How to make the hard calls when it comes to your business

The truth is, if you don’t make the hard calls when you need to, there could be consequences that will be your responsibility down the road.

Growing a business is constantly challenging. As a small-business owner, your team is like your family. And I am yet to meet another who doesn’t believe their employees are the best there is. But the challenge for business owners comes when the rubber hits the road. Sometimes you have to make hard calls that can affect the people you care about.

These can range from letting someone go, promoting one staff member over another or deciding who gets to take the lead on a project. We are faced with thousands of these decisions each week, which can potentially have an impact on the business, families and the industry we work in.

A lot of people say, “it’s just business” and for us, to remain tough. That is true. But I know a lot of business owners who find it hard making these decisions. Next time you hear that phrase, don’t forget the core of any business is its people.

Know that caring about your staff is a strength and not a weakness. It’s a sign of a great leader when he or she will go on to promote trust and foster a strong team culture.

At our company, we constantly strive to better our business and ourselves, which in turn, produces excellence in the products and services we build for others. However, this only shines through in an environment of honesty and respect. Nurturing this can be hard – it requires an extreme amount of vulnerability.

So, how do we as business owners grow our teams, maintain a strong culture and make the tough decisions necessary to grow?

Be big-picture thinker

You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions when making a decision:

  • What are the consequences if you don’t act?
  • What will happen in the long term?
  • Will it put the business in jeopardy?
  • Will it cause harm to the business as a whole?

The truth is, if you don’t make the hard calls when you need to, there could be consequences that will be your responsibility down the road.

Define your values

Understanding why you do what you do and what you don’t do is important. Outline your values as a benchmark or filter for decision-making. Our company’s underlying value is “Enable Betterment.” Defining your values will create solid boundaries, which will protect you, your staff and your company. Define them, write them down and constantly communicate them to everyone you meet.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Have open, clear communication with the people who work for you and give them the information they need to understand why you made a hard call. Respecting them will only strengthen them. Make sure you give them a space to communicate their thoughts and feelings and be ready to answer any of their questions.

There is a bottom line

There is a point where the numbers just don’t add up. In business the numbers need to add up, and if they don’t, you’re jeopardising what you’re building.

Make the call

The worst decision is no decision at all. As a business owner, you are privy to a unique view of what is happening. Sometimes, operating without a decision is like watching a car crash. No one else will make the call unless you do. So make it.

As a business owner, you will make mistakes and people will get hurt. But, by following these steps, you know you’ve done your best by your business, your partners and those you’re in charge of.

Christopher Bartlett, General Manager, SEED