When you start a business, it’s likely that you’ll spend the first few years working alone. This is no bad thing – it will save you money, teach you new skills, and means you’ll have holistic control over your business that most large business owners would kill for. However, as you get used to this way of life, it may become difficult to know when it’s time to expand and bring a couple more people into the fold. Even when you do decide to take the plunge, making sure you expand safely and sustainably is easier said than done. Going from working alone to being a ‘boss’ in charge of other employees is a big step, and it brings its own challenges you’ll need to navigate in the right way.
Space and Systems
The first problem you’ll need to solve is simply where to put your new employees. As a self-employed trader, you may have been working from home all these years – do you want to ask your new employee to do the same? Or would it be more effective if you could work in the same shared space; in this case, do you need to invest in an office space? You’ll also need to ask yourself exactly what you are hiring this new person to cover. Do you want someone to share the load of your admin, or to take charge specifically over sales, or another area? When you’re working with others, job roles need to be clear and distinct.
Self-employed tax returns are hard enough. When you start complicating this with wages, expenses, and other expenditures, the job can grow overwhelming. It’s important to put systems and structures in place to help you keep control over everything. Small lending businesses use products like FISCAL to streamline their transactions and track tax returns and the like, and there are plenty of tools out there for every aspect of your business needs if you know where to look. Do not leave your financial accounts to chance; it’s not worth the risk.
As your company grows, it’s no longer good enough to assume that just because you know something needs to happen that it will get dealt with. Similarly, if you decide to make big changes you will need to inform the people working for you to avoid misunderstandings and inefficient workloads. Communication is a key skill for any business owner to have, and it’s time to retrain yourself to listen to and communicate clearly with your employees.
Slow and Steady
When you finally break the barrier and start to grow your business, it can be addictive. Suddenly you want to expand as quickly as you can, employ more people, and grow your profits! This is a trap. Slow, steady expansion is the only way to sustainably grow your business into the future. Make sure to fully bed in each new employee before hiring another, and make sure you’re always in a position where your profits outweigh your expenditure on wages and the other costs of growth.