Looking to help improve a family members business

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by tjsmar, May 12, 2013.

  1. tjsmar

    tjsmar
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    So for starters I am a college student right now working for my mechanical engineering degree. I was offered a summer internship with my girlfriends grandfathers company. He owns a family welding business and currently business has taken off. However the number of in house employees is still about the same. Right now they went from having 1 job site to manage, to two job sites about 500 miles apart. Her grandpa is in the furthest job site, and the rest of his crew is at the second. He has worked his whole life and is nearing the age that he needs to look at retirement. With my internship I would like to help bring his company up to date with technology and help them as much as i can. He is not exactly familiar with technology, and his office manager isn't either. They use computers for banking and everything, but I feel it could go further. I think he would feel comfortable working from his home again if he could see everything going on with the businesses. I was thinking of setting up the managers at each job site with maybe a laptop or tablet, and have them update everything done that day and have it sent to the company where he could see it. Also the addition of Skype so if they needed him to see something he could see it. However, I am not sure how to implement everything and what else I could help bring to the company. After college I want to start my own company so this would be an amazing experience if done successfully. I talked to my girlfriend and she said if I could compile some ideas, he would more than happily listen and see what we could do. So, does anyone else have any other ideas to bring the company further into the 21st century?
     
  2. magician661

    magician661
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    Hi tjsmar,Welcome to Business Advice Forum.Thanks for joining BAF.
    If your managers are not familiar with the technologies than first thing you should do to try to organize some training sessions where they can get familiar to technology.You can create a website of your business with every detail about your business and with fees structure.This will extend your business nation or worldwide even.
     
  3. jeff123

    jeff123
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    Yes it is very important to fist impart proper training to managers, evaluating their performances, feedback, etc... this is of course a wonderful initiative you would be taking to improve administration of the company... Its also very important to convince people when you bring such change in an organization... So be sure how you are going to convince them...
     
  4. Joseph.Shivell

    Joseph.Shivell
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    I would not start with training them how to use the new technology, when they haven't even decided to use it yet. Jeff123 has the right idea, though. You need to be able to tell them how this will benefit the company in a way they can understand. Show them how this would keep the company running after they are gone. Ease them into it, instead of dropping it on them all at once, and they would probably be more likely to accept it.
     
  5. ProfitClinic

    ProfitClinic
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    You need to create a simple strategy for selling them on the benefits. You need to understand the Secret Language of Prospects.

    It's a language we all speak — but we seem to only speak it when we're the prospect! When we're the seller,we fail to recognize it.

    This is it — it's not rocket science:

    Note those four criteria

    1. SAFER — there has to be little or no perceived risk involved for your GF's grandfather and his site managers, etc. That includes the cost, the learning curve (no-one wants to make a fool of themselves, right?) or messing things up.

    2. EASIER — you need to demonstrate, in practical, self-evident ways, that it will be less painful or inconvenient to actually make this work than to keep doing what they're already doing — and which is working for them at present.

    3. BETTER — the same applies to this criterion. It has to save time, effort and money, or at least not cost any more. There has to be an clearly evident Return On Investment.

    4. SMARTER — the benefits have to far outweigh the conditions that have to be met to experience them! (That includes learning new skills.)

    Here’s how I’d do it

    1. I'd prepare some simple, easy-to-do-right examples of the main advantages this new approach will deliver. Practice them so that they look easy.

    2. I'd set up a Google+ Hangout* with Grandpa — just him, not the others. And schedule it for when nobody else will be around (safer, remember? No risk of losing face!). Tell him what it does, then show him on-screen (including sharing desktops and transmitting files), then walk him slooowly through how to do it — this is really important, as you'll soon see.) Be sure he can do it correctly.

    3. Next, talk about it all. Reinfirce the benefits, and how easy it is to do. Make sure he understand the whole range of those benefits, including the improvements in personal control, the savings in cost, time and distance, and how staff from both sites can use Google+ Hangouts to communicate better.

    4. Resolve any concerns he may have. Answer his questions. Go back over things. Remember — if he's concerned or doubting or resisting, YOU haven't yet made it safer, easier, better or smarter for him to do what you want than to not do it! Keep on explaining, demonstrating, practising with him until he agrees — or gives up!

    5. Once he feels comfortable and even confident with everything, have him organise a Google+ Hangout for his key management team members. Have him introduce you, then YOU explain everything and demonstrate the technology.

    6. Then have Grandpa demonstrate how easy it is! This will reduce any likelihood of his people resisting. After all, if HE can do it after one short session, why can't they?

    Remember — you need HIM to become the advocate for all this, NOT you. They'll likely see you as an interloper and a threat to their own positions.

    * Why Google+ Hangouts and not Skype? — simple. No special software required, no special skills, and G+ Hangouts can be used to share desktops, etc at no cost (Skype now charges for these extra functions). And the call is automatically recorded by Youtube! So there's a video/audio record that no-one can argue with.

    This approach will ease everyone through a simple process that sells each point of contact on the NEXT point of contact.
     
  6. himanshiets02

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    first off all u should conduct a seminar for all the mangers so that they would come to know about the latest technology and development then how they can improve their skill , performances etc i think it really work
     
  7. ProfitClinic

    ProfitClinic
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    That would actually be premature and risky.

    The key is to have them experience the benefits without realising it's happening.

    And having the owner demonstrate how easy it is in that first call leaves them a lot less "wriggle room"… they're less likely to go against the boss!

    You have to get the top tier of management on board first, then THEY sell the benefits to those down the line. :)
     
  8. ABM House

    ABM House
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    I personally believe it is better to hire trained staff than non-trained staff and then you train him, it is bit of headache. Now regarding your grandpa company, you people can make policies by hiring new employees that tare familiar of technology!
     
  9. ProfitClinic

    ProfitClinic
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    Ever heard the definition of business as "relationships for profit?" It's the best definition of business I've ever come across.

    Your suggested approach flies directly in the face of that concept.

    In small businesses like the one we're talking about, relationships are vitally important. These are people who know the business inside out and are loyal to the owners. Many may have been working in the business for many years — in some cases, for all of their working lives.

    We're not talking rocket science in terms of learning new technology here. It's more likely to be a case of resisting the idea of change because it's unfamiliar, which is often threatening to many people.

    If you were to hire new staff every time there's a change in technology or some other methodology, you'd have to soon start letting those older employees go.

    Before long you'd have almost no-one left who knows the business, and no-one would be loyal to the owner because the owner isn't loyal to them!

    That, my friend, is how you sink a successful business faster and surer than almost any other way.

    Here's what the late Peter Drucker, acclaimed as "the most outstanding business thinker of our time", had to say relative to this:

    "A man should never be appointed into a managerial position if his vision focuses on people's weaknesses rather than on their strengths."
    The Practice of Management (1954) p.157

    "A manager sets objectives - A manager organizes - A manager motivates and communicates - A manager, by establishing yardsticks, measures - A manager develops people."
    The Practice of Management (1954) p.344

    A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant - and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates.
    Managing for the Future: The 1990's and Beyond (1992) p. 139​

    Sounds to me like you may still have some learning to do about business, management and people. :|

    John
     
    #9 ProfitClinic, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  10. afia_kamran

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    I think your idea is great and it will boost not only the business but also improve the company's hierarchy and will be easy for everyone to manage.
     

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