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Sally A.
Sally A.
Stanmore, NSW

I run a small business with 3 staff and the business is going ok apart from staff issues. Their work is great but after 5 years I feel I would be making more money for my family if I chose to operate on my own. With super, taxes, paperwork and their personal issues.. it is wearing me down and I’d like to get some advice from other business owners who may have or have been through a similar experience. I do feel obligated to support them but at what cost, thanks in advance?

2 years ago


Hi Sally,

I would invest time in analysing your current processes. Are you doing things because that's how they've always been done or are there improvements (outsourcing or automation and systems) that can reduce the cost and workload, in turn, increase profits? There could also be other opportunities to smooth out cashflow etc.

Letting people go and feeling obligated to support them means you care about your staff. But if it's going to cost you your business, you won't be able to support them or yourself anyway. Sometimes you just have to make the hard calls.

But first, see what you can do to better utilise your resources (people, systems, customers, cash) to improve your business.

You could turn to a good accountant or business adviser, but shop around first to gauge their experience in your business field and if they have any experience in business management and dealing with these issues. I'm not having a dig at accountants, but like doctors, some specialise in certain things.

That's my two cents. I wish you the best of luck.

Scott Juda
Finance Broker
Accrue Equity

Hi Sally,

The bane of most businesses existence! Business would be great if it wasn’t for staff and customers 😂
I agree with Scott though, over the 5 years your business has likely changed quite a bit and your staff and the business landscape have changed dramatically. If you have the opportunity to work with a great business adviser to get your focus back and build systems into the operation you will surprised at the uplift you can get in morale and output
Worth a go in my book. I have a sales coach and a business systems adviser
Best of luck

Hi Sally,

I also run a small business and have a small crew working with me. I feel your pain. However I have a wonderful working relationship with my troopers. I am blessed in that I am pretty confident that my business would not be where it is without my staff. They are integral part of the business, and as much as they need me to pay them a wage, we all know we are in it together and everyone benefits from the business growing......so they are all highly motivated to see the business succeed.

Thats not to say its all beer and skittles every Friday, sometimes I have to drop a rocket on someone when they are not pulling their weight. Equally, my employees have the confidence to rip into me when I am letting them down too.

Its a bit like a marraige: we all work at it:)

It may well be true that you could make the same or more money on your own, but the risk factor increases too: if you are not at work, then the business stops. If you have staff you can trust, then the business can still operate with you away.

The last thing you need is a 7 day a week job that ties you to the millstone all day every day.

It is difficult to advise you on what you can do without a better idea of what you DO do. The best advice I reckon I can give you is to find a good qualified accountant (CA or CPA) who can help you with not only tax and compliance, but also help with the business management stuff. Give you ideas on what you can do to motivate and engage your staff.......I think Richard Branson is one of the biggest bone-heads on the planet, but I read where he said that his clients are not the most important thing in his business: his STAFF are!!! If you have staff that are all engaged, and everyone is rowing the boat in the same direction, then I am very confident that your outlook on being the boss will change enormously.

I LOOOOVE being in business for myself. I have owned a business where everyone was looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone else and it was POO!!! I now own a business where I have 150% confidence in my staff, and I know that I will back them to the hilt, and we all get on (mostly) like a house on fire!!! I cant recommend it highly enough.

but getting there will take time patience and guidance from someone who knows what they are talking about. thats where you need to find yourself a TRUSTED ADVISOR, not just a bean-counter. And you will pay for the advice, and you should have confidence in your advisor so that you feel the cost of the advice is good value for money. If that is not the case, find a new advisor:)

good luck

In a similar position Sally.

I recall a simple manage technique - they are not staff/employees, but your team (it is a perspective thing). When you have the team with you, they can/should give you the freedom to have a life as well.

Sit down with your accountant, or consider an external business advisor by all means - but # 1. please revisit your business plan. Most importantly our short/medium term goals.

What growth strategies can be implemented to take the next step? What opportunities are there for your business? Take some time out from the business to work ON it, rather than just IN it. By looking at this and driving the next step in your business evolution, you just might find that lost spark, and find the $'s look after themselves.

Running a business isn't easy, and the stresses get extreme. It can be lonely when dealing with these sorts of issues. It is imperative, to my mind, to have a network of other business people you can talk to, to vent the issues every now and then.

And use your professional network to assist with those opportunities. A good Advisor (not just accountant) will help steer you in the right direction and help develop future plans.

2 years ago

Thank you so much for the advice and it is nice to know others have found it difficult at times. I do love running my own business and they are all good people but I sometimes feel I am more of a counselor than a business owner. I will put some of the ideas into practice, it has been very helpful


2 years ago

Hi Sally, everyone has given you sound advice that I would agree with. I would encourage you to definitely think about putting systems and processes in place which will help you in the long run, most of the time we can't 'manage' people because we haven't got clarity over what the expectations are. It may take time up front, but will pay off in the long run and give you more control without having to be controlling. Happy to offer more support if you need it.
Regards, Chris.

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