Without question, we are living in some strange times and some people are not as fortunate as small business owners who were able to get PPP and EDIL loans and grants. Some people are truly struggling and it's hard, as entrepreneurs, to not want to help. After all most of us are humanitarians at best and we are always finding ways to solve problems, it's our natural instinct. Then again, there are those times when your business MUST come before your emotions. If you have ever hired friends before you may have had a couple of great experiences but a majority of the entrepreneurs that I know have had a really hard time when doing this, including myself. Here are a few reason's why you may want to think twice about hiring friends to help in your business.
Make Your Hire Strategy your HIGHEST Strategy
Team management is one of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurs. Finding great hired help, and of course money, is the number one challenge of every entrepreneur that I know of but one of the biggest mistakes I've made myself, in the past, is using my own business as a way to help others who are between gigs or offering my company up as a side gig for them when we have big projects especially. The stress of keeping the machine in order can come crashing down when an aspect of it is out of order. The effort of killing two birds with one stone has often come back to bite the business AND us in the a#@.
If I can be as blunt as possible, the BIGGER IDEA, which we must always be cognizant of, is to grow your business not stifle your growth. Your levels of strategy for running the business should not include being the mother, father, friend, aunt uncle, caregiver, bank or counselor to the people that you hire and when you hire friends you may end up playing all those roles and it's difficult to have the mental toughness to separate the work from friendship. Especially if you want to maintain that friendship but is it worth putting your business at risk?
Think twice about hiring friends to help you with your business. The biggest reason is that you need to be able to have a guilt-free approach when it comes to disciplining someone who is not doing the tasks assigned to them and it's very difficult to do that with friends.
Emotions Lead to Poor Management
Friends know you and your weaknesses. Your options are very limited when it comes to being your friends' boss AND their friend at the same time. We can rarely have it both ways. We've all had the friend who is down on their luck or between jobs or side gigs and in need of some extra cash but is your business a black-owned bank or a black-owned brand? Your friend has let you know they need money NOT a job. Which one do you think will be their first priority and what should YOURS be?
Before you offer up your business to help out a friend know not to use your black-owned business to kill two birds with one stone. Your job as a black entrepreneur is not also Superman or Superwoman and you can't save the world. Your friends know your triggers, your strengths, and your weaknesses and the other people that work for you don't need to be in on that as it will affect your performance management down the road.
Friends Make you Feel Obligated
You put yourself in a poor position when you hire a friend MOSTLY because of this… They will use the friendship as a bargaining chip because it's all they have but YOU have a lot more to lose including their friendship so you will tolerate things out of the ordinary. This will take your attention away from the bigger idea of growing your business and having control over team management. While they may need money to pay the rent you could use it to hire someone who can do the job and has experience.
YOU make you feel Obligated
The characteristics of entrepreneurship often involve finding a way to help solve a problem but there are times when we take that too far and it should never affect your small business management ability or your levels of strategy to grow your black-owned business. Your intentions are good but you soon realize you've made a mistake and now you have to pay more either in money or your time (your most valuable asset) to fix it. Their problem may now become a BIGGER problem for you. Can you risk that?
My suggestion is that before you make a mistake like this, change your hire strategy to bring in people who can do the job instead of just collecting the check. Know that the BUSINESS is the FIRST PRIORITY and you need people on board who can complete the tasks assigned with no drama. You may end up having to pay them to GO. Either way, you will be the bad guy but your peace of mind and health is worth a HELLUVA lot more than a stroke or a heart attack because of stress.
You Hesitate to Express Dismay
You may have a lot to say about what your friend is doing wrong but in an effort to spare the friendship you may remain silent to keep the peace. This will absolutely lead to stress and poor performance management. This will affect you in every way including your creativity and innovation strategies. You put yourself in this position and now you have to find a way out of it when it could have been avoided.
You Sacrifice the Time and Money for your Black Owned Business Because You Don't want to lose the Friendship
You have bitten off more than you can chew but at this point, it's too late. You have to find a way to get out of the mess that you put yourself in. If you MUST hire a friend the first rule is they have to be an asset to your company. Do they have experience in the job that that you are offering? What is YOUR benefit for hiring them? We already know their benefit.
Other Employees will see You Being Used
If your employees see this, it will certainly cause dissension and strife which could end up being a much bigger problem for you even after your friend is long gone.
Friends Will Overlook the Tasks Assigned to Them
They are only concerned about their own situation and it makes sense, it is paramount to them at this time and you are secondary.
Allow me to say this may not be the case in all situations but ask yourself, instead of training them, fighting with them, discrupting yoru productivitey and sleep and hurting your busienss, would it be better just to give them the money they need instead or walk away from it. You are not obligated.
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