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The Importance of Knowing Your Employees Jobs

Cash Miller

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When you first started your business you had to do everything. Answer phones, write invoices, pay bills, make sales calls, meet vendors, and so on. You were a one man show and knew how to do it all. You knew your business inside and out and could answer just about any question.

Now your business is starting to grow though and you're finding that you just can't do it all. So you've gone ahead with your next big step. You've hired your first employees. And they've begun to take some of the workload off your shoulders. You can finally take a deep breath and relax a little bit.

Well not exactly. You see when you hired that first employee, say it was an office assistant, well you gave up that title and took on a new one, manager! And as a manager you now have to teach that job and the way you want it done to that new employee. Well let's go ahead and say you've already done exactly that. Now we get to the point of what not being left in the dark truly means.

I've always believed in knowing how to do the jobs of the people that work for me. Even when I had over twenty employees I still needed to know how to do the jobs of each and every one of them. Why? Well the simple answer is in case they don't show up for work one day. But it really goes deeper than that. Your business will need people in key positions as it grows. And as your business grows their positions will become more important.

What if you use sales representatives in your business? Early on in my business I had one sales rep. We split the sales duties with me handling some of our oldest clients and he handled landing new clients and developing those relationships. We had some large chain businesses and of course I new what locations of each chain we dealt with but he new the General Managers in charge of those locations.

But a key element in his job description was to pursue new clients and eventually he stopped doing that preferring to only visit his existing clients. We eventually came to a head on this issue and I had to let him go. But this left a void and I had to step into his job to keep those clients and rebuild those relationships that he had developed.

Another great example is an office assistant position. This person over time becomes your right hand person. They get to know a lot of company critical information and may be a person you confide in. But what do you do if suddenly they leave for whatever reason. Do you know your office well enough to find the things you need that in the past you've always just had to ask for? Even if you hire a replacement they're not going to know any better where things are than you. What if they left on bad terms? Will you know if they took something with them that they shouldn't have?

On the more serious side were the times that I had to fill in for my General Manager. He was in charge of completing all our various projects and assigning work to our crews. I always to responsibility for the sales and office portions of management. He got the work done. But because I new his job I was able to fill in with a minimum of disruption. Can you do that? So even as your business is growing and success is finally coming your way you need to remember that you could suffer a setback if you lost just one key employee. Just because you don't have to do the job doesn't mean you shouldn't remember how too.

Cash Miller is an experienced entrepreneur and speaker who has spent over a decade as a small business owner. The years of experience in small business have given him insight into a variety of topics. If you are looking for more small business information you can go to


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