My Boss' Current Habits Get In The Way Of Starting My Own Business

by Philip Ofori Boateng
(Kumasi, Ghana)

I work with a company that distributes commodities to retailers. The work environment is such that we can rely on no company policies or systems.
boss bad habit to dump work on me
Consequently, the work is difficult. It is not structured. There are no proper systems in place.

To get directions for anything, you have to contact the owner. You cannot use your own initiative for the work that you do. We close late.

I really want to start my own business.

I have already written a book that I want print-on-demand companies to publish for me.

What else can I do?

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Jan 15, 2011
Be Your Boss' Best Ally or Fire Your Boss!
by: Arturo F Munoz

Philip, your situation is not uncommon. The heart of an established business is its operations process. If a business runs its operations inefficiently, then it must either absorb greater costs than its most efficient competitor or close down its doors and die.

How is your employer absorbing these costs of inefficiency? If you're closing late because there are no optimal systems in place and you can't take initiative within agreed bounds, because most decisions depend on your boss, then clearly YOU are absorbing the costs and not just your employer.

You're working for FREE.

Think of the long-term consequences if your employer sinks, after failing to deal with a leaky ship. You will be both disgruntled and also out of work.

Is a regular paycheck worth that much risk to you?

You have 2 options. They're not necessarily mutually exclusive. But you will have to make tough choices.

First, can you recommend ONE improvement in the way that work is done at your place? Figure out 1 way to reduce cost or improve revenue, and tell your boss that you wish to try out this idea for his benefit and with his approval.

Start by asking yourself "What would I change about how this business works if a) the owner made a gift of it to me and b) I had only 1 week to make ONE change that could turn my company around?" Then from that insight come up with the one idea that might be acceptable to your boss.

Then visit with your boss and humbly offer your idea, proposing to let you try it. Look for a way to make this proposal relate to something measurable. This way you can say that you can improve something by 5%, 10%, 20% or whatever.

Second, whether or not your boss agrees with your proposal, be ready to walk into his office while the proposal is fresh in his mind and tell him that you're going to start working only the number of hours that the two of you agreed upon when he first hired you.

The goal here is to earn your boss' respect as a self-starter while simultaneously asserting yourself as an independent resource.

This is the hard part. Work no more than 40 hours per week for your boss. Never give your employer more than you're paid to deliver, unless you have it in writing or through a reliable verbal agreement (witnesses) that delivering more will produce a specific reward for you in a specific amount of time.

If you're working for an employer who wants more than what he pays you to do and he threatens to fire you if you don't give more, then fire your boss. Walk away fast. See if an efficient competitor will have you and your idea. You're working for a crook otherwise, and you will NEVER get anywhere with this person.

Block a precise chunk of time to work on your business daily. It can be as little as 1 hour but best 2 hours, Monday through Friday and 10 hours on Saturday. Develop a personal discipline.

With a book to publish, start by learning how to use a Wordpress blog and how to market your own work online.

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