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I am the boss, but have nothing left to give.

(17 Posts)
Lizcat Fri 14-Oct-11 13:13:48

Sorry don't know where else to put this. I am a 50% partner in a business that employees 16 staff over 3 premises and provides 24 hour a day service. Over the last 7 weeks my business partner has been on holiday for 4 and half weeks, we have had a new member of newly qualified staff start, 2 members of staff off sick, one member of staff has lost her um yesterday, and two members of staff on long planned booked ages ago holiday.
I try to be a good boss, comply with the law, but also reward loyalty etc. However, I have reached the end of my line - I have provided cover for less experienced colleagues/ worked on call myself for the last for the last 23 days in which time my house has been burgled and I have also provided accommodation for the new colleague who has moved into the area.
I feel that I have worn myself out trying to accommodate everything and I have nothing left to give. I can even begin to think covering the member of staff who is still off sick next week.
Is there any moral support out their for me as a self-employed employer.

cjbartlett Fri 14-Oct-11 13:16:16

ring business partner and tell them to come back?

don't let them go away for so long again without providing appropriate cover?

Lizcat Fri 14-Oct-11 13:22:39

Whilst I understand what you are are saying cj. His day to day work has been covered no one else can cover the management side. It hasn't been 4.5 continuous weeks, but has added up to this over the last 7 weeks. I have to add that all the really bad stuff has happened when he is away and when he is back it is a relatively even keel.
Really what I am interested in is, is there any kind of support service out their for confidential discussion for small businesses.

plupervert Fri 14-Oct-11 13:27:17

Contract in a temp, to cover reception of phone calls, letters and e-mails.

Check your contracts for a force majeure clause, loosening your commitments to deliver in a timely fashion (e.g. 48 hour turnaround, rather than 24 hours). Consider sending out a notice to clients, about timescales. My bank is always writing with news of "upgrades" and "essential maintenance to the site", and it doesn't occur to me to demand compensation!

When does the grace period of accommodation for the "new colleague" end? I'd be pressuring him/her to gte out sooner, and never be doing that again!

If you can get your partner back from holiday, as cjbartlett so brilliantly suggests, this list of things can go to him/her. A business owner, even at 50%, is responsible for giving up on things s/he wants, for the good of the business. You've already set a good example, so time for your partner to step up, too!

Lizcat Fri 14-Oct-11 13:49:53

Thank you again plupervert your solutions are all good if you are in a non-clinical business which I am in - if we drop the ball deaths occur.
I really just want some kind of person to talk through with just to give me moral support a bit like ACAS, but for employers I can't be the first employer to feel like this.
I really need to find someone like this as in 11 months I will buy my partner out and become sole owner and need a sounding board.

3littlefrogs Fri 14-Oct-11 13:54:50

Are you in a professional organisation? I am guessing you must have some sort of medical type wualification and need professional indemnity for your job/organisation.

These organisations usually provide preofessional advice/counselling, so maybe that is the way to go?

StillSquiffy Fri 14-Oct-11 15:24:36

Second using the professions if you belong to one. Also there are some women's networks that are stuffed with women who own their own businesses (there are employed people too, I'd say it was 50-50, so for your purposes there would be hoards of people to empathise). If you are London there is the City women's network (which isn't entirely skewed toward city people - has a smattering of other businesses). Every tim eI go to these events it is full of people letting their hair down/sharing tips/confiding.

Otherwise these boards are an ok place - lots of us on here (including me) have our own businesses - check out the freelancers/self employed section in Talk...

plupervert Fri 14-Oct-11 15:31:13

Oh, Lord! I hadn't realised the nature of your business! I thought it might be something office-delivered, along the lines of IT support, programming, customer services, etc.

In that case, it sounds as though you do need external support (like the professional organisation 3littlefrogs mentioned).

Longer-term, do you think this business is sustainable with just two partners, let alone with just you, after you buy our your partner. Vulnerability to short-staffing issues like this would be worrying. Could it be time to start thinking of an exit strategy (e.g. sell-out to larger organisation, rather than you buying out), which would prevent you and your "customers" from being so exposed, ever again?

KatieMortician Fri 14-Oct-11 15:47:30

Agree with looking at professional body or try a business coach.

I know someone who's a student business coach (career changer, not a green newbie type) who might do you a reduced rate to help her meet her course objectives? PM if you want me to put you in touch.

Lizcat Fri 14-Oct-11 16:29:00

Thank all for your suggestions I think lunchtime was my absolute low point and now I have had a good cry I feel that the business side is actually okay. I think the main problem is I have not dealt with my feelings about the burglary on my house in particular the theft of my engagement ring.
I spent the afternoon in the office and have cleared most of my paper problems, having cleared my clinical load this morning. I also became aware that the failure of a large corporate competitor failing legally and ethically in the last few weeks has dramatically increased our work load.

plupervert Fri 14-Oct-11 19:25:02

Were there any consequences for the directors of the legally/ethically failing competitor? If not, that's reassuring. If so, at least you have your fears quantified and possibly made more manageable...

WestMidsAccounts Fri 14-Oct-11 19:48:56

Speak to your Accountant.
It can feel lonely at the top with no-one to share problems with but, ironically, there are thousands of business people out there in exactly the same position as you. Your Accountant, who should have an overview of your business and will understand the stresses, will have heard the story loads of times before. Go and (metaphorically) cry on his/her shoulder.

Enraha Fri 14-Oct-11 20:11:06

Sympathies. You definitely need to get a good coach or mentor onside, particularly if you plan to go ahead with the buy-out. It's an essential business expense for your company and for the sake of your clients. Given the life/death importance of what you do, it's vital that you don't take too much on or set yourself up to fail with these potential new clients coming from the competitor, so take a conservative read on your capacity until the business is back up to strength, unless you can call on some emergency resource and jack-up prices to cover it in the short term.

AlpinePony Sat 15-Oct-11 13:58:15

Phone the vet nurse school and see if they can recommend anyone to run 'front-of-house' on a temporary basis until you feel 'normal' again?

northerngirl41 Sat 15-Oct-11 20:56:47

1) Even if your business partner is on holiday and "irreplaceable" I'd imagine that they still would pick up on some of the extra stuff you've been doing had they been here? It's not okay for them to land you in it - their life doesn't trump yours, it should be equal if you are equal partners.
2) FSB or your local Business Link are a good port of call for help during the difficult transtionary stages of business where you can't justify risking hiring more people willy-nilly.
3) It's not possible to work at that sort of capacity long term - it's a bit like expecting a car to run with no petrol in it because you'll eventually reach a petrol station. You need to build in extra capacity to the business so that one person being off doesn't have such a knock on effect. e.g. could you hire more part-time staff who would be open to covering holiday periods on a full-time basis? That way if one of them is off you only need to cover an extra 20 hours, rather than an additional 40 hours and they also have the capacity to help you out covering others' shifts without burning themselves out in the process.

Just a couple of ideas!

HarrietJones Tue 18-Oct-11 12:57:34

What about an office manager type post? To cover things like rotas, new staff accommodation leaving you as clinical management ?

higgle Tue 18-Oct-11 16:29:17

Are you in the care sector? If so your local care providers association could help, or if you are a member of one of the professional organisations, UKHCA or RNHA I'm sure they would give a listening ear.

Longer term anything in your sector which is good for professional networking ( In my area we have group forums for different kinds of care provision) will help you come up with coping strategies for areas of difficulty. If you are in the care sector please feel free to PM me for any tips I might be able to share.

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