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It takes all sorts to make an SME tick

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Everyone is no doubt familiar with the saying that it takes all sorts to make this world. So too, it takes all sorts to make a business function the way entrepreneurs dreamt it would. In the same way that a person is more interested in being an entrepreneur rather than being an employee, other people are more interested in other vocations.

This is fortunate because it means entrepreneurs can employ people to do the things they do not care about and are consequently not very good at, writes Pavlo Phitidis, MD of Aurik Business Incubator.
Because it is up to the entrepreneur to choose the right person for the right job at the right time, they’ll need to get to know the personality types that make their business work. These are the visionary, technician, manager, worker and bean counter.
They are the personality types around which the founding entrepreneur needs to grow the expanding early-stage business, because no one individual possesses all the attributes required to single-handedly build a successful enterprise.
An entrepreneur might have an aptitude for sales and marketing. This could be due to their sociable nature, ability to network and a knack for satisfying people’s needs. By understanding these core strengths, they will also understand by extension that they might fall down when it comes to other functions.
Perhaps they are a brilliant pie salesperson but know very little about what actually goes into the production of pies, and how to maintain the consistent quality of what they are selling.
Once the entrepreneurial pie salesman has recognised the weakness illustrated above, they can begin hiring the right technicians to build the quality control systems that will minimise the chaos resulting from inconsistent pie quality.
Now that an appropriate example to illustrate the necessity of hiring the kind of people who will make systems work has been used, let’s take a closer look at these personality types.
The visionary
The starting point of this article is that the entrepreneur is the visionary. They are the person whose original commercial vision has created the need to employ all the other personality types, and in fact, given them their raison d'etre.
While the founding entrepreneur is visionary number one, it is important to understand that there is indeed room within the organisation for other visionaries. While there can only be one founding entrepreneur, the organisation will always need visionaries to lead it into the future.
And they may as well be hired during the entrepreneur's tenure. So don’t be afraid of that bright young spark who waltzes into the office one day. That brash attitude could be masking significant potential that could make a lot of money!
The technician
The technician is the person who is unusually adept at cranking out whatever product or service it is that the SME offers to the market. They will usually live, sleep and breathe whatever line of work they are in, and in fact, tinkering with gizmos is not work at all, it’s pleasure in its purest form. It is worth highlighting that in early-stage businesses the founding entrepreneur is usually both the visionary and the technician.
This stems from the fact that great start-ups are often the result of technicians who discover new and improved ways of doing things while in the employ of other people. As the business takes off, it is vital the original technician surrounds himself with similarly-skilled technical types who can improve on the original concept.
The manager
The manager is the person who the entrepreneur will want to enter an early-stage business and start setting up the systems, policies and procedures that begin to create a semblance of order so different from the heady, chaotic and intriguingly-fulfilling early days of flying by the seat of one’s pants.
The manager is especially valuable because the systems they start putting in place are the ones that will give the original founding entrepreneur room to start manoeuvring out of the business so that it can eventually be sold as an independent asset of value.
The worker
As bright as the visionary may be, or as efficient as the manager may be, no business can function without the elbow grease of the worker. The entrepreneur would be well served to surround themselves with workers who add value to the business by displaying the traits of loyalty to the firm, dedication to the task at hand and respect for the colleagues they are required to interact with in pursuit of the company’s objectives.
With reference to these three traits, past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance making thorough background checks especially worthwhile.
The bean counter
The bean counter’s responsibilities go far beyond the nickname, because they are of course not counting beans but wholly responsible for the lifeblood of the entire organisation. This is why, in any large organisation worth its salt, the CFO is situated as close to the CEO as possible without actually sitting on their lap.
Even though their passion sometimes dictates otherwise, the founding entrepreneur needs to understand that good service and great products amount to nothing if the money is not coming in. Cash flow is a challenge for most early stage businesses which makes a switched on money person one of the best investments an entrepreneur can make.
In conclusion, hiring the right employees and securing the right consultants is vital because the entrepreneur cannot possibly possess all the skills required to make the dream a reality. Good luck with the dream and happy hunting for the right people!