How do I handle an employee who has resigned to become a competitor?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Dear Norm,
One of my salespeople recently resigned and started his own company competing with mine. I subsequently learned that he had been conducting his new business on the side while he was still working for me. What should I do?
Vennie

Dear Vennie,
You should do nothing. Keep building your company and forget about the guy. Don’t let this incident cause you to lose focus on what’s really important to your business. People waste a lot of time and energy worrying about ex-employees who become competitors. When employees leave to go into competition, I wish them well and send them a plant. It’s a cactus. This guy should be history as far as you’re concerned. If he’s an unethical person, he’ll eventually get his comeuppance.
Yours truly, Norm

Permalink  |  Posted in Competitors, Employees, Ethics

Should I handle my own sales?

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Dear Norm,
I am the owner of a small handbag company that is facing a tremendous amount of competition. My business was doing very well until about a year ago, when sales started to slip. I have received wonderful editorial credits in the top fashion publications and have had placement in the finest stores in the country with good sell-through. Last year I decided to take sales in-house, because I thought I could be the best spokesperson for my product. My primary goal is to build a solid brand. How can I get to the next level?
Nancy

Dear Nancy,
Handling your own sales is not how you build a brand. You need to develop a certain mystique as the person whose name is on the product. You can’t do that if you’re spending your time qualifying leads, making sales calls, getting doors slammed in your face. To build a brand, increase your sales, and grow the company, you need to turn responsibilities over to other people. That can be hard, I admit, particularly when you believe you can do the job better than anyone else. I was the first dispatcher in my delivery business, and I always thought I was the best at it. But if I were still dispatching, I’d have a very small company today.
Yours truly, Norm

Permalink  |  Posted in Business Success, Sales, Startups