The TRUE Foundation
THE OWNERS PART IN THE FOUNDATION:
Although it may be a bit cliche', I tend to use the analogy of a tree in which the roots maintain the strength and foundation of the its structure. Of course along with every tree, there's a leaf, flowers or fruit that blooms and grow along the way that help make the tree look beautiful or produce goods during its life span. However, those elements are only temporary and will eventually wither away allowing more to come and help create the trees beauty again.
In relation to the business world those leaves represent the people that you do business with on occasion or people that you will be in contract with from time to time. In other cases it can also represent product or services that you are looking to provide but in this case I will narrow it down to the moral and ethical structure of your business venture.
While those "leaves" are an important factor to building and maintaining your business, they may not be there for the long run to help maintain and raise productivity. That job goes to the root of your investment. The roots represent the people (aside from yourself) that provides the strength and time needed to create a solid foundation. Those are your most important assets in creating your dream business.
If there is one lesson that I have learned on a consistent basis when it comes to owning and/or running a business is that the foundation of your establishment is something that needs to be maintained at all times. I have witnessed some great results happen because of a company's efforts towards achieving an important goal and I have also been a witness to situations that didn't have to happen as a result of poor decision making and the mistreatment of those who help them get to they have been. Sometimes on the side of management, sometimes on the side of staff.
I believe that the number one rule when working with others on your project or potential business is to make sure everyone involved is taken care of financially, morally, and ethically (NOTE: This is something that I briefly mention in my 4P FORMULA blog recently so check it out if you haven't already). I am mostly referring to those who literally since day one helped to build that dream project or business venture you have invested heavily on. These are the people who without a doubt believe(d) in your dream and the potential of seeing it come to life. The ones who have sacrificed their time and livelihood to help make that happen no matter the task at hand. A lot of times they are the ones who have something to prove as well and want to show their worth to you and those involved.
If you managed to acquire people who are energetic, hard working, clever, and assertive in your camp, then you have to understand the blessing you have in your possession. Having the right group is not always an easy element to gain in your path to building your business. You may have or will possibly come across some people who don't meet the necessary standards needed to achieving your goals. A good group can keep things consistent within your project or business. A great group can not only maintain progress and productivity but can also find ways to evolve your business by brainstorming fresh ideas and becoming more involved your the business. A bad group can tear it all down in the blink of an eye. A great and motivated person or group are considered true to life assets and should be your main priority more than anything. Never treat them as if they are just a pawn in your plan. That will no doubt create a low moral within your company which will result in a bad working environment, stressors, and followed by your best workers becoming less motivated or worse decide to leave your company. If that happens things can begin to breakdown in your foundation.
Of course there will be other elements that will result in the growth of your business such as other clients, performers, companies, sponsors, etc. However those elements (although important) should not be considered more important that the true individual or group that helped get you to that point in one's life.
When ever I read about a company failing, a lot of times it is due to the bad decisions made which result in loss of profits and sometimes more. Other times it is because of the lack of focus they have on the staff that helped them along the way. Companies like that tend to put the hard working and willing people to the side in favor of possibilities they think can help them further in their business's life span. Unfortunately the results are usually the same and the company most likely fall on hard times. An example of this would be a company once owned by TV mogul Ted Turner known as World Championship Wrestling. A company that made millions of dollars each week from weekly TV shows, PPV's (Pay Per Views), promotional content, live shows on tour, etc. This promotion was at the top of their game in 1996 until management (headed by one Eric Bischoff) begin to mishandle staff and the direction of the company. They began focusing on people that didn't help build or maintain the foundation of their company. Those people to their credit helped to raise interest with their viewer for a while, but things began to get stagnant and those hired individuals began to take major liberties with the company. At the end, these people that Bischoff hired did not have the company's best interest and resulted in some very heavy turmoil from within. Meanwhile the moral among the employees that were there from the beginning turn for the worst. Some left the company to pursue better means of business for themselves. Others stayed but became very frustrated that their hard work was being taken for granted. But by 2001, the company closed due to mismanagement, low sales, and low ratings on tv. They lost their tv deal and later was acquired by the WWE (own by Vince MacMahon).
Another example would the famous game company EA (Electronic Arts) most known for creating EA Sports games like the MADDEN football game series. During their most successful year in 2004, a bit of controversy came down on the company about the treatment of their employees. Although EA has facilitated their headquarters with a state of the art decor for recreation which includes multiple kitchen areas, a soccer field, arcades, even resting areas, the company would have their staff work an extraordinarily amount of hours (about 100 hours per week) to create their games with barely time to attend family matters or other priorities outside the company. You can only imagine how this did not fair well with staff and their family. As a result of this, a class action lawsuit was issued to the company and a settlement of 15.6 million dollars was awarded as well as a change in company policy to better accommodate their employees.
So in essence of this I would suggest that you think very mindfully when working with others especially in the beginning process of your upcoming establishment. Make sure that you look out for those who have looked out for you. What you are attempting is no way a simple or easy task. So be sure to appreciate, take care, and respect the people you are invest in your vision. Do not take them for granted. It will put a crack in the foundation instantly and will the beginning or the end for your business.
THE EMPLOYEES PART IN THE FOUNDATION:
Of course keeping a foundation isn't just all about the taking care of people who help you. They also have to do their part as well. The last thing you need is a person not living up to their potential. If you don't have a person who is not fully invested into your business, you need to get rid of them immediately for the health and well being of yourself and your business or project. Those people will put a crack in the process of your business. I myself have witnessed this when working with a client once. They hired me to do their main web development and graphic design projects. Along with myself they hired other people to work for them as well including a group that "specialized" in outdoor promotions.
All of our jobs were important and we all needed to do our parts successfully and on time in order to help bring this company to the forefront which would help strengthen the foundation of that company. However, while some have completed goals to meet the demands of the company, others took the opportunity for granted, slacked off, made poor business decision on how to handle their part in the project at hand, and/or was late on delivering what was requested of them. Consequently these people never met the expectations that was originally agreed upon. This lead to low sales in my client's product which would have grown exponentially had the people involved completed what was asked of them. This is another reason why you should cherish the people who are passionate about what you are looking to accomplish. Also, use your critical thinking when hiring people. Try not to hire people you know won't give you their all. In my opinion, I don't recommend hiring family and/or friends for the mos. In other words, don't hire them unless they are absolutely more than 100% fully invested into what you are looking to do. Do not hire a family or friend(s) simply because they are your family and friend(s). Sure, it is nice to look out for them, but this is your life that you are investing in. If they do not understand the opportunity you are presenting to them and can provide input of their own, chances are you will be wasting time and money when you could be hiring someone who does not feel that you are obligated to look out for them because of whatever connection you have with them. You want hungry and energetic people on your side, and not someone who is their just because. So be cautious when getting the right people to help build that potential business, product, or project you have going on.
If you maintain balance with your foundation, you have a higher chance of getting that business off the ground where it can grow like the proverbial well structure tree.
Dax J. Martin-Cheeves