Ethical business financing firms must be 100% truthful when speaking to potential clients. At my company, my team members only approve significant financing packages when they truly believe the client’s business is capable of sustainable growth. A popular misconception is that this information can be easily found on paper. As long as the business has a certain number of customers or is making a certain amount of money, the business should have no problem taking on more customers and keeping them.
But as any experienced business owner knows, a few good numbers don’t always mean that a company has a working system. Another way to tell if a company is ready to grow is whether it has reached what I call a balance in certain areas. My company wasn’t ready to grow until it achieved the following variations of this concept, all of which can be applied to any finance firm that thrives on performance and/or productivity:
1. The Boss Is Satisfied, But Employees Are Not Overwhelmed
The average entrepreneur’s work ethic is nothing short of extraordinary. Many of them work over 12 hours a day and are completely unaware of the concept of “time off.” But when you are comfortable working for so many hours, you set goals for yourself that can only be completed through your own productivity rate. These same goals are often then assigned to your top employees. Even though top employees are expected to show above-average dedication, it’s unrealistic to expect them to mimic the work style of the business’s owner. However, many entrepreneurs don’t understand this.
For example, at a finance firm, the business leader might remain in front of their computer until the client’s latest request has been achieved and expect employees to do the same regardless of how much additional time that would take.
This results in a common dilemma: The business leader believes employees aren’t working hard enough, while the employees believe they are working too hard. The solution is to create a balance where the boss is satisfied with employee output, but employees don’t feel overwhelmed. Before setting goals for employees, ask yourself: “Can this be done in a realistic time frame, considering everything else on the employee’s plate?” If you conclude that ambitious goals are crucial for your competitive edge, think about offering higher compensation or other perks to incentivize the team.
2. Progress Is Monitored, But Employees Don’t Feel Threatened
Entrepreneurs often emphasize the importance of tracking employee progress. They have a valid point, since failing to monitor certain elements of performance can lead to critical issues going ignored and getting worse. In finance, employee progress might be measured by customer satisfaction ratings or weekly performance indicators. But what companies tend to forget is that introducing measures to track progress can make employees feel threatened. I can’t tell you how many business leaders I’ve worked with noticed a drop in employee morale once they started tracking progress.
Luckily, the solution to this dilemma is fairly simple: When tracking begins, tell your employees that the goal of this initiative is not to get anyone “in trouble” or figure out who to let go. You can also remind them that even though reporting their own progress is uncomfortable, this level of honesty is undeniably necessary for their personal cultivation. This will ultimately achieve a balance in which progress is closely monitored without exuding too much pressure.
3. Your Standards Are High, But You Can Maintain Them
Earlier, I mentioned that new businesses frequently have to go the extra mile to attract and keep clients. They essentially try to outperform their immediate competitors in any way they can. But when this becomes your standard for performance and satisfaction, you have to maintain these standards to maintain your reputation. A young finance firm, for instance, might make the mistake of setting its own standards so high that they are virtually impossible to maintain for every new client it takes on. There simply isn’t enough time to give every client this same amount of attention.
You can avoid this dilemma by knowing which element of your business model each client values most. One client might place more value on customer service, while another might be all about cold, hard numbers. This will prevent you from using every last bit of your energy to please all of your clients in every possible way. Instead, you will create a balance that allows you to keep every client equally satisfied.
You Can’t Grow While These Issues Persist
It’s difficult to grow a business when at least one of these three problems exists. All of them cloud your vision of the future by making you question the capacity of your operation. Applying the concept of balance dramatically improves the relationship between the business leader and employees, which is crucial for taking any business to the next level. After all, a company that remains divided on key issues surely cannot stand.