If you’ve had enough of your job and the frustration of working for someone else, it may just be time to buy a business and be the boss.
The desire to evolve into a new version of ourselves is manifested in a variety of ways and it signifies excitement and some trepidation, but if the goal is brilliant enough in our vision of an ideal future, nothing will keep us from it. If you have been a dedicated and even generously rewarded and promoted employee, the gratification will only go so far if you have this inner leader who knows that running the show is far better than being a player within it while someone else collects money at the box office of business. So you want to begin the evolution from employee to employer, and you should, but an awareness of the process can save you some jarring surprises and make the transition a lot more pleasant.
You see, the process of researching and investing in a business is one thing, but walking in the front door one day as “the boss” for the first time is not unlike being an expectant parent on the last day of the 9th month. One day, you are expecting a baby and even after a smooth birth, BAM…you are a mother or a father and suddenly you feel you should know exactly what to do in your new role and might feel a bit embarrassed when you realize that for all the books you read to prepare you, there are times you need to pick up the phone to talk to those empty-nesters whom have been there before you and have soul-southing insight. Many new entrepreneurs refer to their businesses as “their baby” and the correlation is not unrealistic because nothing prepares you for the transition from employee to employer except for real life experience with the invaluable support of experienced mentors.
The driver’s seat is all yours, but so are some new professional twists and turns so be prepared to learn and adapt
Odds are, one of the alluring things about being the boss (aside from ditching the risks associated with corporate downsizing and being laid off) is the fact that you will have heightened privileges and freedom associated with being the head honcho. With your new authority, you will have flexibility to make judgement calls about your company culture and the ultimate direction to take in multiple areas that lead to the greatest growth possible. These are truths, but the catch is that you will experience and need to manage unreasonable requests and expectations of other people and it can be a shock to your system if you anticipate to rule with an iron hand with all falling into place at the sound of your voice.
As the captain of your entrepreneurial ship, you will have command and all of its benefits, but you will also be responsible for a complex series of relationships inside and outside of your company from your employees to the suppliers who are essential to make your business run. Sometimes, the demands upon you will be conflicting and the pressure can mount which may be more hectic than earlier anticipated, especially if you assumed that the talents that served you so well as an employee will simply transfer right over and serve in the same way as the boss. While the business intelligence and skill set you bring to your venture will absolutely serve you, the types of things you did in your job that earned you promotions and accolades are a little different than the types of things you will need to do to be a successful employer. There will be a space between the demands of your former working-for-someone-else self and your new working-for-yourself roles because individual talents and performance falls short of the task of taking responsibility for creating and managing a work environment and plan of action for a whole team.
Kevin Wittal, Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International located in Toronto, is a welcome relief to new franchise owners as they make this delicate, yet crucial transition into the role of employer and he recognizes that some well-meaning new owners struggle. That they elected to take on this worthy and rewarding challenge through just the right franchise opportunity means that experienced and local support personnel such as Kevin will be dedicated to helping them towards the most pain-free route towards entrepreneurial success.
Kevin says, “Making the necessary transition from employee to employer could be one of the greatest challenges for a new owner. I see it in my region where are some owners are still not doing a good job with this and they need assistance which we are happy to provide. The most important thing to remember here is that you are the boss, you set the tone and you are the leader. My recommendation would be for anyone that doesn’t have experience being in a leadership role that they educate themselves on the importance of being a good boss. As an owner of a business you have to be self-aware, and constantly analyze yourself to see where you need to improve. And your franchisor can help!”
The evolution from employee to employer builds upon leadership training you should receive from your franchisor and merges with a new professional persona: BOSS
Certain things that will make your life easier (like proper hiring and delegation skills) can be taught in a classroom, but for the most part trial and error will be your greatest teachers. Fortunately, if you have an experienced mentor by your side, but being open to advice can save you from really painful bumps and bruises as a manager. If you were a super-star corporate employee with a history of promotions and few mistakes, it’s important to remember that the pressure and headaches that come with making managerial mistakes are part of your evolution. As you learn from those mistakes, you will grow to fit into your new “boss-hat”.
Rachel Garcia, owner of Minuteman Press in Issaquah, WA, is an inspiration to about-to-become-bosses everywhere as the head honcho of an industry leading digital print, design and marketing franchise. She boldly faced the trials and errors, embraced her personal evolution into leadership and is gratified by the results, an operation with a team that respects her and confidently looks to her for guidance. She says, “Becoming a franchise owner is an amazing way to learn about business. I personally always seek business knowledge by reading books and listening to business podcasts. Minuteman Press International also offers ongoing support and training. As owners, we meet together at a company-wide convention every other year and get to meet with more seasoned owners and learn from their expertise. I think if someone is looking into franchise ownership, they are ready to make the switch from employee to employer. They are probably ready to take ownership of the decisions that have to be made, and willing to work to pursue their goals.”
Do you want to know 2 things that make your team loyal to you?
1. Respect: It seems obvious enough. To lead, you need to be respected, but your new staff will not be wowed by your achievements during your prior work history, nor will those accomplishments impress them in your present identity as their boss. You must earn their respect through your every managerial move by making it one that demonstrates your credibility as a force of good and an ally. Don’t jump down their throats when mistakes happen. Instead, help your team review the proverbial video tape and lead the discussion that they will willingly join towards a smoother operation. It’s an old saying, but absolutely true that respect is earned.
2. Capability: As important as it is that your staff knows you have character in your dealings with them and your clients so they can respect you, they must also see that you can get things done, definitively. As an employee, you demonstrated your capabilities through specific technical skills and expertise because that’s how star employees usually make names for themselves. Your tech savvy is still impressive as a boss, but it is no longer your main avenue to prove that you are capable now that you are the boss. Your staff will look to you to know what to do and when, to delegate fairly and intelligently and to make judgement calls intelligently like no one else can. It’s okay if they see you sweat because everyone does. They just need to see you are able to make sure your sweat isn’t wasted, that you know what needs to be done.
Through buying a business, you chose to give yourself a promotion to the very top of the business sphere. The evolution that must take place as you shed your employee identity to head your own company involves adopting new habits, perspectives and ways of marking professional success. The adjustment isn’t painless, but with the right kind of support, you will be gratified in ways measurable by the respect of those you lead, true personal joy and fruitful professional gain.