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November 16, 2010 04:57 PM

Categories: Human Resources

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Joined: 12/10/2003

I work for and own shares in a small firm.  After about a 7 year distracted stint the president has taken on a day to day role.  During that 7 years I grew the company from $29,000 in sales to $169,000 with myself and one or two other employees. 

We have been at odds over just about every choice I have made this year.  Even after the year saw sales of over $400,000 he is questioning my operational choices.

I turned over part of my role, sales and marketing, to a person that he was friends with.  This person on paper has the right skills but in practice cannot do the job.  This is also causing a lot of stress on our relationship.

I would like to find a way for him and myself to have someone from outside look at what we are doing. 

Help us from self-destruction.  

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November 16, 2010 5:26 PM

Are you talking about one product going from $29K -> $169K in sales?

Or are you talking about total company revenues?

November 16, 2010 8:47 PM

There are plenty of small business HR consultants (do a search in your area) that you can turn to certainly for help on the sales and marketing person, but I don't believe that is going to solve your problem from your brief discussion about it.

I would be more concerned about the former president being at odds with you over every choice you make. I've seen a lot of owners/presidents/CEOs try to step down after years of running a company and the bottom line is it's incredibly difficult to do. They feel as if they are still in charge even though they aren'T. They just can't let go and so begin questioning decisions that are made and even undermining operations in some cases. Mark my word, if you don't address that issue first, you will continue to have that be a thorn in the side of the growth of your company.

November 17, 2010 8:55 AM

@Rich_CEO total company revenues.

Total startup.

First year of operation, 2002, the president bought a product, in January, that had been on the market for about 10 years. That product had revenue around $20,000. We used that as a base to build from. I was brought in June of tht year to write code, it was my first programming job, coming from a sales and marketing managment background (retail 65% and B2B 35%).

In August of that year the presidents family business, that the president was a 25% stockholder in, was in trouble and by November of 2002 he was living in another state 3-4 days a week while he spent 1 work day with us (2 days at times) per week. Over the next 7 years he left me in charge; check book, marketing, development and everything else.

I need to find a firm that can look at our operation in Minnesota (Minneapolis area).

I would like to stay as anonymous as possible.

After a lunch with the boss I am now affraid that the new marketing person has the ear of the president more than I do.

During that lunch I was told that I do not have the skills to lead the company, while I might not, it was how it was presented that has me concerned.

The president, I think, is blind to his areas of weakness that include: Company focus, General leadership, HR management.

Because he has invested all but $35,000 of the real cash (about $650,000) all of the other shareholders (all others total 23.5% of shares) are afraid to approach him.

The boss suggested that I get 'Training' or a 'Mentor' and I think that is a good idea, but for both of us. So to that end any direction would be helpful.

November 17, 2010 9:52 AM

It sounds like you need a strategy firm to look things over and come up with a new plan.

All businesses make mistakes. Usually they can be fixed with the proper help.

I run a software development firm and I know a strategy firm that can help.

You need to know your business and focus on that.

Answers Post December 3, 2010 3:20 PM

First, I feel your pain. Second, find out whether this relationship is doomed. You want to be part of his team; does he see you as a continuing player? If yes, what are his (clearly enumerated) expectations and do those match your aspirations? If no, craft the best possible Separation Agreement and move on. Nothing in the business world is more painful than "death by a thousand cuts". Many of the toughest execs I've worked with are incapable of directly firing someone. They are much more comfortable driving them out in the most humiliating and abrasive manner imaginable. If both of you want to make this work, find a trusted mentor capable of aligning the team (including the Marketing exec. ). Good luck.

Gerry McLaughlin

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