If you want to grow your business and save your sanity, at some point you will need to hire someone. Does that sound glorious to you? Or does it make your heart race and stomach clench up a little? People’s enthusiasm for being the boss varies, but the bottom line is it will have to happen, and you will do it wrong.
Even the most experienced managers make personnel and management mistakes and you are likely not the most experienced manager. You’ll need practice and you’ll need to continually fine tune. Every business culture is different and for your sake, your employees’ sake, and your customers’ sake, you need to make sure your systems and management style creates the culture that’s true to your brand vision.
The problem a lot of businesses run into is that they wait to hire help until they’re desperate. I’m a big believer is hire slow and fire fast (while treating people right)…you don’t want to spend too much on payroll before you can. But you also don’t want to be in a position where you can’t handle the current work load without help, and then need months to ramp up training for your new employee, creating systems, and honing your ability to direct everything. It will be miserable and it will make things so rough.
So what’s the plan? I think you should practice! Find someone to hire now. You could get an intern and get help with organizing, marketing, or client services. Better yet, find someone you have to pay, because when you feel like a poor performance is costing more than it’s worth, you’ll have incentive to fix it.
I know it can seem hard…you need help to make more money, but you need money to hire help. But you can get a ton of value out of just a little delegating. Think about it. If you usually take 3 hours a week to market to and contact new potential clients, what would taking 6 hours a week instead do to your cash flow? That’s just three hours. Find a task that takes 3 hours and hire it out. It will cost you $15-60 a week. If you bring in double your typical clients, that’s a huge, huge return on investment.
Here’s how to do it right:
1) Identify a task you can delegate.
2) Find someone to handle the task (a contracted professional, a local student, an upwork.com VA, a niece or nephew)
3) Train them. Well. Write out instructions, be specific. Let them try. Give them detailed, constructive feedback. Then let them try again. If they are a professional like a graphic designer, this will be a little different. You need the same clarity in expectations and conversation, but they will be leading a lot of it. Either way, you need to practice knowing what you need and articulating it.
4) Hand over the reins and hold them to high expectations. Correct, praise, and adjust judiciously.
5) Spend the time doing something that directly impacts your profit instead
Then slowly hand over more and more. You can take the time to set up each task correctly. Eventually you’ll develop a company training program without even trying.
Being in charge takes practice. Don’t wait until you need help to get it. If you have to start with 3 hours, do it. If you can start with 10 or 20, great! But do it before it’s essential to your customers’ results.
You’ll learn how to be you, as manager. Not a typical manager, but typical you doing the best thing for your company and your customers.