I love this feature in the Globe & Mail where an entrepreneur states a business problem and three experts provide a point of view. I provided a point of view on a topic a while back about whether to hire a first employee or take on a business partner.
I read these article and think, what would I do? I’ll be writing about these on a regular basis going forward.
What’s up today?
Today’s problem is an entrepreneur who wants to take 6 months away from the business to care and enjoy her newborn. She handles cold-calling (her biggest task), external public relations, blogging and accounting. Her business partner handles product development, advertising, customer service, among other things.
Issue: Finding someone who will take on this role for 6 months with the skills and passion required. See full scenario and story here.
My thoughts center on two areas:
I note that each partner has a mixxed bag of duties with both doing elements of communications, marketing, product, admin etc. This no doubt evolved over time based on each other’s strengths and likes/dislikes. With one person leaving the business for a while, this may be a very good time to test out a more focused approach to the responsibilities of each partner.
The suggestion here would be to bunch all the marketing communications tasks with one partner: Advertising, public affairs and blogging. Also because the customer experience is so closely tied to the marketing message, include customer service under this person’s umbrella.
The other partner is the product and business development person (a.k.a. the cold caller). Typically, these two tasks do not go together. However there is some logic to this coupling because there’s is no better way to drive the right product configuration & development than to be talking every day with the market gaining real time feedback on how the product offering should evolve.
Who does what for the next six months?
With or without the suggestion to deploy more focused roles & responsibilities, there are two options to pursue for the next six months:
- Quite clearly the most qualified person to fill the shows of the temporarily departing partner is the remaining partner who could take over the product development and cold calling role. The role is crucial and best left in the hands of the next most familiar person. As a partner, one presumes she has the passion to take this on for the interim. This means that the open role is a marketing communications position that presumably would be easier to fill. Or ….
- The remaining partner takes on all the marketing communications tasks and the company finds a recent graduate from a college FASHION program who has some selling ability (outgoing, resourceful, willingness to make cold calls, etc.). But more importantly, because they are a fashion grad, they should have oodles of passion about the product line.
What would you do in this situation?
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Related links: Other Globe & Mail Challenges: