Orders are starting to pick up and your clients are as excited about your business as you are. You are running hard but there are only 24 hours in a day. You are starting to see some errors creeping in and you are concerned that if you muck up another order, your business will quickly start to decline – and reputation is critical. It might be time to bring on some extra help. But how? You wonder whether you should continue flying solo, but you know there are ramifications if you do, mostly around the ability to grow past a certain point and also remain sane. How do you know it’s time to grow your team? It’s important to look at your business. Can you afford an employee and what are the alternatives, if you can’t?
- Forecast – Start by forecasting your revenue targets for the next 12 months. If you already have a business plan, this will be as simple as looking at your existing targets. If you don’t have a business plan, download a template to get started at here (click for resource).
- Document – Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that you currently do over a week (yes, everything), and allocate a time to it. Once you have completed this, leave it for a day or two and then come back to it; you will discover even more tasks that you had forgotten.
- Grouping – Group similar tasks into categories such as social media, finance, technology and business development.
- Reflect – Now it is going to get hard – really hard! It’s time for some honest reflection. What are you good at? What do you need to focus on to grow your business? What could someone do better or quicker than you? Put a red circle around these particular tasks – did you halve the list? If not, try again.
- Delegate – Now grab your list – what tasks are you comfortable to give away? Think about the people around you who may be able to help. One of my friends worked free for me for a couple of months out of Dubai because she believed in me and my business. So are there any people in your network that might volunteer? Starting with a couple of volunteers might help confirm or test whether your business is at a point where you can sustain employees. This will also force you to structure roles and processes to deliver your product or service.
Once you have decided which tasks you can reassign to someone else, think about how many hours this will free up for you. You can then look to spend this time on work activities that will bring more revenue into the business. It is important to forecast the amount of revenue you can generate now you have additional time. If you can cover the salary of an employee with this expected revenue, then it is definitely time to hire! Are you ready to hire your first employee?