”I’m confident that everyone is embracing the business as if it were their own”
Six ways to build your business with employee-entrepreneurs
I am an entrepreneur, and I’ve built my business by expecting the people in my organisation to all be entrepreneurs too. That doesn’t mean I’m creating an incubator space for people to build their own confidence to head off and start their own businesses (although it’s completely ok if they do). It means that I’m empowering them with the responsibility to make on-the-spot decisions that will positively impact the business’s bottom line.
That’s good news for my business because everyone in the company treats it as their own which means that I don’t have to micro-manage all the way down the line, because I’m confident that everyone – from the hotel general managers to the sous chef – is embracing the business as if it were their own.
I believe it’s impossible to grow your business unless you can trust your people to make the right decisions, otherwise your organisation becomes a bureaucratic monster with multiple levels of approval.
· Offer extensive training and development opportunities to your people. Employees that are given the tools to grow their skills and confidence, build long-term careers and help you develop your business.
At The Capital Hotels and Apartments, we don’t have a ‘head office’ or ‘headquarters’ – we have a Support Office, which does just that – it supports our people as they manage and work in our various properties. Think about how you run your business, and about how your people perceive your role in it – are you there to tell them what to do, or there to give them the backup they need, when they need it?
Change the way you pay people. We pay our general managers 20-30% less than the industry norm, but we offer them a share in the profits. If they exceed targets, they’ll take home significantly more than their peers, and will continually find ways to improve the property’s performance, and their own income.
If they don’t make their targets, underperformers will feel it in their pockets, and will be more inclined to identify challenges and solutions than they would if they were guaranteed a high-performance salary.
Adapt your remuneration model at every level. For example, while our cleaning staff and waiters don’t get guaranteed 13th cheques, if they score well on their KPAs they could get up to a 14th cheque.
Promote from within, before you recruit externally. This is fundamental to our approach and means that we build relationships with our people. We reward them for the proactivity and accountability needed in our business model with more than just a paycheck.
I believe that many people, who may not have the funds or the appetite for the risk to start their own business, can still bring the exciting spirit of entrepreneurship to help build a business. That’s why I’m firm in my view that every business that wants to be at the top of their game in today’s economy needs to choose people who find opportunity in risk, and who are confident enough in their game to take the lead.
By Marc Wachsberger, managing director of The Capital Hotels and Apartments, one of the largest providers of fully serviced luxury apartments and hotel rooms in South Africa.