We talked about succession planning last month, but let’s use the word retirement this time. It’s something almost every one of us aspires to – having both the time and money to enjoy life. Unfortunately, if you are a business owner and your business can’t be sold, you may not realize that dream, at least not the way you wanted to. What’s the solution? I propose that the best solutions might be found in looking at some common problems experienced by small business.
Problem One: The lack of employees willing to take on entry-level or lower-paying jobs.
Employees want more nowadays, even if it’s their very first job. They want work that is fulfilling, rewarding, and with good pay right from the get-go. That frustrates owners because most of them cannot offer more salary or benefits to junior employees when their bottom line doesn’t support it.
Problem Two: The lack of skilled labour.
What business owner wouldn’t want to hire an employee who is a skilled salesperson, efficient inventory taker, excellent problem solver adept at customer service? And what employer wouldn’t want an employee that could run the place so well that they would feel comfortable taking more time off?
I’ve always believed that my personal job satisfaction wasn’t just what I was being paid, but what I was learning and how well I liked what I was doing. Will this be everyone? No, but it will appeal to those who will be excellent workers and motivated by opportunity. I know this is true because I’ve had employees either start working for me or stay working for me even though another job offered a higher salary, keeping in mind the promise of better income and more responsibility in the future. Maybe that future position is with your company or not.
My solution: Put employees on a training path to management. I envision a library of “micro-credentials” readily available to give people the skills employers want- a tailored training path with in-house mentoring. Maybe you end up promoting them, and perhaps that is contingent on them making you enough money so you can afford it (intrapreneurship). At the end of the day, you have a worker who is a potential buyer or manager (if a potential investor isn’t interested in operating the business themselves). In other words, you are creating a win-win scenario by putting the pieces in place to retire when you are ready.
Like the idea? Drop by and talk to me. I’m hoping to apply for a grant to support it.