The weight of growth: when is it time to share the burden?

It doesn’t take genius to know you’re too busy. But it also doesn’t take much to know that new employees cost time and money – things that are rarely in abundance in the early days of growth.

So how do you judge when it’s the right time to get help? It’s actually fairly simple: you take an honest look at how much you’re doing.

Have you become a jack of many trades?

Many managers of small and medium sized businesses wind up doing jobs that in larger businesses would be given to a specific employee. Not just those such as Finance, Marketing, Business Management and IT – specialist roles where a professional could make a real difference – but time-consuming basic roles such as cleaning and everyday office admin. This is counter-productive to your ambitions.

Four reasons why multi-tasking is the enemy of growth

1) Missed opportunities and poor planning

Time spent on ‘house-keeping’ is taken away from maximising the business potential. Shifting even a little responsibility can free up your mind and calendar to great effect.

2) DIY thinking and the business botch-job

Whether it’s at home – the un-centred painting and the wonky cabinet – or in business, when you take on the tasks of experts, the results are simply not good enough. This lack of professionalism – inefficient IT systems, tardy invoices or poorly written marketing copy – undermines the ability to grow a business that your customers and suppliers can trust, admire and refer.

3) The small-time mentality

Growing a business takes confidence and leadership, so performing tasks that feel mundane (like emptying bins), or make you feel incompetent (such as attempting complex IT or Finance) may well impact your psychological performance – making you feel inferior to your competition, when actually your talent is much greater.

4) Stress and exhaustion

You’re certainly not unique if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Long hours transforming into all-hours
  • Constantly putting out fires and closely avoiding disasters
  • Fear of failure, driving you to work even harder.

Exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, burn-out (and many other symptoms of stress) can be debilitating for many entrepreneurs. Stress will never disappear, so being able to manage it is a critical part of the entrepreneur’s armour. Getting the right help at the right time, and offloading some of that daily burden, is a crucial step to success.

What are your barriers, and how can you overcome them?

Is it cost management?

If the help was free, would you take it? If the answer’s yes, then it’s worth thinking how to prioritise expenditure. Although the initial outlay for new employees might seem like a big investment, any business success is a calculated risk. Here’s a simple illustrative example:

How much time would be saved and what could be done with that time if you hired someone to clean for you? Let’s assume a cleaning person 4hrs a week costs £32 – you get a better clean, a more professional environment, and a better mindset. You also get 4 hrs extra work. This could mean an extra morning’s networking, or time spent on LinkedIn. Or it could be 1 session with a mentor or business coach. Over a month, you gain 16 hours – that’s two full days. If you found just one new customer or client in that time, it could pay for itself many times over.

Don’t know who to employ/outsource to?

Perhaps you haven’t got the connections to find the person you need (after all, recruitment isn’t about getting an employee, it’s about getting the right employee – hence why good recruitment companies charge a premium). So if you decide to look yourself, there are a number of other channels – most obviously LinkedIn.

With nearly 13 million UK users, it’s a hub of quality talent and a great way to source full-time or freelance staff. Simply head to the jobs section and fill in the blanks. Alternatively, find networking events in your area and meet people face to face – if you don’t meet the right talent, someone will undoubtedly be able to point you in the right direction.

Still not sure?

It’s understandable if you don’t want to hire yet. You can’t be expected to read up on employee law, research different job roles and how they would fit into your business. So speak to someone who knows – who can cut to the chase and tell you exactly what you need.

Mentors

A mentor has been there and done it – they can provide answers and clarity you simply cannot think of. Perhaps your daily stresses are just a result of poor planning? They’ll give you practical advice on how to streamline things. They’ll also have a great network of contacts if you do decide to outsource.

Business growth coaches

Your own business coach can help you navigate the journey your business is taking. Not only do they have the same level of knowledge and experience as a mentor, they have the added benefit of seeing many other business owners in exactly your position. They are trained to assist business like yours as best they can and their personal experiences can be priceless.

Seize the momentum, not the moment

You shouldn’t be fighting fires, you should be kindling new opportunities. You shouldn’t be emptying bins, you should be filling order books. You shouldn’t be fixing laptops or software issues, you should be freeing your business to grow.

Too often entrepreneurs wait for some magic moment when everything is perfect to expand. But waiting for change is guaranteed stagnation. It’s about being brave and disciplined in planning the growth of your business.

If this is something you’re already considering – whether you’re looking to research it or to hire – there’s only one wrong option: doing nothing. So think big and keep the momentum going.

HGKC are specialists in all areas of business growth. For more information on specific remedies at different business stages, why not see What we do.


Author Peter Quintana