilot Cottage Limited
14th November 2013

Michael Howes and the team at Pilot Cottage provides some valuable insight into how entrepreneurs can manage people effectively as they start and grow their new business:-

It’s people, not spreadsheets that make things work, so good management practice is an essential requirement for successfully growing a business.

Inventors and entrepreneurs are, by their nature, visionary. Many of the people they encounter, whether as employees, professionals and other service providers will not necessarily be so.

Good management practice ensures that whatever the disposition and personalities of the people you deal with day by day, you will get the best out of them.

There are really only four things that managers manage – activities, people, resources and information. All are indelibly linked. If you manage people and communicate well, resources (including finances) and activities will be made to work to the permanent advantage of your enterprise.

People work best when they have a clear understanding of what a business is trying to achieve and their personal role in its success. They work less productively if they are constantly told what to do or treated as failures for any mistakes they make. Instilling confidence in people and their abilities will automatically ensure that they will do the best they can and often better than expected. The key word is ‘empowerment’.

When assessing people for a role, there are usually five factors that you will want to gauge. These are their skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications and attitude. The most important factor is attitude. If people have the right attitude it will more than compensate for skills and knowledge (that can always be developed) and experience that can be progressively acquired. No matter how competent someone might seem on paper, if their attitudes are wrong, they will not achieve their potential.

If you are looking for a partner in your business it is often the case that, because of a wish to be seen as fair-minded, you agree to, for example, a 50/50 split of the ownership. This is a mistake and makes the business more difficult to manage. Many companies have faced the ‘deadly embrace’ of an equal partnership and failed to grow. If you want it to work, make the split 51/49!

To manage people effectively, as well as good leadership skills, you need clear policies and strategies. But policies and strategies will not work unless you have also developed the processes that lead to people feeling they are making a worthwhile contribution to the business and customers’ needs constantly being satisfied. Combine good leadership with all these factors and, provided the choice of product, service and market is a good one, the business will grow.

Content created by The Pilot Cottage Team © Neilson Kite / Pilot Cottage Ltd ™

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