You know there is nothing simple about running a business.
However you got here; training, learning, ‘winging it’, or previous employment and life experience, your focus will be on improving and growing.
Your goal posts will be constantly moving as you plan, act, do and check the framework of your growth. Do you have the right people to enable you to concentrate on what you do best?
Or are you spending time on the details? Trying to do everything, unable to let go of the reigns, or simply not thought of sharing the load?
Many people are unaware they can hand over the tedious, time consuming tasks to someone who gets a buzz out of streamlining and putting in the detail; someone who has chosen to grow a business helping others grow theirs, by doing the mundane, time consuming tasks for them in a cost effective way.
Handing over can be very tricky.
You have lived and breathed this since the first seed of an idea, the first spark fired in your brain. This baby has kept you awake at night, ideas thundering through your brain, the ins and outs, the why and wherefores, the ifs and buts.
The investment and sacrifices are huge, not just financial but time and energy too.
Why would you risk handing any of that over? No-one knows your business like you do. Can you afford to?
Can you afford not to?
There are only 24 hours in each day. How often do you find yourself wishing there were more? If the answer to that is ‘quite regularly’ or ‘often’, and you habitually work into the evenings and weekends, maybe you are ready to look for smarter ways to grow your business.
Here are five cost-effective ways to grow your business without having to commit to full time permanent staff. ‘Stepping Stones’ if you like:
1. Consider engaging a Recruitment Agency – your new best friend
If you have recruited before, you will know how time consuming this process can be. If you haven’t, it is all too easy to underestimate the time this can take, preparing the advert, the job description, responding to application questions, reading all the applications and CVs, filtering the truth and facts, interviews etc. It all takes time! And there is a cost! Placing adverts in your industry publications can run into £1000s.
In this time of Covid-19 you can be sure the number of applicants will be greater than usual. Can you afford to sift through 100s of applications and CVs? Lots of people are facing desperate times, so you may find every man and his dog is applying in the hope of paying their mortgage.
Wouldn’t it be smarter to find an agency?
Someone who can get to know you, your business, and take this process on board for you? A good agency is worth their weight in gold, they care about your business as much as their own, they will know the calibre of your requirements and they will work to bring you the best. You provide the brief and they do the rest. As the relationship grows you will be able to confidently call on them, sometimes a short notice, (life happens) and they will know exactly what you need, and chances are, have someone in mind for you.
Don’t just Google an agency near you and plump for that, do some research, speak to them, get a feel for them.
Will their core values fit with yours?
Do you like this person, will you get on? This is a real partnership which could last as long as your business does, so choose wisely.
2. Work with a Virtual Assistant – get your quality time back!
Hands up if you find the administrative side of business tedious and time consuming.
There is a cure for that you know; a virtual assistant.
Admin really is where the devil can lie in a business, time consuming and at times fiddly. Admin processes are numerous and needs vary significantly between businesses. This is the stuff that gets put on the back burner and becomes a huge task when tackled, or it is the stuff that eats into your evenings and weekends, when clients don’t need you.
The joy of a virtual assistant is you only pay for productive time, there is no downtime, they don’t come with expenses such as NI, holiday and sick pay. You can use an VA as and when you need. They are a fantastic resource until you have grown enough to need support full time.
A VA could be the perfect answer to carry you through the current situation while you juggle home working with family responsibilities and disruption.
Virtual assistants have chosen to work in admin because they enjoy it, and love helping business owners save time, grow and increase turnover.
Your business becomes their business and will be treated with the same passion as their own.
3. Find the right Tech Support – get yourself a Guru!
Today tech is everything, if that goes down, invariably work cannot happen. Something as simple as emails failing can adversely affect the working day. Can’t get access to your network, can’t upload or download files, your laptop is doing crazy things, or the wheel of doom is driving you mad? All can cause disaster and take time to resolve. If you’re a technological whizz, *woohoo!* you won’t have a problem, but many of us will be scratching our heads and getting frustrated trying to work out the problem and then resolve it.
That costs time and time costs money.
To have a ‘tecchie guru’ on hand makes sense. It is worth paying a retainer fee to make the call and have remote support immediately or on-site support quickly. Get to know your guru, the relationship will be fantastic, they will have you up and running again in no time.
I can assure you the benefits far outweigh the monthly cost….and tend to work better than a Facebook post ‘HELP, is anybody any good with technology?
4. Grab a Website Designer – not literally!
You might not need anything fancy, but you will need to be found online.
Your website is your shop front.
It needs to be a great representation of what you offer. There is so much more to websites than creating a page with your services and contact details. If that is all you do/have done, it will sit there, looking pretty, with little engagement. They need maintaining, they need tweaking and updating to ensure you are always high in the searches. You are competing with 100s of businesses every day, probably more in a post Covid world.
In the early days of a business a landing page might suffice to get you a presence, but as you grow you might be considering a more detailed professional website, you might need to offer a booking service or online payment options. Whatever happens, you need it to stand out and work!
If you are up to your eyeballs in fee earning projects, it is much more cost effective to engage with a website designer who can create a fantastic site in half the time you could. They know SEO inside out, know how to fix glitches and include the latest updates. They know how to make your website work for you! It will involve some work from you, but support like this is priceless.
5. Outsource HR – protect yourself and your employees.
If you are new to employing staff, or only have a small team, it might be worth looking at an outsourced HR service. The law regarding employment is vast, did you know potential employees have a certain number of rights before you even hire them?
The law can change as often as you change your socks….well slight exaggeration there….but keeping on top of all the changes and running your business can be overwhelming. An HR resource has chosen to know the ins and outs intricately, so you don’t have to!
This is another service which can be available on a retainer basis, you know the costs each month and can dip in an out when needed. You might not need HR services very often, but when you do, they could be time consuming and expensive . They are invaluable source of support if disciplinary or grievance procedures are raised, would you have the time to deal with one alone?
So, there you have it.
Five tasks you could outsource, enabling you to have a very well qualified team at your beck and call, without the expense of full time employment, freeing your time and energy to spend on the things you enjoy, do well, and consequently be more productive.
Depending on your ambition, you might be able to employ whole departments to help you perfect your ever-growing business……until then, passing these little devils on will enable that growth to happen more efficiently.
“The primary skill of a manager consists of knowing how to make assignments and picking the right people to carry out those assignments.” – Lee Lacocca