If you’re an owner/operator of a small business, and you’re in the situation of having more requests to provide your services than there are hours in the week, then now’s the time to consider how to manage your business growth. As an owner/operator you are front and centre with respect to service delivery – your business reputation is all about you; so how do you manage growth without compromising your delivery or your reputation?
Before hiring anyone, ensure you are making the most of technology to ensure that these activities are optimised for your business reporting, legal and tax compliance, sales and marketing functions. (E.g. check with your Accountant to see what accounting packages might save you time and effort; research on-line sales and marketing tools, especially those that relate to social media.) If you do employ staff or contractors to undertake the financial administration of your business it is imperative you don’t lose sight of your key financial indicators – especially cashflow and debtor management.
Hiring staff requires you as their manager, to supervise their productive output. You must meet all legal compliance requirements such as: employment contracts, health and safety, tax, holiday and sick pay, Kiwisaver; and any other specific legal or compliance requirements if they are casual, part or full time employees.
Almost every function in a business can be contracted out – most likely there is a specialist who can provide support for whatever you need. However you will still need to keep an eye on their work to ensure they are delivering to your agreement, although often they are more highly skilled and more productive than an employee in the same role. While this option can appear more expensive than hiring staff; remember you only pay for the hours they work and they take care of their own tax obligations. However, you are still responsible for their health and safety when they are on your premises.
Whether you opt for staff or contractors, you need to allow sufficient time (could be up to 20% of your own time) to manage them and their work output. You also need to consider that you have enough work for an extra staff member to do… Finding an extra 20, 30 or 40 hours a week work may be a considerable increase on what you are currently doing at present – can you guarantee you’ll have this extra work next week and the week after? You’ll certainly need to as you’ll be paying their wages regardless of their productive output.
So what’s the best option? I encourage you to take some time out to take a long hard look at your business. Decide where you personally want to be in 5 years’ time. What might the business look like in 5 years’ time? Understand that these two viewpoints may not necessarily be aligned…
Will the business even need to have same business model as today?
What were your objectives for being in business in the first place?
Do you want to sell it eventually, or pass it to a family member?
If you want your business to fit into a balanced lifestyle – how many hours do you really want to work a week? How much [income] is enough to provide you the lifestyle you want?
Do you really want to manage people or a growing business? Or do you get more pleasure from being in the front-line yourself? Maybe you could appoint a competent General Manager so you can free yourself up to do the role you truly enjoy in the business. Just because you are the owner of the business, it does not mean that you have to be ‘the boss’ – your skills may be better suited elsewhere in the business…
Could the business you presently see as your competitor actually provide an opportunity for growth if you collaborate and combine your services to become a much bigger presence in the market place?
The solution to managing growth is as individual as each business owner. Talking with a business coach can help you work through the options and enable you to develop a plan that will work best for you and your business objectives.
Call me if you need help!