Thursday, December 15, 2011

Owners — Are you in or out?

Randy's Take

Randy Newhard
Are you in or out? 

It’s a tough question to ask and honestly answer. I am both — in and out. I would think your answer depends on how long you have been in business. For me, it almost depends on the day, week or month — but mostly the week. I have been running my own business for 32 years. Sometimes I want out. Ok honestly, I want out most of the time. I have worked the 80-100 hour weeks for decades. Guess I am not smart enough, thinking I should have been done a while ago. Or am I?

Having this child (the business) and having over 200 grandkids (employees) and all their siblings — probably over a 1,000 — it’s very hard to let go. It sure is like parenting, you constantly have to teach, train, say no and also pat them on the back.  Grandkids (your employees ) need to know they are loved and cared for. That's where you have to be in. This caring for your child (company) really comes from the top.

You can hire the best management team in the world and they can be the best managers, but bottom line is: Employees want to know you care about them. Yes, money is in the top three things employees care about, but number one is that they want to be involved in the growth of the business and want to know what is going on. 

Secondly, they want to know their boss cares about them. Their bosses need to be trained in order to offer care and counseling. Be firm with consequences if they don't do their job. Sometimes, we’re not so good at this. It is a family business and family atmosphere, sometimes that can get in the way. But we are working on it.

While writing this blog entry, Newhard is definitely "out." Here's his photo
of a sunset while enjoying a meal with his family while vacationing in Maui.

I know I will probably never be out completely, as my exit strategy is my daughter, and working side by side with her has been a wonderful experience. Heck, she's taught this old man a lot of new tricks. She has been with our company for 15 years. Yep, right out of high school. Starting with answering the phones, to marketing, office manager, developing our databases and internal structures and processes, to corporate director-steering the ship, and now as president of the company, how can I be out completely? We make a great team!

I have the ultimate luxury, from wanting to be out — being out golfing with friends and clients, entertaining clients and taking off an extra day of the week to be with wife and my biological grandkids — Gabe and Olivia. And then being in — being at work, interacting with the other grandkids (employees), saying thanks and keeping an eye on the financials.

So are you in or out? Can you afford to be out? By afford I mean, how can you walk away from your child and the grandkids after 32 years?  I’m in... Well maybe not for now, I am out. I am in Maui celebrating my wife’s birthday, with my daughter, fiancé and our real grandkids. Aloha!

Randy Newhard, CEO
New Way Landscape & Tree Services
2nd Generation Local Family Owned Business
Multi Local & State Landscape Beautification Award Winner


Scott Neave said...

Well said, Randy. We are a second generation company as well and have many of the same challenges.


Tom Heaviland said...

Nice job Randy. You have paid your dues and its nice to see the successful transition to your daughter. Try not to hit anybody on the the golf course!!

Cal De Knikker said...

I just celebrated 20 years in the Landscape/maintenance business. I rarely work past noon or on Fridays(unless we are doing a landscape job), keep it small and manageable, never get too greedy and materialistic, keep the stress to a minimum. My reward is two Eagle Scouts, tons of Scouting memories, a modest home and a lovely wife.