Chicken or Egg?

I quickly discovered that my latest clients had been in a true chicken and egg situation for some time, and their sitting on the fence could have lost them a market opportunity.

Two owner-directors (husband and wife) had been getting more and more stressed and both knew they’d hit on a great new service linked to another part of their electrical services business. And initial uptake from existing customers to whom they could easily cross-sell was very encouraging.

So why the dilemma?

One was risk-averse. Not unusual, and not unhealthy. But that wasn’t the real sticking point. They and their staff (11 in total) were being run off their feet by the upturn the new service had brought. Mistakes were happening  but fortunately being found before customers found them. They knew this couldn’t be sustained. Wasn’t the answer staring them in the face?

Yes- and they knew it! Of course they needed to take on another member of staff- probably two, and certainly more further down the line. Neither was “up for it” though, and they didn’t talk enough to realise why. The unknown issue was that the other partner was unhappy about taking anyone on just in case it didn’t work out; not because of any financial risk to the business, but because it would be harsh on the new employee. Now that’s a concern I don’t hear too often these days!

A couple of hours later, and after much probing and soul-searching, I’m delighted to say the overly-considerate employer came to terms with the reality that people have to take risks, not just businesses. As long as a recruit knows there’s no guarantee, there’s nothing at all unfair about that; wouldn’t it have been more unfair to deny someone the chance of a new job?

Early days, but the new customer service assistant has already settled in well, and the pressure is starting to be relieved! We’re all optimistic the growth will continue, but if not- would it really be unfair to return someone to the Job Centre? Of course not!

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