Micro-SMEs and Human Resources. A different outlook

Madrid, Spain

[dropcap style=»default, circle, box, book»]I[/dropcap]had already mentioned in my welcome post that I am firm believer in Micro-SMEs (by that I mean those tiny companies that are also called things like freelancers / or two self-employed friends or partners that join forces to start up a business that holds firm to the ideal of being small, even its ideas are anything bad).  [pullquote align=»left»]I am a staunch believer in MicroSMEs.[/pullquote]

In the English-speaking world these are more commonplace, though the economic downturn in Spain has become a breeding ground for them. Why do I believe in them? Well, for three reasons:

▪   They allow for entrepreneurs and innovators to do things “their way”.

▪   The structure is so flexible that it allows for them to adapt over time. When a medium sized company is acquired, the situation it is in may be critical. It does not have the clout to compete on a major scale at an international level, yet neither does it enjoy the benefits of the cost-efficient operation of a MicroSME.

▪   For some people, it can be a mean of creating your own position in the field you want to work in.

The crux of the matter is how to manage human resources in a MicroSME. Below I have made a list of some of what I consider to be the most salient points when discussing MicroSMEs:

  • The MicroSME must not be set up with the idea of a limited capacity. The ground staff may be few but the network of experts and collaborators can be a powerful tool. This is key to the project’s success. You cannot turn up at the client’s offices and tell them “I will only do this part, you will have find someone else to do the rest”.teletrabajo1
  • A MicroSME is a chance to operate a genuine policy of professional harmony. In a MicroSME, everyone works from home. When a person can manage their time, they perform better. Of course, this only works when we are dealing with responsible people.
  • Work must be geared towards targets, not hours worked. It has become a widely held idea in many Spanish companies that if you do not spend endless hours at work; you are of no use to the company. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good worker meets targets within the aims set out in terms of quality, price and delivery time, and also provides new ideas. If you can do all that in two hours, well, that just great, and if you do it whilst putting the kids to bed, well, words fail me.Motivation must come as standard.
  • A clear way of motivating the workforce is thinking that each employee has a niche and can see their worth to the company. Making them feel the effort they put in will be rewarded. Above all, an entrepreneur must continually have this in mind.
  • What must project leaders or those in key positions be like?[pullquote align=»left»]A boss is a general cost. They exist to aid the production process but also commercial aspects.[/pullquote]▪   Therefore, these must be responsible, trustworthy, committed, they must try to solve problems without putting a strain on resources or draining the CEO’s patience. Yet we must not lose sight of the fact that a boss is in no way someone who must give orders simply because it is part of their job, but because they have to be seen to be in control. I have met many bosses who had this ethos in my time. As far as I understand it, a boss is a general cost in place to facilitate the productive process and make the commercial aspects a success. They must act as facilitators and provide the strategic lines to be followed as well as general criteria. However, they have to know how to leave things be, to delegate and to offer support when needed. Bosses or entrepreneurs must assist operations in the production process, though without bothering it. Of course, in a MicroSME, a boss has to get their hands dirty just as much as the rest of us.

This is the way I try to do things. A lot of people who know me tell me they do not understand how I find time to fit in so many things (I run projects, draft reports, teach courses, write, run and still have time for a cheeky beer…) and I always give the same explanation: “when I worked for somebody else I wasted a third of my time struggling with people above me and below me just to be able to get my work down”. Yet this amount of time represented around 50-60% of my energy. I have been self-employed since 2004 and now my energy is used for more creative, instructive and profitable aspects, that, at the same time, I enjoy.

       And now then, it is over to you. Why not take the plunge and launch a MicroSME? If you have done, what problems did you have when setting up?

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