Many of my fellow entrepreneurs tell me and each other two things. First, they never guessed that owning a business would be such hard work.  Second, they complain about how much trouble employees are.  They are right.  Owning a business is hard work.  Employees are a part of that hard work.

According to Carol Roth in her CHANGE THIS white paper titled Sober Entrepreneurship   these are some of the things an
entrepreneur may not have planned on, but must do:

Fine Tuning  Business Model    Creating Updated Business Plans             Hiring Employees            Managing Employees                Training Employees        Investing Money      Taking on Risk & Opportunity Cost          Designing Products/Services      Manufacturing Products               Finding Retailers or Resellers             Building Out Your Store      Performing Services       Identifying Customers  Marketing to Customers              Servicing Customers      Performing        Customer Service            Automating     Your Systems     Managing Logistics         Following the Competition         Outmaneuvering the Competition          Creating New Innovations                Managing Your Brand     Protecting Intellectual Property               Decreasing Operating Costs        Managing Your
Service Providers

You can find all of Carol’s paper here:   You can also visit Carol’ web site

The shock of having to do all this often destroys the small entrepreneur.  This is even truer, if the entrepreneur is from the corporate world. In that world he or she was usually tasked with only one or two of those activities.   For everything else there was corporate structure and corporate employees.


Employees are the next most mentioned problem.  Employees are not your most important asset.  If they were an asset,  you could
sell them.  Employees can either be your tools, or they can be your business.  If you are a micro manager, they will be your tools.  Tools don’t work by themselves.

If you are able to lead, they can, indeed, become the foundation of your business.  Can you state your vision, communicate the mission, lay out reasonable boundaries, set expectations, delegate, and get out-of-the-way? If you can, your employees can perform many of the functions that make small business so hard. They will perform them best when they have competence, autonomy, and relatedness.

Competence is pretty obvious.  Most of us are uncomfortable doing what we are not particularly good at doing.  We look for opportunities to demonstrate our competence.  If we don’t have it, we want to learn it.  Autonomy is simply responsibility for the how of completing a given task, or project.  Somewhere there is someone who really likes to be micro managed, but I have never met them.  However, asking for micromanagement is a common passive aggressive response to already having more than enough of it. It is a great way to shed responsibility and blame.  Relatedness  is knowledge of how the tasks and functions that are assigned fit into the business’s success.  Without Relatedness the employee is performing some sort of absurd dance for money, rather like an organ grinder’s monkey.

Stay tuned.  You are not doomed.

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