If you’re hoping to one day sell your online business for a profit, you need to achieve success, grow your startup, have a plan for the future at all times and constantly be focused on achieving your goals. Many online businesses begin as startups without any employees, but as businesses grow, the need to hire others to help you keep growing becomes important.
Going from being a solo entrepreneur running a small Internet business to being a business owner and a boss can be daunting. This is especially true if you’ve never been in management before. Many online business owners end up either micro managing their employees or mistakenly believing that their team can handle everything on their own the way they once did when they were one-man or one-woman operations. Both of these approaches can end up undermining success by demotivating employees.
To create a workplace in which employees are driven for success, motivated and positive, follow these tips:
1. Make Sure Your Employees See You.
If you’ve been drowning in work as a one-person online business, hiring employees can allow you to take a breath of fresh air, give up maintaining tasks and focus on what’s most important, but don’t make the mistake of checking out completely. Your employees need to interact with you on a regular basis to feel like they’re part of a team. While you shouldn’t fraternize or become friends with your employees, it’s important that you seem approachable and that your employees feel like they can come to you with problems, concerns and ideas. Make it a point to come in at least once every week and talk to everyone. If the employees of your online business telecommute, check in often via phone, email and teleconferences.
2. Include Everyone.
You have a vision for your business that drives you to succeed, but do your employees share it? Getting the employees of your online business vested in your vision for the future can help motivate them to do their best work. Make sure every member of your team knows what the short and long term goals are and how they specifically contribute to making them happen. Employees will perform better when they feel as if they’re a part of something bigger than themselves.
3. Be a Good Listener.
Including every team member in your online business means that you’re going to get your fair share of feedback along the way. How you react to this can impact your team positively or negatively. No matter what your employees are saying, it’s important to listen to them and to actually consider their words. Make sure they know that you understand their positions. Evaluate what they have to say carefully before you respond. Don’t be the type of boss who shoots down ideas just because they’re different, new or from a new employee. See what you can use from the employees’ suggestions and adapt the way you do business where you can. When you simply can’t, make sure that you communicate why in a professional way that shows the opinion was valued even if it isn’t feasible at this time.
4. Give Your Employees Power.
The beauty of having employees for your online business is that you don’t have to do everything on your own. This doesn’t just mean that you can surrender housekeeping and mundane tasks. Employees who are ready for the responsibility could and should be given the chance to make some decisions independently. Delegate projects that hold importance or important responsibilities to key team members. They’ll appreciate the chance to grow their skill set and take on something new. As you grow, these individuals may even be able to move into management roles and become supervisors that help lead your team.
5. Criticize and Praise.
Recognizing employee accomplishments goes a long way toward maintaining morale. Employees want to feel valued and have their work be recognized, so make sure to acknowledge the things your team members do both large and small. At the same time, criticism and coaching presented in a positive light can also be beneficial for employees. Conscientious team members want to know how they’re doing and perform at their best. When they don’t receive feedback, they can begin to feel like you’re not noticing them or that you don’t care about the work that they do. Just be careful to always make criticism constructive, focused on behaviors rather than on employees characters or personalities. For example, if you have an employee that is always late, you should focus on the tardiness rather than accusing the employee of being irresponsible or not caring about their jobs.
Internet business brokers will tell you that online business owners who are able to sell online business ventures for large sums are usually the ones where employees were most engaged and on board. Whether you plan to contact online business brokers in the near future to begin planning your sale or hope not to exit your business for years to come, your employees are one of your most valuable resources and can make or break your Internet-based company. By following the five tips above, you can motivate your team to work with you to make your business a success.