Three Small Business Scenarios: What’s The Right Way To React?


How good do you think your business instincts are?

Below are three scenarios that any small business owner might find themselves experiencing. What would you do?

SCENARIO ONE: The Argument

Two employees are arguing. One says that they agreed on a timescale verbally. The other says that they didn’t agree a timescale for that specific project. You’ve been asked to arbitrate and rule who is correct.

Do you:

  1. Shout at both of them for bothering you with such a minor problem,
  2. Insist they set a new timescale and deadline and improve their communication in future.
  3. Tell them to figure it out for themselves

The Correct Answer Is: B

Always try and focus on rectifying the argument, rather than arguing about the argument itself. Yes, they’ve both been difficult and have caused a problem, but the key point now is to move forward.

SCENARIO TWO: The Missed Calls

A new member of staff is beginning their job, which involves being responsible for office email and manning the office phones. By the Wednesday of the first week, you realize you’re not getting as many calls or email requests passed through to you to deal with. You speak to the new member of staff and they explain they have held a lot of calls back, so as not to bother you.

Do you:

  1. Explain that you should be the judge of whether a call is necessary and while you appreciate their efforts, you need to know who is trying to get in touch with you
  2. Fire them on the spot; they’re clearly not up to the job
  3. Keep them in your business but remove the responsibility of dealing with inquiries from their remit.

The Correct Answer Is: A

When you have a new employee, they’re still going to be learning the ropes. In this scenario, it’s fine to explain the situation again, outline your expectations, and see if they improve. If they continue to not pass messages through — or this situation happens with a more experienced member of staff — then you might want to consider option C.

SCENARIO THREE: The Rude Customer Complaint

A customer makes a complaint about a member of your staff. The customer is rude, angry, and aggressive; you don’t like them and think they are overreacting. You deal with them by offering compensation, but what do you say to the member of staff they targeted?

Do you:

  1. Not raise it with the member of the staff. The customer was clearly unreasonable and you don’t want to bring them down.
  2. Shout at the member of staff; after all, this can serve as a warning just in case they think about making a mistake in the future.
  3. Speak to the member of staff, explain you don’t think they did anything wrong, but just to be careful in future.

The Correct Answer Is: C

While you don’t have to give your employee a dressing down for something that is evidently not their fault, it is worth speaking to them about the issue. Make it clear you’re on their side, but also that if a situation with a customer is in danger of escalating in future, they should contact someone about it before it goes too far.

Hopefully, your business instincts are right on the money and you breezed through! If not, keep in mind these scenarios and perhaps evaluate your responses to certain stressful business situations — your employees and business will benefit.


About Author

Ben is a follower of Christ, a rabid computer geek, small business owner, and breaker of things. He is married way above his station in life and has three wonderful children who have made driving him insane their mission in life.

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