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Small Business Soundboard: What to do when your right-hand person leaves?

Small business soundboard: December

Small Business Soundboard is a recurring series that curates business, sales, and customer service advice from fellow entrepreneurs on Reddit. We do the digging, so you don’t have to.

If you’re a small business owner, you’re no stranger to seeking advice from people on the internet. From putting fires out to drumming up motivation, and validating ideas, saying there’s a lot on your plate would be an understatement. We’ve scoured small business subreddits to find some solid advice for three common problems. Keep reading to learn more.

What should you do when your assistant leaves? 

Recently over on the Advanced Entrepreneur subreddit, Reddit user u/throwaway17472874388 posed the question, “What to do when your right-hand man leaves?” and the answers gave some seriously good advice for this tough situation. Here are some of the best answers:

1. “You either have to raise prices or increase volume. If he is the level of talent you need, then you need to be able to afford him. If your model doesn’t work without underpaying staff, you might need to pivot. Do not get stuck on a treadmill of working in your business instead of on it.” 


2. “First, try to hire someone he can train during the overlap between now and when he leaves. It’ll cost you 2X while you pay them both, but you’ll get value from higher-than-average training, and value from you not having to train them. Ask them to make training manuals detailing every step of what they do every day. This is an opportunity for you to build an even better business that doesn’t depend on one human for it to be successful, which means you need processes, documentation, and training programs for the next hire.” 


3. “Offer him equity.”


What personal changes will get you from $0 to $10k a month?

On the same subreddit, Reddit user u/bozar7 recently asked, “What are the biggest personal life changes that have helped get you to 10k a month?” and the responses were motivational gold, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish – here’s what people said: 

1. “$0 to $10K/mo is all about relentless focus on a single thing. If you have a 9-5 that keeps a roof over your head and puts food on the table, you still have plenty of time to start a business, but you don’t have enough time to start/run three businesses. So what’s the biggest personal life change that helped me get to $10K/mo when I was your age? Simple: I picked. I went from dozens of little side hustles to a single business, and then I focused on that one business until it hit $1M a year. Today, our portfolio of companies generates in excess of $200M per year, but that only happened because of relentless focus on a single thing until that “thing” hit $1M.”


2. “Keep failing.” 


3.  “You need to find your own tools and mindset that works for you. Do you like to do work early in the morning, or late at night? Do you need to be motivated by a big end goal, or do you find joy in the process? These aren’t even binary choices; you can be a mixture. What you do need to understand, however, are the options available and how to apply them. I got there by just doing a lot of reading, so I suggest you do the same. The one thing that stands out to me is that you are probably doing too much and not leveraging the right opportunities.” 


What’s the most important factor to business success? 

On a similar topic, another Reddit user, u/SantiagoCerdeira, asked, “What do you think is the most important factor to succeed in creating your own business?” If you’re not sure what to focus on in the early business stages, you may want to bookmark these: 

1. “Sales is the only objective predictor of success. We’ve seen shit code in need of refactoring, bad designs, poor customer service, ill-conceived websites with bad copy – myriad factors where a business ought not to be successful. But they are able to be commercially successful. Revenue validates a market and proves value. Investors, employees, partners, and customers love a great success story, and that is centered on what the market is willing to pay.” 


2. “Being in a growing market.”


3. “Be agile and don’t spend all your time planning. You need to actually execute. Even if the strategy isn’t 100% dialed in, you need to go out there and test the waters. Get feedback. See where your assumptions were wrong. See what skills you need to develop. Take what you learn, and improve the business, service offering, or product from there.” 


Want to learn more? Stay tuned for the next Small Business Soundboard coming in January 2024.

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