Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Man (Woman) Down

Four main people work at Micawber's. The two owners - Tom and Hans. Karen, who has been there since the beginning, and me. Plus, Tom's son Max helps out occasionally.

This makeup of people works pretty well. We have enough people to cover every shirt, plus times to work together.

Except every other January.

Karen spends the month of January in England every other year. Her husband is a professor of technical theater and brings a group of students to London for a month of study and fun. Karen goes along to participate and help chaperone. It's very cool.

But, this means we're down to three people (plus Max) at the store. This makes scheduling tricky. And it's rare that we get to work with anyone else.

This is a real challenge to small businesses everywhere.

Tom once said, "The biggest challenge to a small business is illness." (And vacation, I would add.) When someone calls in sick, it's not always easy to cover that shift.

This January, if one of us needs a day off, the other two have to work.

What this all comes down to is being flexible and willing to compromise.

Working with a slim staff has it's challenges, of course. But it also has it's benefits. We know each other very well. We can help each other out in a pinch. And we trust that everyone is committed to the store and doing a good job. Everyone has a little ownership in the endeavor.

And that is the biggest benefit to a small business.

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