If yours is an electrical services business that is amazing at its core business of installing and fixing systems and appliances, yet it is under-performing when it comes to making money then you can't call it a successful business. But at least you are in a rather illustrious company. Read on to find out about it!
Disorganised boss: do you recognise yourself?
Thomas Edison himself was a brilliant electrical engineer and inventor but for many years he was a hopeless businessman. He spent so much time on developing his inventions that he neglected the paperwork. In the end, he granted power of attorney to a young Englishman named Samuel Insull, who not only put Edison’s house in order but went on to help him build a huge business empire.
There are two lessons we can draw from this piece of history:
- First, problems often start at the top, with a disorganised boss.
- Second, a disorganised boss is not necessarily a “bad person” or simply incompetent.
It takes many types of individuals, with a wide range of abilities, to build a successful electrical business. Technical know-how is one. Entrepreneurial flair is another. But companies that are going through a transition, for example progressing from start-up to scale-up phase, or taking on larger projects, will need a combination of managerial skills and technical support to move forward.
Here are three traits of the disorganised boss that may be hampering your company’s success:
“Everything’s in my head”
Remember David Brent from The Office? He didn’t believe in systems because everything was in his head. Except it wasn’t. Once a business reaches a certain critical mass, things can’t go on exactly as they did in the past.
In an electrical services company, time can be wasted if appointments, jobs and customer details are not meticulously and systematically recorded in one place.
If the information is inaccessible, scattered across bits of paper or in emails you will not only waste time and energy as an individual, your company will lose money. It is time to invest in a database system and to assign clear admin responsibilities for keeping it up to date and accurate.
Some business owners are control freaks who have issues with delegating to others. The “nice boss” often genuinely does not want to overload people and says he is “protecting his team”.
Others may be arrogant, saying “only I know how to do this” while others simply don’t have the imagination to work out how others can help relieve the burden.
Whatever the reason, there are two outcomes:
- Bottlenecks pile up as work is left undone,
- The team as a whole will under-perform, feel that their work is insufficiently challenging and that they are not trusted.
A more organised business owner will communicate clearly to team members what is expected and by when and then say, “come to me if you have any problems”.
In a larger company, the boss must know how to cascade that information through office managers and team leaders. A weekly meeting to go through current projects engineers’ job schedules should be all it takes to delegate project and team management effectively. A good boss does not micro-manage.
Improvisation – quick fixes
A successful organisation is process-driven. Disorganised bosses tend to “fly by the seat of their pants”. They can be great improvisers but for the team, this means constantly having to reinvent the wheel, rush to meet deadlines and fix easily preventable mistakes.
By contrast, a well-organised boss sees the bigger picture, designs repeatable work processes and then fine tunes them, which helps to raise productivity.
When such processes are embedded in technology, the boss can take a hands-off approach and leave operational activity to the office manager and team leaders. That will enable him to focus on more strategic challenges such as finding new business.
All of the above can be deeply frustrating on a day-to-day level for your team.
However, that is not the worst of it. In the long term, a disorganised company leadership is going to have an impact on how well office managers can meet their personal annual targets and how well your company can increase its revenues and profitability.
A “blame culture” often emerges in a badly organised office. Lacking the technical infrastructure to track jobs and identify process bottlenecks and other issues objectively, people will blame poor performance on individuals and pass the buck.
Everyone knows your are doing your best, but it does not appear to be good enough so the problem must lie elsewhere. This may even send your company on a downward spiral.
However, there is no need to panic. In the next blog post, we will be looking at how a company can remedy the situation and achieve its full potential to generate revenues and increase profitability.
Until then, you can learn more about easy electrical certificates for field service businesses with Commusoft. Do you think we missed out on anything? Use the social media buttons down below to share your thoughts with us about how to properly run an electrical business.