I am writing in regard to the article in the July 17 edition on ``Taking back the reins,'' a common problem with owner-managers who do not know when and how to exit their business. Having gone through this experience in Australia some 21/2 years ago, I thought it might be fun to share the journey and explain to your readers what to look for and how to go about the change.
I began my plastics company with a bag maker in a tiny way in 1968. I am now 47. My company is the largest independent flexible packaging company in Australia involved in extrusion, printing, converting and laminating. I departed from my job of running the business in January 1993 with the original idea of studying at Harvard and taking about a year off. After some six months in America I decided with my family to stay here and begin again. After all, that's what I enjoy most - building a business vs. administering a company.
Prior to leaving, I approached a person who I asked to run the business for one year only whilst I took that time off. Whilst in the USA I requested he stay longer and proceeded to put together a profit-sharing plan and decided to run the business by exception. I have excellent reporting systems and receive vital ``hot button'' information each night, such as plant utilization, bank balances, order intake, product-out-the-door against budget, etc. Of course there are always problems with any business, but I must say that I am delighted to be liberated and let the others get on with the day-to-day work which is really a ``killer.''
I now only concentrate on policy, strategy, funding and negotiating for plant and equipment. By agreeing on profit budgets and disciplining myself not to get involved in the day-to-day activities is the only way this can work.
In summary, the business has grown and I have added value to the business. The new president is talented and has clearly picked up some opportunities that I missed, which is also understandable given that one gets tired and insular after such a long time at the helm. He also has skills and talent that I clearly do not.
Why don't more owner-managers do this? It all has to do with our ``comfort zone.'' It has a lot to do with fear! I was not looking for another ``me.'' I was looking for a hungry, driven, focused individual who was truly wishing to put his footprint on the business and take it to another level. There are many large successful companies throughout the world and they are not all owned by the manager. Knowing this, the challenge was to find someone with the energy and intelligence to move it further. I am delighted with the outcome. Other than traveling to the plant once each two months, I have left it to them!
I do not wish to make the above sound simple. However, it is possible and the rewards are outstanding, if handled correctly. I am now free to begin my second business in the same industry here in Georgia.
Finewrap USA Inc.
Work for what you want
I'd like to look at Mr. Bobruk's Aug. 7 response (Mailbag, Page 6) to Clare Goldsberry's article on the welfare system from another perspective.
It is my contention that the average American worker supports a minimum of three families on his or her paycheck:
Someone on welfare.
Senior citizens (through social security and Medicare taxes).
His or her own family.
At age 36, I am weary of the perpetual cries of the rights being denied to someone else. I tire of watching someone complain of the lack of quality of life, when they are doing nothing to change the situation. Usually, those complaining are being supported by my tax dollars, while my family battles budget problems.
What's wrong with America is the ``you owe me'' attitude. It is my firm belief that not one person is owed anything. If you want it, work for it. If you don't want to work for it, don't complain, because I, for one, am tired of hearing about it. No one is too good to work, and no job is beneath any person. Just ask the employers who can't fill available positions.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio