by Anton Padua, Negosentro.com |
My marriage to Edna, while far from perfect, is I think something that was made in heaven. Who would have thought that a young boy from a small town of Romblon, would soon graduate as a Management and Industrial Engineer, land a job in one of the biggest food companies in the country, be assigned in Pampanga and meet a shy, simple and pretty young girl named Edna? I really think that God made things up for us. Every time I tell our love story to friends, they would be amused upon knowing that Edna had lots of suitors before and would end up turning them down one by one until she got tired and realized she was not getting any younger, had to compromise a bit on the qualities she was looking for and the next time she knew, I was there knocking at her door and would realize I was the man of her life! Of course, that story of Edna compromising some of the qualities she liked in a man was some sort of a joke but seriously, I really thought that God was all behind our marriage. It was a blessing that I was there for Edna at the right time and place and for that I am always grateful to God! (Hehehe!) We were a complementing couple because Edna was the shy and silent type while I was, let us say, the friendly one. She would attend to details while I would look at the bigger part and so, things have worked for us.
Just like in marriage, teamwork is very important in business. Teamwork allows you to look at the complete picture and given your respective interests and competencies, work out things together by maximizing all the talents and resources you have, help and complement each other giving the optimum result needed for your business.
So when we put up Bake and Brew, Edna and I really thought that we had such a good chemistry. Because of her passion for baking, she automatically became the Product Development Manager and would be in charge in knowing what products we are to offer in the shop. Edna is a Certified Public Accountant so she is also in charge of all the money matters of the business as Chief Finance Officer. With my work as a Business Development Manager and my experience in Marketing, I became in charge of Sales, Marketing and Procurement and of course, Human Resource Management. And the set up worked for us! We are able to cover all areas needed by the business by equitably sharing the roles needed. We work on the functions that we have the competence maximizing the result effectiveness in the performance of our roles. We are happy because we perform jobs fit for our interests, skills and competence.
Conflict in Business
For us, putting up the business all by ourselves was an advantage. We do not have to deal with any parties who may have other interests in the business. There is no one that we neither have to please nor have to explain with when something goes wrong. However, despite our simplified structure, Edna and I are not spared from having conflicts. We also discuss and argue on things especially on matters concerning controls, dealing with our staff, our customers, our stakeholders, concerns on products and challenges on costs. However, because of our respect for each other, mutual trust and confidence and knowing that a common investment is at stake, we easily resolve things for the common good of Bake and Brew.
Business, just like marriage, is always not a bed of roses. When challenges come, your patience, your values and your beliefs and even your relationships maybe tested. But as long as you remain focused and dedicated and with lots of heart and perseverance, you may be able to weather the tides of times.
I always discourage family and friends from investing in your own business. I have seen families and friends breaking up relationships because of business. While this may not happen all the time, it is always best to keep your family ties healthy by not straining them with business matters. It is not that I am not in favour of family investment in business but I think the simpler the ownership is, the better and the lesser chances of conflict especially when business is faced with challenges. So keep the ownership of the business to yourselves for an easier life ahead!
Teamwork in Your Workforce
Teamwork among your workforce is very important. But first, make sure that you have a healthy and a happy relationship with your workforce for them to be able to effectively relate well with their fellow workers. While we have instilled discipline, competence and commitment in our workforce, we make sure that we treat our people well. We consider them as part of our family. We have trusted them because we believe that when you trust your people, they will trust you back and will have “malasakit” in your business. Their motivation will come from their relationship with you as the owner.
One trait that I have learned from my experience in the corporate world is leading by example. In order for your people to be hardworking and dedicated in their work, they also have to see that trait in you as the owner. When I am in the coffee shop and there are a lot of customers, I also make sure that I help even in my own little ways such as keeping the tables clean, bringing out the dishes in the kitchen, keeping the toilet clean and even keeping our parking area free from litter.
It was just a coincidence but our staffs are friends way back as HRM students in college. For me, it is an advantage because they already know each other well. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and therefore they try to complement each other by helping them with their respective weaknesses and motivating them in maximizing the benefits of their strengths. As an owner, you should also know the strengths and weaknesses of your staff. In that way, you know where they need help and you know also how you can put their strengths to good use.
So how do we make things easy, do the roles needed and effectively assure us success in our business? Have teamwork not only in your workforce but also among yourselves as owners of the business!
May the force be always with us!
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Anton Padua is a Manila-based entrepreneur who manages a successful community coffee shop south of the metro named Bake and Brew. His day job as Supply Chain Manager for a diversified conglomerate helps him get more on-ground entrepreneurial insights from SMEs.
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You can also email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.