An Entrepreneur’s Life: Solving Problems the Entire Day

A lot of people ask what I do the entire day.

The short answer is, “Long term wise, I set the direction of the company. Short term wise, I solve problems.”

Especially when it comes to running a business, you already have a system and capable group of people in place. But sometimes, sh*t happens and there’s nobody else to help. Hence, it drops to my lap as the General Manager to solve problems as they come.

But aren’t bosses supposed to relax, put their feet up in the chair and boss everyone around?” You may ask. “They do the least things but get the most credit.”

I don’t know which planet you’re from, but if your boss has his feet up on the desk, personally, I don’t think you should work for him anymore. Because my desk is full of work.

But I digress, my work is solving my business problem’s the entire day. I don’t micromanage but I come in to prevent problems from blowing up.

The broken door lock

For example, this week, I had a supervisor complain that the glass door lock was busted. And since there was only one glass door, there was no way to lock it save replacing the lock.

The problem was lock supply and person to repair.

My maintenance head said the supplier is in Blumentritt and his staff was all busy. So there was no one to repair and there was no one to get the brand new lock at Blumentritt.

This was a problem.

However, if we do not get the lock replaced, we had to assign one guy to sleep at the store overnight to guard our showcases and items. Or have the mall assign a night guard security which would cost us money.

But what can you do? A broken lock is a broken lock.

Most people would just give up. They’ll just shrug and pay the money. Worse case, they’ll assign a poor shmuck to sleep over.

But an entrepreneur’s job is to SOLVE PROBLEMS.

First, I asked our staff to take a photo of the lock and send it via Viber. So I know what type of lock to buy.

Second, I called the glass and aluminum supplier. For their info, I merely google’d them.

But I did not just googled them, for fast results, I called them anf followed up.

Then I vibered them the photo:

And then called them up again to followup regarding pickup and payment details.

Third, I asked my husband to aet aside one messenger to pick up the lock. Good thing, he had one ready who motored quickly.

The new lock arrived within the hour.

Afterwards, I gave my office staff the assignment of replacing the lock. My staff has an engineering degree but was a fresh graduate and eager to please.

Have you ever changed a glass lock?” I asked.

No ma’m,” he said.

Call Sir (Head of Maintenance) to ask for instructions. If you can’t do it, Youtube the instructions.” I instructed. “You’ll go to (mall’s name) later to replace the lock.”

“Hindi pwedeng hindi,” I continued. This means, failure was NOT an option.

If you cannot finish it, you will be the one to stay the night and guard thr store,” I warned. While I know that he can capably do it, I wanted to explain to him earlier on the consequences of not finishing the job.

Of course, the office staff was a bit nervous but we gave him encouragement. I told him we will celebrate if he can accomplish this task.

Fortunately, he was a good sport. This was a good sign.

Because if the staff only wants to do encoding or a limited set of roles, then the staff will not have a lot of job security. Why would you want an encoder when there are 300 applicants for the encoder role?

A good staff should be trained to be willing to take challenges, exceed their comfort zones and take on a more holistic role in the company. Because if he is flexible and willing to learn, then he is a good staff to have… in any company.

I also gave him ₱500 as baon.

“If you can’t do it,” I instructed, “Go and ask mall engineering or maintenance to help you with the lock. Go there humbly and ask for help.”

“But if they can’t do it either,” I continued, “Then go around the mall and see if there’s any contractors who are doing evening works at the other store and ask for their help. Give them the ₱500 as a ‘thank you’.”

“No problem Ma’m,” he assured me. “I will try my best first to see if I can finish it without spending the ₱500.”

And off he went.

At 10:30pm, he sent me this report via Messenger saying that the job was done.

True to his word, ge changed the lock himself and dis not spend the ₱500. The money, he returned to petty cash the next day.

So what did I as the entrepreneur do?

Basically I did nothing.

By myself, I do not know how to change a lock. I don’t even know how to use a screwdriver.

However, I know how to bring people of various expertise to work together to fulfill a specific task.

So in the afternoon, I merely:

  1. Found out which lock was broken so I can buy the correct model.
  2. Found a supplier who can supply us the lock.
  3. Get a messenger to pick up the lock and bring it to the office.
  4. Have our office staff go to the mall and replace the lock.
  5. If he could not replace the lock, find someone in the mall to help him replace the lock. Failure was not an option unless he wanted to sleep over.
  6. After doing a good job, reward him properly. Celebrate his wins.

That’s just one of the few small problems I solved that entire day.

I also took care of a staff complaint, negotiated for a cheaper lease and tried to get transferred to another better slot. I also had to schedule interviews for an open role that’s critical to the company.

When I was corporate, I only had to care about myself and my own tasks which grew repetitive after awhile. I never had to worry about the mundane things because the company already paid someone else to do it.

But an entrepreneur’s life is even more exciting and unpredictable. Everything is doable but comes with at a price — Either you pay it now or pay for it later. But somehow, someone has to pay.

So do you still want to be an entrepreneur? 🙂

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