Managing an SME
In this video around the subject of taking over a company, Michèle Detaille shares her story:
- Going from entrepreneur to manager
- Why buy out other companies
- Why seek an associate
Michèle Detaille is the managing director of the Alipa group since 1996. Discover more on www.alipa.lu.
Subtitles are available in english and french.
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Going from entrepreneur to manager?
The main thing in a small company, is to surround yourself with the right people and be able to trust. Trusting of course means the people are worthy of your trust, which comes back to what I said about a takeover. I always say, “Don’t do business with people you don’t trust.” There are enough honest people in this world to not get into bed with hooligans. So internally, you need to trust people. That means… letting people perform their duties as they see fit, with an objective that has been jointly set. But they can do as they see fit, and not necessarily how we, as boss, would choose. That’s delegating, but it does of course imply checks and final agreement on the objective.
Why buy out other companies?
When we took over No-Nail, we found it a bit small compared to what we wanted because there is a certain size you need to be able to grow, to be able to put intelligence into the company. So, we always said “We’ve bought one, but it’s only the first.” We brought on quite a bit of internal growth then we decided to purchase another, which allowed us to have well-functioning shared services: financial services, marketing services, staff services… which also allowed us to develop a strategy for the group as a whole, which lined up quite well with what we wanted to do.
Why seek an associate?
If you have the same values and the same outlook on entrepreneurship, and you’re complementary, I think it is ideal. Of course, you have to share your earnings, but it’s better to have half of a big cake than all of a teeny-tiny one.
What to do when everything’s running smoothly?
I would tell everyone, all bosses, “Whenever you have time, please, engage in social interactions.” “You have things to share, and you’ll learn so much.” Of course, it takes time, but you meet your peers, you encounter issues you don’t see as much in-company, it sometimes requires you to use diplomacy, be a bit more careful, because the people you meet aren’t your subordinates, they’re either equals or partners. But you learn so much and you give some of what you’ve gained back to society.