By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Many small business owners, including TAS owners, use the simple yet effective management style of “management by walking around.” They manage what they see. However, to be effective the manager must be physically present. If the manager can’t be around on a regular basis, the results are often disastrous, producing either micromanagement or mismanagement that can thwart growth, hamper quality, and limit profitability.
Most TAS owners work hard to grow their business. Regardless of their management style, this growth is generally workable when it occurs under the same roof. However, problems can crop up when a single location TAS adds a second site or acquires a geographically removed competitor.
Management by walking around works great for an active owner in one location, but not two or more. It’s impossible to successfully use management by walking around for multiple sites. Only the location where the manager is present will be “managed,” with other locations left to themselves. This is especially true for service businesses such as answering services.
The solution is simple, albeit difficult. Quite simply a change in management style is required. Either the owner must adapt to a new way of doing things or find someone else who can – and then give him or her space to do the job. However, this often is uncomfortable for an entrepreneur used to putting his or her mark on everything that happens and making all the decisions. Such is the challenge of growing a business!
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his book How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.