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Stability strategy: When should we take the off-ramp down Rocky Rich Lane?

In my business, building cars, it’s all about how fast we can churn out a completed vehicle without sacrificing quality standards and customer satisfaction. Along with this we take into consideration our employees and contractors … are they happy? Are they secure? If not, how can we fix the problem?

Yesterday evening I was sitting having a chat to my hopefully-future-mother-in-law. She has a stable position in a well known IT company and was recently offered a position in real estate as an agent. “You can earn big money in property” proclaimed her relative. “We’re doing so well and growing” he proclaimed confidently.

What he never mentioned is that although his agents are earning the big bucks, they may be lacking a level of security. No basic salary. No expected income each month. No idea when the market may turn.

Mom, let’s call her that for now, is intrigued. She would love to earn some more money, but has a valid concern in that she will be transforming her sound income into a scary whirlpool of possible potential and justifies it like so: “I know agents who haven’t sold a home in six months!”.

What on earth should she do? How do we take a leap of faith and step on to the wobbly plain?

Going back to my business …

A sub-contractor sat down with me a mere 10 minutes ago (inspiration for this piece I guess) and asked me what he should do. The contractor who works for me has offered him the option to replace his weekly pay with a pay-per-job option instead.

I didn’t want to make a decision for this guy, but had to offer some kind of advice so he could make his decision bearing in mind I want him to remain happy and comfortable — ultimately for the good of my business and the work we do.

I said to him that he should weigh up his options in a basic logical way. Take a hypothetical scenario of six months. Measure his stable income over this period and then calculate how many vehicles we would complete in this time frame. After this, he should take the total (at least) and work out what he would charge on a per-vehicle basis. This would give him a pricing structure to compare to market.

I then asked him if he understood that being in this position would mean that faster turnaround times would be in his best interest too. Something the main contractor has clearly thought about. However, I do believe that this proposal to his man also has a ulterior motive — to take some of the financial burden off the back of the main contractor.

Now, I’m no business guru, but this comes down to one simple thing for me: comfortable stability vs potential big bucks.

Just like mom, this guy finds himself in this position and it’s left me wondering what I would do in both scenarios.

So I ask the readers of Thought Leader … what would the deciding factor be for you to take a leap off the comfy work couch into potential wealth?