Business Mindset


NEWS 8 VIEWS LEADING FROM THE MANAGING PEOPLE IS HARD BUT IT'S SOMETHING MANY ARBORISTS WILL NEED TO DO IF THEY SET UP THEIR OWN BUSINESSES WAYNE ELWELL HAS SOME INSIGHTFUL THOUGHTS ON EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT rborists are a special bunch. We're in the game because we love it — it becomes a way of life. Seldom do you stumble across forums or Facebook pages where other tradespeople are so keen to share techniques, critique new kit and discuss other professionals' approaches. I've been in arboriculture for over 20 years, and clearly this isn't a one-man job. At some point you'll have to pay someone to work with or for you. Those who work alone are taking horrendous personal risk in what is already a dangerous profession. So, you may typically start off as a main climber and get a groundsperson or two in to help you out. Business goes well and you cannot dedicate time anymore to swinging around on the latest SRT rigs — people need to be visited and quotes need issuing. You start to rely more on other people. Perhaps like me you'll also pick up an injury — let's face it, the chances are high. At 40, I stopped climbing altogether. I'd had too many injuries and was a little exhausted with the sheer intensity of the work. Yep, I'm a soft southerner. You don't leam HR My focus changed. Suddenly, I became a people manager and a business builder. This 10 Pro Arb I Winter 2019 was never taught 23 years ago at Sparsholt College. So, now like thousands of small businesses, along with payroll, accountancy, purchasing, surveying, secretarial, logistics and face-to-face meetings, I became an HR operative too. My mantra is to treat people as I'd like to be treated. I'm laid-back and realistic in expectations. I lack the drive to create an outsized company — as long as I'm providing for the family financially and am sound of mind to be an honest husband and father, that suits me. On the move But I do manage people, and it's tricky. Arb tends to attract a high proportion of transient folk, who tend to be young, capable and can work anywhere. For example, one of our lads ended up living and working in Finland, while another ended up buying a beaten up LDV and travelling around the UK. It's full of opportunity and learning experiences. If things were different for me back in the day, I'd do exactly the same. However, it does have huge implications when a valued team member leaves you. We've had it several times over the past I DO MANAGE PEOPLE, AND IT'S TRICKY. ARB TENDS TO ATTRACT A HIGH PROPORTION OF TRANSIENT FOLK, WHO TEND TO BE YOUNG, CAPABLE and may WORK ANYWHERE I'm not pushy and definitely not into stress. I've built a small family-owned company. We have full-time staff and subbies come in when needed. It's comfortably at the point where a large job could see me have 5—6 people including myself on site. I'm certainly no Richard Branson! 10 years. Whist departures have not been personal, there's always been a small part of me that took it so. Upheaval is great and the feeling of being unsettled is unpleasant to say the least. Last year my team leader of five years was offered an amazing opportunity, he grasped it and left WWW.PROARBMAGAZINE.COM