Resident SME Agony Uncle Bobby Kerr is back again this week offering his expert advice


Structuring a Good Bonus System
First up this week, Bobby was contacted by someone who has been out of work due to injury. This person has been told by their boss the company has cut their bonus from €2,000 down to €100 while they were absent, due to a broken wrist. They are looking for some advice from Bobby on how to proceed with the matter, as they are understandably upset and stressed with the whole situation.

Bobby’s Advice
This sounds quite serious, and there are a number of facts that need to be established before making any recommendations in this instance.
  1. We need to establish how this particular bonus structure is calculated. This person does not disclose how their bonus system works, which is crucial
  2. Bonus systems need to be black and white, clear and measurable to avoid conflict between management and employees.
  3. While bonuses are a great incentive for employees, there must be clear key performance indicators (KPI) in place or else they may in fact become dis-incentives among the workforce
  4. If this person is entitled to a bonus as part of their contract, then they may be in a position to dispute this
  5. Once the above information is confirmed, we may be able to make more of a recommendation however at the moment we would urge this person to get back in touch

The Perfect Roster – Does it Exist?
Next up this week is from a listener who manages two cafes and is finding the job of staff rostering very challenging and quite stressful. They are looking for some tips on how to approach this in a more effective and efficient manner to relive some of the stress they are currently under.
Bobby’s Advice
This is common particularly among managers in the service industry. Firstly, planning well in advance is crucial. It’s easier said than done, however if you are able to have meeting with staff or finding time each month to get together and plan out the following few weeks this will ensure that all staff are on the same page, and any issues can be addressed there and then. If this isn’t an option then what they can do instead is to almost overprovide in terms of staffing and to ensure that they have staff available. Forward planning and forecasting for upcoming events will also help when scheduling the roster.

Good communication between staff and management is essential and make sure that there is a large pool of available staff available to pull from. It will always be difficult to keep all staff happy however, with the above systems in place it should make things that little bit easier.
Next Big Move – Research is Key
The final query this week is from Kev, and it is regarding a potential opportunity in opening an indoor play centre. Kevin has identified a premises and is wondering if Bobby had advice on whether this is worth pursuing and whether this type of enterprise could earn him a realistic living. Kevin also has a wife and three children to take into consideration.
Bobby’s Advice
While this may seem like a good opportunity, Kev must investigate whether it is worth taking the risk. There are some hugely important factors to consider when starting up any business and this is no different. Knowledge is power in Kev’s situation and he needs to undertake some research in order to ensure it is worth pursuing.

A competitor analysis of indoor play centres in the area, as well as the location itself in terms of footfall would be the first areas to investigate. Kev should also look at working part time in a similar business to get a good feel for it and to learn more about the day to day aspects in running such a business. I would strongly advise Kevin putting together a comprehensive business plan and researching the opportunity more before making any further decisions. Kev also has to consider his family, and how such a decision would impact them. After extensive research, Kev can afford to reassess the situation and decide what the best move is for him and indeed his family.
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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