I love beautiful! I love being in the presence of beauty. One of the reasons I love teaching at The Enterprise Center is that I get to work with very creative people who most often times are focused on creating beauty or bringing beauty to the forefront of our lives. I find that a very honorable pursuit. After teaching my course “FutureLab’ earlier this month, I realized just how many people do not have a relationship between the beautiful and the monetary costs and rewards of their relationship to bringing beauty into the world. I feel rather certain that this is part of the bigger cultural conversation that many of us have about money–we fear it because we don’t know how to deal with it or we push away the topic because we don’t want to be responsible for it. It seems like it’s very easy to spend money but we have the perception that its difficult to make money. I’d like to suggest that our pursuit of beauty may be filled with bumps and learnings along the way–and somehow we think that’s expected. However, when we encounter this with our monetary positions, we think that there’s something wrong and that its a huge mistake that has to be fixed. We place a deep significance on the “what happens” instead of focusing on the learning. Perhaps we can treat our adventures in finance in regards to our products as part of the learning in creating something beautiful.
Lisa Hendrickson teaches CEO 200 FutureLab and The Sustainable Organization.
Recently, I came across an aspiring entrepreneur who told me that his plans for his company would include hiring many of his friends from college. He has trust in these friends and they bring a lot to the table in the way of creativity and business acumen. Besides they would have a great time going to work every day and wouldn’t that provide a great working environment!
My initial reaction was to congratulate him on his plans for his business. Then I told him that hiring your friends is not a good business practice. A business is not a social club where you can continue the fun you had in your college days. By hiring your friends you may not get the critical skills you require for the business, and you will not be able to get the benefit of different skills and points of view of people who come from different backgrounds and education.
A prospective business owner has to consider the business and what it needs to be successful. Considering the kinds of skills one requires of an employee is essential and drafting out a job description with salary range for a position makes good business sense. It offers a tool for planning your organization and the expenditure for human resources that you will have to budget for and cover with your sales efforts.
Of course, you don’t need to be friendly with a new employee. After all, you want him to produce for you. All you need in your business relationships with this new employee is to respect him. You may not like him, but if he is a good employee and provides you with quality work and you respect him, then that’s all you need.
The owners of a start-up company also have to keep in mind their budget constraints. If they cannot afford the people they would like, then they may consider hiring an intern, or someone on a part-time basis. Whatever you do remember: you have money and time invested in your business. Poor employees can hold you back; you want to have employees who can do the job and help you make a success of the business.
Margo Moore teaches BE 261 Starting a Small Business, CEO 001 Setting a Course for Your Business, CEO 002 Knowing Your Market, and CEO 003 Formulating Your Financial Strategy.
If your business is smaller than 3 people you face a whole variety of issues when making this consideration. I’ve devoted three blog entries to discussing this issue because it will arise at some point in a small businesses’ life span.
To hear some people talk about it, government RFPs are a godsend to small businesses. My answer: Not exactly. Here’s a link to an article on BNET (which is a great source in general for small businesses) that covers the topic. Read all the comments below it as well as they point out many issues surrounding government RFPs.
Here’s Holtzman Communications’ experience on this topic:
Holtzman answered an RFP a while ago, and made the first cut to the interview stage. One of the first questions Holtzman asked was, “is there an incumbent, and if so, are they applying, or if not, what happened?” The government agency refused to answer the question. Holtzman wound up winning the contract — $100,000 over a three year period. There was a clause in the contract saying that the agency didn’t need to spend the amount allotted. And that’s exactly what happened. Holtzman wound up billing approximately $5,000 out of that $100,000 contract over the three year period. If there was an incumbent, they now knew what happened to them. Furthermore, the agency told the company not to plan vacations for that August because they were sure a huge amount of work was going to happen. Not a dollar’s worth of work came through that month.
The government frowns upon this kind of behavior on the part of its agencies. Clearly, the agency didn’t care about wasting their own time, but this was a time and money expenditure for Holtzman that could have been put to better use.
Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.