Business Owners Lack People Management Skills

Business Owners Lack People Management Skills

Recently I presented a webinar to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) guiding business owners on a variety of Exit Strategies.  In my consulting business, I always advise business owners to begin an exit strategy plan as soon as possible.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.

I received several new clients asking that I advise them on how to exit.  What surprised me was the reason why they were exiting.  It wasn’t because the market was right, because the owner became ill or too old to work, it was because they could not tolerate the day-to-day challenge of dealing with the people that worked in their businesses.  Either as employees or subcontractors.  They all avoided conflict.

Basically, what I discovered, was many had no people management skills.  They had beautiful business models, some with one-of-a-kind niches and massive growth plans.  Many could reach seven figures or more per year in sales.  Easily each of these companies could grow to build the wealth the owners could obtain if they sold the business.   These business owners wanted to quit because they disliked the people they worked with.  Many were willing to take a loss and just give the business away.

The lack of people management skills became evident to me from this webinar.  I realized many business owners will never reach seven figures.  Even if they are selling a product or service everyone is willing to pay for, they would rather check out than face the growing pains of dealing with people.

How should business owners handle this challenge?

Once business owners realize they dislike the people involved with their business, they should make plans to ask for help.  There are three major ways to handle this challenge.

  1. Enroll in a people management class. Check with local colleges and universities and ask to audit these courses.
  2.  Consider bringing in a formal business partner or executive employee trained in management skills to act as Chief Operating Officer so the owner can work on the business instead of in the business.
  3.  Hire a part-time business consultant* who can direct and guide the operations of the owner's business and make the difficult decisions of replacing the staff as needed.

If a business owner has issues with business partners, they should address the situation immediately.  Hopefully, a buy-sell agreement is already in place and one owner has majority ownership. If not, separation of ownership can become an extensive legal battle. 

If you are a business owner reading this article and worried about issues with the people involved in your business, address the situation immediately.  Don’t wait until you lose everything you invested to become a successful entrepreneur.

 By Darlene Ziebell

 Darlene is a business consultant and brings extensive knowledge in high-level management and entrepreneurship. She bases her methods on a unique blend of effective enterprise strategies and the battle scars she acquired in four businesses, including startups, ESOP, acquisitions, partnerships, bankruptcies, and lawsuits. Her management consulting firm grew sales by over $40M advising more than 20% of the Fortune 1000.  In addition, she mentors business owners, guiding them on successful growth strategies through her customized business methodologies.  Nothing beats her experience.

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