Our resident SME Agony Uncle Bobby Kerr is back, and ready to answer your queries

SME Agony Uncle Bobby Kerr is back, and this week Bobby is talking about changing work roles, Sole Traders and get very excited about 3D Printing.
Dealing with Shifting Goalposts
First up this week is Michael who has just started in a new role as a contractor. Although Michael has only been in the job for 6 weeks, he is already regretting his decision. The job does not meet the original description and Michael is beginning to think that he is not capable of doing the job efficiently and as effectively as his management expect it to be done. Although he doesn't like the thought of quitting, Michael wants to know how to go about parting ways with his employer, on the best possible terms without burning his bridges, or tainting his reputation. 
Bobby's Advice
It sounds as though the worst thing Michael could do in this case is stay where he is. He has stated that he is unable to carry out the brief from management, and indeed the brief may have indeed changed from what he originally thought. In this scenario, Michael should part ways with the company and resign. As long as he goes through the proper channels and maintains a level of integrity, then Michael should be able part with the company with his head held high and on good terms. It sounds as though he has done all he can, however he is struggling for the past number of weeks since starting in the role and it’s obvious that it is beginning to affect him personally. My advice; leave through the appropriate channels, maintain a level of integrity and respect for your employer, and don't worry about your reputation in the industry.
Sole Trader Vs Employer 
Next up is Darragh in Letterkenny who has just started his own mobile coffee business in Letterkenny. Darragh is a registered sole trader, however he is wondering if he is able to hire staff and have employees as a sole trader. 
Bobby's Advice
Darragh absolutely can have employees, as a sole trader, and it happens quite a lot in business. Essentially Darragh but the key thing to remember here is that he would become an employer, and will be responsible for filing employee tax returns on their behalf. There are probably insurance ramifications to this as well so I advise Darragh seek the relevant advice from an expert in the area of employment. Darragh could also use independent contractors but he will still need to file taxes and take care of the relevant administration and insurance documents. 
Printing the Future in 3D
Last up this week is Robert from Cork, who has Bobby very excited by his consumer 3D printing business. Robert is seeking Bobby's advice on what areas retailers need to be made feel secure in making the move to 3D printing in terms of supply chain, pricing, quality etc. 
Bobby's Advice
Firstly, 3D printing is becoming hugely popular, and the way things are going 3D printing looks like the opportunities for the industry are endless. It's a fantastic industry to be a part of. People are hugely interested but the market is yet to be developed and explored fully. 3D printing, as a tool for research and development and product innovation is extremely effective. Robert needs to approach potential clients and customers with a proper structured plan and prototypes are always a good way of displaying this. Prototypes and physical examples will help retailers see not only the quality of his products, but will also help Robert in explaining his business and what he is able to produce at a relatively low cost and short turnaround. I think the 3D printing industry will explode over the next few years, so if Robert can start making contacts now and securing business, this can only grow as the industry expands and develops further.
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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