People. Without People, you have no business. You can’t provide or make your services or products. Planning for your people is more than just saying, “I need people, workers, employees.” Making people part of your Simple Business Plan is a significant step in ensuring you have the right people.
Who or what are the right people?
Let’s start with an expression that I use often. “A business is buildings, equipment, and its workforce. All businesses face the same challenges; economy, competition, climate, political environment; It is your workforce who will help you successfully address those challenges. No one can duplicate YOUR workforce.” Your workforce, your people, are the key to your business success. If you don’t believe that, then my advice to you is not to hire anyone. If you do believe that then it brings us to who should you hire?
In simple words, the people you hire should embrace and believe in your core values. These people will not only fit into your business culture; they will thrive in your culture. An older acronym that still applies today fits what you should hire. This acronym is KSAEB. Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experience, and Behaviors. Finding the people who have each of those is the key to bringing the right people into your business.
The very first step in deciding who to hire is, of course, deciding on the structure of your business. What types of work is to be done and how the different parts of your business will interact and engage with each other. That is usually done through some kind of “Organizational Chart.” After that, you’ll need some kind of Job Description. This doesn’t have to be a detailed multi-page document longer than your Simple Business Plan. This doesn’t mean to develop a job for people you like or those you don’t want to lose. It means clearly defining a job that includes duties, responsibilities, activities, expectations, and necessary qualifications. These will take some effort, but that is well worth it when you consider the damage not properly defining a job can cause to your business. A good starting point can be found on the Indeed.com website.
Once you have that and you’ve hired the right people you must lead and manage them. Leading and managing aren’t telling them what to do any more than it is expecting them to know what to do. You have to communicate your vision, you have to get them pointed in the right direction, and you have to reinforce their commitment to your mission, vision, and values. Sometimes that may mean correcting or addressing missteps. Ensuring that your people know what the expectations are, where they fell short and what they need to do to ensure they are meeting expectations is an important part of management. You cannot ignore these issues and expect them to go away.
Another important part regarding your people is where they fit into your business. You are going to have to address your businesses structure to ensure your people are put into the right roles and places. You may choose to use the traditional pyramid structure with everyone from your frontline employees to management reporting up to you. Or, you may choose a structure I developed called the Venn Organization. Based on a Venn diagram, it involves an equal balance between key areas of the business and emphasizes that what one does impacts and effects everyone else. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure that it fits within your culture.
Having the right business structure, with the right people in the right place with sufficient work and all focusing on achieving the vision will help ensure business success. Do this right and you will succeed. Do this wrong and the journey your business takes may be fraught with challenges you could have avoided.
Next week we’ll address the Scorecard as we help you design, develop, and execute your business plan.
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