Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Are You Killing Your Own Business?

Growing the how of what you do ...


Is your business growing rapidly, adding new customers and increasing your employee head count? If so, just take a moment to think about this. Are you killing your own business by not also growing the 'how' of what you do?

If you don't grow the how of what you do, you could be at risk of killing your own business!

If you don't grow the how of what you do, you could be at risk of killing your own business!

What I am talking about here are systems, hiring people, firing people and the doing and managing of your business itself. Let me explain:

  • Systems

    Every business has systems and processes, but those that work fine for a two or three person business just won't cut it in a 10 or 20 person or bigger business.

    As your business grows and develops you need to have systems that allow you to manage remotely, systems that don't require you to know what is going on but will tell you how you are doing, systems that build in accountability for doing stuff and reporting on that accountability. These systems should be documented so they are clearly communicable and include training so that your employees can learn how to work not only as a team, but also in the values of 'how we do it here'.

    For example, if you have a 3 person business then you will probably all be sitting close together. You will know what everyone is doing and they will know what you are doing. Just through normal conversations you will be letting them know how the business is doing, but if there are 25 of you, nobody will really know what is going on and your communication needs to deal with this. This is where you will need managers and supervisors to control and delegate the flow of work.

    Key Point: As you develop your business, develop your systems to be more robust and provide accountability.

  • Hiring People

    Loads of businesses, especially startups, hire employees because they are available, or they are friends or family ... in other words they don't hire them on the basis of a job description with a list of attitudes, traits, abilities and skills!

    The net effect of this approach is often chaos as you have inappropriate employees and you often stuff up your friendships and family relationships. Seriously, don't do it! Your business will only grow if you have a team and the difference between a team and just staff is attitude and behaviour, not skill.

    As we can see from any international football team, having genius-like skills does not lead to a winning team. You need to have those attitudes and behaviours, and that ethos, that matches your business. You need good team players and then train them in how you want it done so they have better skills and work together.

    This coupled, with your systems that bring in accountability for getting stuff done, is what is going to drive your business forward to success.

    Key Point: Hire properly or you will end up hurting your business.

  • Firing People

    One other point on employees is if you have a 'wrong un' then don't hang about. There are really only two sorts of employees, good ones and bad ones so fire the bad ones as quickly as you can before they damage your business.

    If you don't, your good team players will get upset and leave and your customers will get bad service, which brings us back to systems and accountability because if you don't have a system for regularly appraising your staff and knowing if they are achieving or not, you don't have either the information on how they are doing or the ammunition to dismiss them.

    Key Point: Fire any bad employees quickly, before they tarnish anything else.

  • Doing And Managing

    When you have a small business, you can do pretty much everything yourself. OK, sometimes you have to do everything yourself, but as you develop and get employees, and you spread the workload, then somebody has to be the leader and somebody has to be the manager and everyone else is a doer.

    If you try to be a doer and a manager and a leader then you are setting yourself up for a big fail. Fairly obvious (!) you may agree, as there are only so many hours in the day and so you can't do everything yourself ... but a really important point to deal with as you grow is to have supervisors or managers who manage.

    If you are the business leader then you have to lead and you can't also do the doing as well, or rather you can, but only by letting your business down as you can't do either job properly.

    Now obviously there will be a 'transition' and time in your workload for some doing, but you need to plan on delegating most or all of your doing to others. This also makes it more important than ever that you have systems and procedures so that you can manage your team and delegate effectively and they can be effective doers.

    Key Point: Be a doer or a leader, not both.

So are you killing your own business through having bad systems, the wrong employees and by trying to do too much yourself? Or are you leading a team of good team players that operate a system with built-in accountability and responsibility that brings good customer service and a great feeling of job satisfaction?

"If any of these points resonate with you, then fix it! Now!"

If you think you may be killing your own business, and now need help then do call me on 01234 752 566 or click here to send me an email enquiry and let's see how I and my team at JVCA can help you.

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566