When we start our businesses, we do so because we see a hole in the market, or we have a particular offering that we think the market needs, or we have a specific skill that we want to put to good use.
But what happens when your little baby becomes too big to handle alone? Here are some points to remember, that might prove useful down the line if you are starting out.
The lifecycle of a growing business:
You start your business; you are networking like a ninja and telling all and sundry about your product and service offering. You are working on your mailers and trying to grow your database and have just got your simple, but effective marketing platforms up and running. You are finding great enjoyment in developing your marketing material and posting to social media and sending out your mailers every few weeks.
You are also doing some dreaded cold calling and charity work / pro-bono work to get some experience and testimonials to grow your client base and spread the word about your fabulous product offering.
Work is starting to come in and you have just the right balance of time to work on your business and time to work in your business as well as having a bit of downtime to keep you sane.
But what happens when suddenly you are now booking clients left right and centre and are now finding that you are working into the evenings and weekends to get through all your admin? You are starting to forget things, “did I send that invoice?” and are finding it challenging to get to all your marketing and back of house duties while you are so busy working on the business coming in. Perhaps your basic systems aren’t good enough anymore and you haven’t had a chance to properly create procedures for the processes in your business…..RED FLAG ALERT!. This is when it is crucial to look at your business and re-evaluate where you need the extra hands. It’s extremely beneficial to make contact with these people (if you have them in your contact list – after all that networking I’m sure you do) a fellow business owner that you are in the same field as, who is a step ahead of you. A recruitment agent and a business coach.
Your mentor will be able to give you sage advice against what they did wrong so that you don’t make the same mistake. A recruitment agent can give you advice on salaries and job specifications and what is available for your budget and they will also be able to give you suggestions based on your needs. Your business coach will be able to give you advice on what is best for your bottom line, thus between the three you should be able to come up with a solution to your increasing workload.
There are two angles in which you can approach this situation; do you need more back up with the admin side so that you can continue to service your clients, or do you need someone who can assist with client-facing interaction? The most important thing to remember is that you are NOT the only one who can do what you do. This is generally where entrepreneurs get stuck, thinking that they couldn’t possibly allow anyone else to assist with their precious baby, that they are the only one who can get the job done – this is a one-way ticket to burnout!
Once you have decided who best will aid you in fitting a few extra hours into the day then you need to be realistic about who you hire and what you will pay, just remember, you pay peanuts you get monkeys. You also have to bear in mind that if you employ someone on a salary below what is market-related you will find that they will stay, long enough to find a higher paying job and leave you high and dry.
So, you have found your new person what now? This is a crucial stage where you need to delegate and step back, otherwise, the new dynamic won’t work. Mentoring and initial management will be needed but you will have to let go. Divide your duties up into groups, marketing, admin, client servicing & follow up and then split them between the two of you. Have morning and weekly meetings to manage performance and off you go.
The key indicators that you need new staff are:
- Your workload is becoming unmanageable
- Your staff are not coping
- You aren’t able to fit all your clients in
- Your ability to get out of the office to work on marketing and networking is no longer possible.
Questions to ask yourself – do I need help in the admin department, or do I need someone to help servicing client or both? What will benefit you the most? Can you manage the work coming in and just need someone to keep your marketing and admin up to date? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.
Golden rule of being a business owner – delegate menial tasks so you can focus on what you are good at.
Best of luck with your growing business!