Success is not a solo sport 

I like to think that I work hard but nothing that I have achieved has ever been done alone. 

Both Hudson Accountants and now Minerva Accountants owe a lot to my fabulous teams. When starting out I learned so much from other accountants and coaches who generously shared their ideas and experience.  

I have used a fabulous business coach to help me clarify those ideas and apply them to my own business. And to hold me accountable for getting things done! 

I’m pretty sure that my books wouldn’t have won the awards they did without the skill of my publisher gently helping me to share my expertise in my own words but also in a form that is easy for you to read. 

As a parent I was fortunate that my children had a wonderful father and, although I chose the traditional female role of primary carer, he did a lot to support me. 

I’m currently doing Couch to 5k for the umpteenth time to recover my running fitness after my operation earlier this year. It’s the first time that I’ve done it with a group of people and it has been great for keeping me motivated on rainy evenings. 

To everybody who has helped me along the way, a big thank you.  

But what can I do for you? I provide individual and group coaching sessions which have helped clients to develop award winning businesses themselves. And, for those just starting out we have free webinars each month.  

Recruiting and retaining your team

There is a skills shortage in most industries at the moment, so it is more important than ever to look after your team. 

Ways that you can help your people to enjoy working with you 

  • Salary – this is an obvious one, but people rarely leave just for salary 
  • Flexible working – what hours would suit them? Do they really have to work full time office hours? 
  • Remote or hybrid working – where would they like to work? With modern technology do they have to travel to a single location to do their work?  
  • Workplace – if your team do come into a central workplace how can you make it nicer? 
  • Listen – do your team feel able to talk to you? Do you operate annual (or more frequent) appraisals? 
  • Training – this can be a great way to invest in your team to do their current job better or even to take on more responsibility 
  • Promotion – can you offer career progression for your team? It’s not always possible in small businesses but worth trying to expand their roles if possible 
  • Gifts – you can give your staff small gifts and experiences (but not cash or similar vouchers) for up to £50 six times per year and claim the tax on these. (Do check the full details of what you can and can’t provide) 
  • Entertaining – you can provide entertaining of up to £150pa as a business expense but any more than this and you pay tax on the full amount. 

Any other ways that you look after your team? 

How to get the most out of your team 

Personality profiling is often criticised as it is not an exact science. However, as long as you understand the limitations, it can be very helpful. 

We use DiSC profiling but there are other systems based around colours or you could use Myers-Briggs.  

This helps us to understand our preferred communication style and also how our colleagues and clients like to communicate. For instance, my brief bullet points are probably great for somebody who likes to get straight to the point but there are other personality types that would prefer something longer with more descriptions and examples. 

So here’s an example of how we use it in practice: 

In my previous practice we had an art gallery as a client. The owner was a business person who liked direct communication (like me). However many of their artists joined us and preferred a gentler style. I had to adapt my communications and use a more verbose style to get my message across. It is up to us to speak to clients in plain English and also in a way that they can understand. 

On the other hand we had another wonderful client who was even more direct than me which intimidated one of our junior staff. Fortunately I was able to explain that this was just the client’s usual style and not a criticism of the work and their professional relationship flourished from there. 

When a staff member leaves

If you’re fortunate to have a brilliant team it can be quite hard when a member of staff leaves. 

Assuming that they’re leaving for the right reasons and that you’ve already wished them well, what can you do for your own business?

Treat this as an opportunity to reorganise your own business. 

  • Don’t just recycle the original job ad but draw up the organisation chart that you need for the next three years based on necessary skills/tasks, not people.
  • Add in the names of your existing team and note any additional training needs they may have for additional skills etc. in their new/enhanced roles.
  • Draw up job descriptions for any gaps that can’t be filled by your existing team. This may mean that you now have two part time roles requiring completely different skillsets.

Recruiting isn’t always straightforward.

I’ve had a scenario when I was wasn’t able to recruit exactly the right replacement so what did we do?

We took on somebody with less experience who would grow into the role and dropped all of our D clients immediately to reduce the workload. (see ‘D is for Dross’ on how to do this D is for dross – Hudson Business Advice)

The new recruit flourished and far exceeded expectations. The salary saving almost offset the lost profit on clients who weren’t well suited to our practice. As our newbie gained experience we ended up with a streamlined business even better than before.