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Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #182
An awkward way to welcome a bunch of new readers
I finally got around to posting about my work building Autopest in public over on LinkedIn, and lots of people signed up to follow the journey.
If you’re one of those people, welcome to the newsletter! Also, I have some awkward logistics to explain…
I publish this newsletter twice per week. Tuesdays are the days I share stories about building Autopest (what you registered for). Those issues are called “Entrepreneur-ing In Public.” Fridays are for Entrepreneur Office Hours, which you’re reading now. This is where I link to my newest articles about entrepreneurship and answer questions about startups. It’s good stuff, but it’s not exactly what you registered for. That’ll come on Tuesday.
Also, to make things even more confusing, my featured articles this week isn’t even about startups. It’s about ChatGPT.
In other words, I’m really screwing everything up. But thanks for subscribing, and I hope you enjoy… umm… all the different journeys?
There’s a lot of talk right now about how ChatGPT is going to replace so many people, but, before it can do that, it has to figure out how to fix itself.
A successful round of fundraising can take your startup to the moon, but do you understand all the costs?
Office Hours Q&A
I have to fire someone, and I have never had to fire anyone before. Any advice? What’s the best way to let someone go, especially if they’ve been a part of your company for a long time?
I get this question a lot. I don’t love answering it because, if I’m being honest, I know the “right” way, but I’m not particularly good at executing it. Instead, I tend to hold onto people much longer than I should. That makes this issue one of those things where I have to add the caveat my dad always used to include anytime he scolded me for something I’d occasionally see him doing. He’d always tell me to: “do as I say, not as I do.” The same applies here.
When it comes to firing people, you’re not doing anyone any favors by dragging out the process, so be direct, be honest, and be quick.
To be clear, be sure you’re following all applicable laws and regulations in your area. (Standard caveat: Everything you read here is my opinion, and I’m not a lawyer. Please consult with a proper expert before taking any action.) Assuming you’ve done all that, and assuming you’ve adhered to whatever processes your company has in place to evaluate people’s work output (you do have processes in place, right?), don’t wait too long to fire someone. Get it done and move on.
In these scenarios, it’s best to think of yourself not as someone with a personal relationship to the employee being fired. Instead, you’re a physical manifestation of your company. That company needs to protect itself and all its other employees. The way it protects itself is by having you – a representative of the company – execute the unfortunate but necessary “fire employee” function.
Yes, it’s going to feel like crap. In fact, I hope it feels like crap. If it doesn’t, you might have some issues worth exploring. But remember that the short term feeling of crappiness is going to be significantly outweighed by the benefits (for everyone) of removing a problematic employee from your company.
Sorry you have to deal with it, but employee management is a big part of an entrepreneur’s job. Get used to it, or fire yourself and find another job.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!