Category Archives: Entrepreneur

Do you pay as much attention to your family as your business?

In an article by Scott Wylie in Entrepreneur entitled “Watch Your Back Side” he talks about using your entrepreneurial skills  with your family – the good ones, that made you successful.
This is something that I lived early in my career – work hard, play hard.

“The back side I’m referring to is the founder’s life away from the company. It’s the challenging task of building a steady financial footing, solid family relationships and staying healthy on the shifting, unpredictable ground of entrepreneurship.”  The normal day-day human interaction, 9-5 job boundaries and taking family vacations pretty much dissappear during entrepreneurship.

Over 20 years ago I took a three day workshop with Steve Covey where they ask your family and friends (in 150 question survey) anonymously about you.  I was uniformly loved (hey, I gave them the people to ask) but what stood out was that everyone (except me) thought my work-home balance was completely out of whack.

Do you have goals, accountabiity and time blocks with your family?  If this sounds remotely like you, read the full article- click here.

Defining Customer Service

Our favorite Steak Restaurant, since we moved to Charleston, has been Halls Chophouse on King Street.  Mary and I marveled last week as we watched their system at work.  The Hall family (several generations) are active in the restaurant.  They actively “patrol” the lounge and restaurant, saying hello to everyone, chatting up the regulars, and generally making you feel like part of the family.

While the food is extraordinary and very consistent, if you don’t like something they get a new one, or something different, and take it off the bill.  The general feeling is “whatever it takes to make you happy, we will be glad to do.”  The staff are friendly, attentive, professional – but never in your face.  The She Crab Soup is so good that my wife once asked for a “vat” of it to take home.

Here is the coup de grace.  In the mail today we got a hand written thank you card – from our waitress Jennifer!  It said, in part “…It was such a pleasure to meet both of you… take care of you. ”  Then she closed with ” We’ll look forward to seeing ya’ll again soon for some nice hot she crab soup!”   Now, we did not give her our business card, or address.  Clearly they took it off the mailing list, or the credit card receipt.

Think we’ll go back?  You betcha!

What to do when your employees tell you that you suck

A great article for Entrepreneurs, especially those in family-run businesses (where boundries are less clear) from Inc. online, By Will Yakowicz.

He talks about criticism being a “not-so-nicely-wrapped gift” (love that term) and how these moments are opportunities for everyone to grow.  He provides tips on how to handle these difficult situations as well.

Why 40% of your new employees leave

From INC Magazine online:

Forty percent of employees who left their jobs voluntarily in 2013 did so within six months of starting in the position, according to data recorded and processed by the work-force insights arm of credit-reporting agency Equifax.

And another 16 percent of all employees who left on their own choosing did so within 12 months, meaning more than half of voluntary turnover happens within a year of new hires’ start dates.

Equifax Workforce Solutions director of product Kristen Lewis tells Inc. that many employees approach new jobs with the belief that “they can find something else if it’s not a great fit right away.”

The rate at which employees left inside of six months was about twice as high for employees paid hourly than those who pocket a salary.

However, Lewis says, that doesn’t necessarily mean finance was a driving factor of employee movement. Only a slight majority of employees who left voluntarily did so for greater pay, with 44 percent staying even or taking a pay cut to switch positions. “It supports the concept that culture and opportunity play a big role,” Lewis says.

A cut in hours for hourly employees, meanwhile, makes a big difference in when they’ll eye the door. Lewis said Equifax’s data shows that for every four hours cut from an employee’s schedule, there’s a corresponding 5 percent jump in the likelihood he or she will take a new gig.

The idea that fast voluntary turnover–that is, turnover after less than a year on the job–is higher for hourly employees might call to mind transient industries such as retail and restaurant work, the kind of job that’s dominated by hourly work. And indeed, more than 64 percent of new hires in retail and about 66 percent of those in leisure left in that time frame.

Likewise, the business services industry–largely composed of temporary staffing–sees 65.7 percent of new employees move on within a year.

However, even though the numbers are lower, they still might surprise you in other, more stable industries.

More than half of voluntary turnover in the transportation industry happened in less than a year. In the information industry, that number is about 43 percent. In financial services, 37.5 percent. In health care, nearly 37 percent.

And across all industries, employees are more likely to leave voluntarily inside of their first six months than in months six through 12.

Voluntary turnover in general was up 3.5 percent in 2013, according to Equifax. The Department of Labor has also seen a recent increase in the “quit” rate, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

Voluntary turnover is generally lauded as a positive sign for the economy, indicating that enough jobs are out there to allow employees to hop around the market. And many companies embrace the idea of being net exporters of talents, as a positive sign of their ability to nurture talent.

But even with those optimistic qualifiers, you would probably like to get at least a little bit more than a year out of your new hires.

So you might want to check out Inc. columnist and HR expert Suzanne Lucas’s pointers for keeping turnover low.

MidSize Companies can fail on one big bet…

An interesting post in HBR Blog Network by Robert Sher talks about the risks midsize firms take, and how they can hurt (or kill) the company.  He points out that they don’t have large amounts of capital and usually run far too close to the edge.

Here is part of that article:

“That was the case at a toy importer that was pressing the growth pedal to the metal. The company was hell-bent on entering a new market but knew it had to automate its warehouse to do so. Warehouse automation systems are big and complicated; if they don’t work, you’re worse off than before since it becomes almost impossible to ship product. Unlike a Fortune 500 company that can spend tens of millions of dollars on external consultants to help implement such a system, this company was stingy with its IT dollars. It put one of its executives in charge of the project and told him to team up with the head of IT, even though neither had ever run a project this large or complex.

The project budget paid for the software and not a lot more. The timeline was unrealistic, so the installation took a month longer than planned. And when the company did the cutover – right before its customers’ biggest selling season – the system just . . . didn’t . . . work. The malfunction caused major delays shipping toys to retailers. Not surprisingly, many of those retailers refused to pay when the toys finally did arrive, too late for the holiday season. The importer lost millions of dollars and began running out of money. Its growth had been derailed.”


For the full article, click here.



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Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA. - SIPC - Brokercheck