When it gets to the point that you stop enjoying your work, is it time to pack up and sell your business? One SME owner shares the innovative strategy he used in a similar situation.
Everyone has a take on the secret to finding happiness in your job, and Jacob Ohlson of PowerNET IT Solutions and Cryo believes it involves shaking up your management.
Love is all you need
“The key to success is doing what you love doing,” says Jacob on the My Business Podcast.
“You can't work crazy hours a day and just do stuff all the time and love doing it if you don’t have a passion.
“I was just very lucky, in that perspective, to find something that I have a passion with and I stuck with it.”
Jacob says businesses have a happiness cycle, where you go back and forth between loving and not loving your job.
“I have a real true belief you’ve got to love what you do and you’ve got to go to work and enjoy it,” he says.
“I’ve done radical changes where I’ve got to a point where I come to work and I don’t like it any more. I’ve had to change management because I just haven’t been happy with who I’ve been with and working with.”
“I actually report to one of the divisional managers.”
Do you need to run the business when you own the business?
Jacob says that just because he is the founder, that doesn’t mean that he has to do everything.
“I focus in the part of the business that I just love, and that’s building the business,” he says.
Instead of the usual approach of leading a business from the top, Jacob has positioned himself as a worker within the business in the hands-on role he prefers, and holds a seat on the board to maintain a whole-of-company view.
"I’ve got seven divisional managers, I’ve got a general manager, I’ve got another director; I actually report to one of the divisional managers in the division that helps build the business and I love it. They report to GM and the GM reports to the board, which is where I’m on.
“I sit in this way that I love doing what I do. I don’t like doing the HR stuff any more. I don’t like dealing with managing people.”
Jacob believes that if a business owner can get to the point where they can just do what they love doing, everything falls into place.
“They’re … able to build relations and do the right thing, like grow it. That’s where I find my passion,” he says.
“You’ve got to find systems and processes in place. It’s really important to do that. Then it just gets stronger.”
Positivity for one, positivity for all
Jacob’s approach to success and happiness is paying off, as the feedback coming back has been mainly positive.
“We measure our staff's happiness [every] week and all these stats we’re getting now from everybody, from staff to our customers’ feedback,” he says.
“Every single job we do we get their feedback on (if they want to let us know), and we’re measuring every single one of those every week, and just sitting back and realising we’re getting all these improving figures.
“They’re all greens now, above what our expectations are or what our goals have been set for, and that’s just only been the last 12 months, but we’ve implemented all these new processes and systems.
“Happiness is as important as health.”