Owning a modern machine shop comes with immense challenges and responsibilities.
Shop owners know there’s a significant difference between being an employee at a precision machine shop, even one on the leadership team, and being at the helm of the company.
When you need guidance, ideas, or a shoulder to lean on, you can’t turn to an employee the way your team members can. And very few people in your personal life probably know much about how to run a machine shop.
The best way to combat the isolation you might feel is to build a robust network of peers who understand the unique challenges of being a shop owner and know what you’re going through.
The Problems with Looking to Your Shop for Guidance
Business owners must uphold a perception of strength, confidence, and expertise. But even the most successful leaders are human—they have moments of weakness and difficulty. As nice as it would be to turn to your staff in these moments, there are good reasons not to:
- They can’t truly understand. Your team doesn’t face the same pressures and risks that you do as a modern machine shop owner. Sure, they lose their jobs if the shop goes under, but you have much more at stake. That pressure colors your perspective, and employees, even highly dedicated ones, can’t relate to your problems in the same way. In some situations, input from someone who hasn’t been in your shoes isn’t particularly helpful.
- There are lines you can’t cross. There’s a clear line between being transparent and divulging too much information. If you’re overly vulnerable with your team, they could lose confidence in your leadership ability. The power dynamic between a boss and their employees is another complicating factor to consider. When in doubt, keep critical business information to yourself and your team of advisors. You want to be honest with your team, yes. But if you share too many of your fears and concerns, you could end up with employee churn, a lack of faith in leadership, and a whole host of other problems that could have been avoided.
The Solution: A Network of Trusted Peers
Your leadership team can offer valuable input on things like cash flow, hiring, processes, and quality issues. But they can’t always give you the guidance you need regarding the trajectory of your business and the role you play in making your company successful.
When you need to be honest about your weaknesses and fears, you need a network of modern machine shop owners who understand your perspective. A fellow machine shop owner can help you determine if you’re making the right business decisions—or big mistakes. They can enlighten you with their experiences and stories, so you have a point of comparison.
You can’t get that support from your family, friends, or coworkers. But you can find it at NTMA. We know the only people you can turn to through the ups and downs of running your business are people in your position. That’s why we bring modern machine shop owners together through networking opportunities, conferences, and meetups.
If you’re ready to reap the rewards of a robust peer network, join NTMA today!