Category Archives: Growth

Business growth tip: Handle employees with care

To build and grow a strong business, we must remember this simple fact: A business is run by people. People are human beings. Human beings are emotional beings. They work most efficiently when they are happy. When they are motivated. When they enjoy their work.
We should help them to work efficiently, to be happy at work.
About motivation, it is believed that money is the only motivator for employees. This is not entirely true. Money motivates, but temporarily. Not always. To be motivated, many other things are required in addition to money. Here are some:
Respect
Everyone expects to be respected. Employees who are respected by their bosses and colleagues work confidently. Create a culture of mutual respect in your company. We should not insult anybody. If we need to give some feedback, we must give in private. Don’t fire people in front of others. Being rude to employees is bad. Maintain dignity of labor.
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Concern and care
We must remember that employees are as human as we are. They, too, have their own life, own problems, dreams, challenges, limitations and frustrations. We must take care of them and be concerned about them.
Facilities
Employees prefer to work where they enjoy working. Good facilities are a need. We must provide good working conditions and facilities as prevailing in our industry.
Proper salary
Yes. Salary is important. It should match with the industry standard. It should be paid on time and must be revised from time to time. Remember the old saying: if we give peanuts, we will only get monkeys. Generally, monkeys can’t help in growing a business.
Timely appraisals and increments
It is necessary to review the work of the employees periodically and give them feedback about what is good and what needs improvement. Appraisals must be done at least once a year or more. Based on the appraisal, salaries of the employees must be revised and promotions affected, if  appropriate. Most businesses ignore appraisals. They delay increments as much as possible. This is demotivating for the employees.
Remember. In today’s times, employees may be available in abundance, but good employees are scarce. Good employees are in high demand. We can grow our business only if we have good employees working in our business.
We must care for them to retain them. Losing good employees will be a loss to the business.

How hard should an entrepreneur work?

We have heard that entrepreneurs must work hard.

How hard?

First, how many hours of work should an entrepreneur put in?

The simple answer is: Entrepreneurs must work more hours than any of their employees. If your office hours are, say, 9 to 5, and every employee is expected to work for at least 8 hours a day. Now, if you are also looking for an 8-hour work day for yourself, entrepreneurship is not for you. You should give up business and take up a job with fixed hours.

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If you believe that you pay your employees so they should come early to work for you and you can come late or leave early everyday, it is a very bad idea. You have a liberty to do that, but such businesses, where the owner does not put in much work generally don’t do much.

A business owner must work equal or more hours than his employees. Undoubtedly. Remember, a general can’t relax when his soldiers are battling on the field.

Secondly, an entrepreneur must be available to his/her team for business related work 24×7.

See, it is not about working 24×7. You must ensure balance between work and other areas of life for yourself and for your team. It is about being available when your employees need you for some business related work. You can’t shut yourself down.

If everyday you wait for evening so that you can “have some time for yourself after a hard day’s work”, you should not be an entrepreneur. For a true entrepreneur, there is no “hard” day of work.

Yes, you can party. But, you must be available and accessible to your troops if you know that they are fighting it out.

Some entrepreneurs are victims of maxims like “We should do smart work and not hard work”.

Or

As a boss, we should give tension to others and not take tension on ourselves.

Such dialogues can’t help us build businesses.

You can’t build a business by proxy.

Entrepreneurship is not a fixed time job. It is a full-time job.

A great business requires work.

Hard work.

A great business can’t be built looking at a clock.

Or a calendar.

Here is what stops India’s industrial growth.

India is shining…! Or, that is what the government wants us to believe. The emptiness of this claim is visible in the decelerating economic growth since last few years. The reasons for this disappointing performance are not difficult to find.

It is very difficult to be an entrepreneur in India. Even though the country needs a lot of entrepreneurs, it is hostile to entrepreneurship. The Indian government and its bureaucracy has always treated Business and Industry as a milking cow. Officially, businesses are imposed various types of taxes and levies. The impossible maze of rules and regulations encourage another unofficial extraction of money from the businesses in the form of palm-greasing amount for various permissions, licenses, certificates etc.

This all has lead to a step-motherly treatment to industry and entrepreneurs. Instead of building sound infrastructure and facilitative rules and regulations, the government and politicians don’t leave a single opportunity to strangle the business and industry. I saw a live example of the negligence, exploitation and apathy of the government towards industry during visits to Silvassa and Daman, the union territories on the border of Gujarat.

1) Even though thousands of SME units are located in this region, the infrastructure in Daman and Silvassa is at its worst. As soon as we enter Kachigam from Vapi, the miserable quality of road welcomes you. The one kilometer stretch passing through one of the industrial area, takes at least 10 minutes, with not even 5 meters of flat road to be found anywhere. Driving this through this road is a hellish experience. Theoretically, every year some money is sanctioned for improving this road, but the condition is simply unchanged. The pathetic condition of this road has remained the same since many years.

2) The poor infrastructure has grave impact on the industries here. A lot of international companies fail the units here in their internal evaluation audit only because the infrastructure in the vicinity is not conductive for the business. This puts the industries here at a huge disadvantage.

3) The Daman-Silvassa has an independent Member of Parliament to represent this region. But, instead of helping the industries in this region through proper infrastructure and facilities, the politicians here seem to be busy ‘developing’ their own future. Instead of helping the industry which brings jobs and prosperity to the region, their lieutenants are known to harass the industrialists by running a parallel government in the industrial belt milking the entrepreneurs for ‘maintaining’ the region. Every now and then, these pseudo ‘governors’ drop in for various favors, including seeking financial contributions from the owners of the units in the area. These people, ‘blessed’ by the reigning politician, ensure that all types of contracts go to them only and their own people are employed in these companies, regardless their qualification or suitability for the post.

4) It seems the poor central government does not have funds to maintain roads and other infrastructure in Daman-Silvassa and hence the volunteers from the ruling MP’s cadre have to work hard to go and collect the ‘contribution’ themselves from the industry owners, to build the roads and maintain the infrastructure. In spite of the ‘hard work’ of these volunteers in the form of collecting repeated contributions, the roads are not in place. May be the pit is too deep to be filled.

India will have to wait to grow its industry till all such deep pits are filled.  Till then, the industry will continue to struggle for growth and the country will have to continue to live “in the pit…”