Entrepreneurial Tit-bits: Rule-making

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Entrepreneurship is about converting ideas, from concept, into commercial successes. This involves several things such as generating the ideas, testing the ideas, raising finance, producing the goods and services, selling the goods and services, etc. One of such vital responsibilities of the entrepreneur is team-building. You will need to build a team or teams of people handling various tasks all aimed at achieving the desired objectives.  Consequently, (and even for a single person operation), developing guidelines and making rules that regulate behavior and actions is crucial to the success of the venture. With more people having to work together, sometimes at seemingly cross-purposes, the need to establish guidelines and rules becomes even more critical.

Rules may be made to regulate the behaviors of individuals and operations of groups in an enterprise. They can encompass any and all functions within, and sometimes, even outside the official work environment. Business rules might cover personal (or group) behaviours or actions vis-à-vis a functional responsibility. Rules can include:

What time work starts and ends and on which days

How many days/work days leave a particular staff or group is entitled to in a calendar year

What level of responsibility an individual or group can exercise

What are the conditions for bonuses, etc.

Rule-making involves the following:

  1. Be clear about your strategic objectives and have a plan for achieving them: Without knowing where you want to get to, setting the rules required to keep you on the path becomes a random walk in darkness. Knowing what you want to achieve, over various time-frames, is necessary for the effective development of appropriate rules of conduct.
  2. Understand external regulations: There are various external regulations that you may have to comply with regardless. Some are set by governmental agencies with the legal backing to do so and with authority to enforce compliance as well as penalize defaulters. Other regulations might be voluntary and may be set by such as trade associations. Understand these rules and ensure they are known by your people and you are all and always in compliance.
  3. Set your rules: For a small start-up operation, it might be unnecessary and even impossible to set all required rules from the get-go. However, you should start with all the rules you may require for your stage and a few more in anticipation of near-future possibilities. Whatever rules you make, your people should be informed and be educated about them.
  4. Reviews: Obviously, changes to existing rules might be necessary as a result of changes in the environment, situations and circumstances. An early warning and detection system is key to the timely and successful changes that may be required. Some changes are triggered from within the enterprise while others may be triggered by external developments. A keen eye and listening ears to the social, economic and political situation help.
  5. Enforcement: Discipline is necessary for long-run and sustainable success. It is not, therefore, sufficient to make rules and not ensure compliance and if necessary, enforcement. Over time, discipline and structure beats talent and luck. Rule-making and enforcement creates and seizes opportunities. It is about having the best of both worlds.

Creating a disciplined, even if fluid, enterprise is necessary if you are to stand a chance of success. Rulemaking, effectively done, develops discipline and enhances productivity.


Feature photo credit: Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash


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