Working in the biz...not on..

Well I have found myself working in the biz rather than on the biz. I am completely overwhelmed and need some help. Funny, cuz I am sure if someone posted this same thing I would have some great plan for them to execute but for some reason I am finding it hard to execute and come up with a plan for myself. Looking back I am not even sure how I got into this situation.

We have two stores. I do the paperwork for both stores, payroll, taxes, marketing blah blah blah. I work days at store number 2 and do all the prep. In addition I work 4 nights. I am in overload, I think what has happened is little by little in order to save labor I have taken on everyone else’s job. If someone quit I picked up the shift. My night manager went from 6 days to four so she could have some evenings off with boyfriend. Instead of telling her no and quitting I picked up her shifts because the fear of having to take on that whole position. Pretty much the same deal at the other store but husband takes care of that.

If someone was suppose to do something I found it easier to do it myself thus taking on their job. No one is accountable for their job…we have lists and more lists but if I am not there to check out things just don’t get done.

The problem is my lack of delegating but how do I go back to delegating some of the work load without having to give everyone a raise.

I am the basketball player on the court holding the ball and trying to win the game…alone. I am exhausted and upset I allowed this to happen.

One of the questions is do I just start hiring people? Do I re train the ones I have then hire? I have a skeleton crew so if someone isn’t on board I again will be taking on more of a load when I really don’t have ANY room to do so.

Thanks for letting me barf.



It sounds to me like you know exactly what needs to be done.

I would add that if you find a key person and pay them to do some of these things and use that time to focus “on” the business as you correctly put it, you will find that the results will allow you to afford to pay that person what it takes.

Some other ideas:

  1. Go back to your manager and explain that you need them to go back to a five day schedule.

  2. Carve out 2 or 3 or 4 hours per week and spend it ONLY on growing your business. Contact lodging properties, large companies, schools, clubs. Look at your advertising/marketing activities, Make a list of everything you are doing and CUT 25% of it and spend that same money doing something new for marketing.

  3. Contact ADP or Heartland or Intuit and turn over the payroll work to them. I pay a little over 1K per year for them to handle the payroll work. That is an easy item to carve out at a reasonable price.

  4. Take yourself off the “line” for one shift per week. The cost of paying a cook to cover that shift is cheap compared to what you can accomplish using those hours to focus on the business. For the first month, use the shift to go through your business piece by piece to look for cost savings… portion control training, cost analysis on buying, shopping your insurance, equipment maintanance… these things will more than pay for the cook and will save money going forward.

“One of the questions is do I just start hiring people? Do I re train the ones I have then hire? I have a skeleton crew so if someone isn’t on board I again will be taking on more of a load when I really don’t have ANY room to do so.”

If I was coaching your team the first thing I would do would be to draft more players. As soon as you have more employees than you need it becomes much easier to demand more from your employees. They will be fighting to get their hours and working harder to show you they deserve them. if someone doesn’t come around and do the job you expect them to do, no problem. You have someone else training wanting more hours who is ready to step in. Step away for a little, a week(haha) or a day, or at least a few hours and make a plan. In this economy there are some great people needing jobs!

I’ve very rarely read a post from Bodega that I could find fault with. Kris, you’re a great cheerleader for the others on this board and by your comments it appears you know what needs to be done in your own case as well. Don’t let this game beat you! Play it smarter.


I think we need to hold our employees accountable for their actions. Everyone can be replaced! Hire 3 people and tell them you will be keeping one of them after a week or two of observation. Make an example of someone if you have to, just do it repectfully. If they aren’t cutting it, cut them.

As for your manager, tell her it is a 5 night a week gig. Start grooming existing employees for management. Some of the best doers aren’t the best managers- and the opposite is true also.

I know it’s hard to take your own advice, I should take my own!

Good luck girl!

Kris, I’ve been in your situation for the past 3 months. As you know, the solution is HTR: hiring, training, and retention. Having stated that, it isn’t easy. Delegate, evaluate, and execute. Good luck, I know you’ll work through this.

Well I appreciate the encouragement. I am going to jot down everyone’s thoughts and put a plan INTO PRACTICE. That seems to be the key. I also have to realize it will take time. I did get a good interview today and one coming tomorrow so that is good.

You guys are awesome…as always…thanks.

What are the things one would not tink of that would sneak up on him and bite him in the butt (him used generically)?

You’re not delegating because you don’t trust your staff. With your experience level, your lack of confidence is probably justified. If staff, and especially leadership cannot follow lists, the list isn’t the problem.

You’re a decent person (from this forum anyway) so you’re also probably very loyal and struggle with the idea of changing horses.

Time to hire (lots of talent out there) and find that one or two persons who are eager, grateful, and ready to help.

In two months you’ll be back where you want to be, even if your income doesn’t improve significantly.

It worked for me. :smiley: