Some start ups emerge from the public sector, some from the dole and many more these days, given the parlous state of British manufacturing, from the private sector.
Agnes is one such start up who wants to take hold of the Cupcake market in Leicester by the scruff of the neck and make it squeal till it recognises there is only one way of making and selling cupcakes: her way.
Whilst she has rapidly grown the business due to the marketplace’s infatuation with all things cupcake and employed several new staff, she has imported the staff development culture from her previous private sector employer when it comes to working with them: “don’t kiss what you can kick”.
Her new staff have provided her with a whole range of arses to kick, whip or boot into shape which she does with enthusiasm. She’s already installed a CCTV camera in the office toilet allegedly to check on staffs comfort break habits but more than likely to check on the state of their arses. She is convinced the only good staff arse is one bent over the production line, adhering to production targets and keeping their other orifice – their mouth – well and truly shut.
Now, Agnes’ approach may well have worked wonders in the likes of British Leyland, the British mining industry, the British steel industry and the rest of the UK’s successful manufacturing past.
But unhappily for her, it won’t work in the disrespectful world of the start up.
New staff don’t want to be viewed as arses. They want to be involved in the business action and to buy into her methods through encouragement, excitement and a sense of thrill – not the chill that comes with being viewed as a rear end commodity which has two potential states of being kicked or kissed.
Employing new staff in a new start is potentially the best and worst of all possible worlds. It’s the thrill of the first date, of selling the new product or service, of sharing the promise as well as the load: but equally the fear of not being quite good enough, of not meeting the others needs and of only providing a stop gap until something better comes along.
But in creating her business family, Agnes will soon have to stop regarding her family members as troublesome arses and more like prospective stakeholders in her long term future: because when the cupcake market implodes, she will need all the help she can get to ensure her business doesn’t go down the pan with it.