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You may have initially envisioned running your startup as a one-man or one-woman show. After all, you’re competent and intelligent. Surely you can handle whatever comes your way! And the idea of trusting an additional hire with your baby, your business? Scary.
But lately, you’ve been overwhelmed. Hopefully that’s because business is booming and you simply have more work than you can handle. That initial vision of doing everything in your business on your own may need to change, and that’s okay.
Here are signs that bringing in a few extra sets of hands is the right move for your business.
You’re not able to keep up with demand
This is a clear warning sign: when you are unable to fulfill orders or otherwise meet customer expectations in a timely manner, you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. If you don’t remedy the situation soon, you risk losing customers and turning off potential new business.
Keeping customers happy is your number one job. If you can’t do that on your own, you need to hire assistance. Even if you hire help with other aspects of your business (such as administration or marketing), it will free you up to focus on customers. Don’t risk your brand’s reputation because your ego tells you that you’re the only person who can get the job done.
You’re not sleeping
Being overworked affects much more than your performance in the office. It can lead to stress, illness and strained relationships at home. If you’re up in the middle of the night thinking of all the things you could be getting done at work, something’s not right. The entire point of you starting a business was to enjoy life more, not less. So take this as a sign that it’s time to make a change before the stress seriously jeopardizes your health.
Customers are noticing
You think you have everything under control, but then you read a few online reviews of your brand and see negative feedback saying that customers feel you aren’t living up to their expectations. Bam. That hurt. It’s hard to know exactly what image you’re portraying until you hear it firsthand from clients. Take action immediately and hire employees so that you can get back to providing the stellar customer service you were once known for.
Even if you’re not to the point of hiring help just yet, stay on top of that customer feedback so you can know as soon as you stop delivering on expectations.
You don’t have time to bring in new sales
You’re so busy fulfilling current orders or trying to manage existing clients that you can put zero attention on new business. And that’s not good. You always need to market today for the business you hope to bring in tomorrow.
Again, having help will free you up to focus on what’s most important in your business. Do you really need to be putting products in boxes and shipping them, or could that task be given to someone else, freeing you up to work on strategy and business development? Once you have help in place, make sure you dedicate a portion of your week to attracting new customers.
Start small and grow
Hiring your first employees is scary. You have to be assured that you will be able to afford to pay them long-term. If you’re not confident of that, start by hiring a freelancer or part-time help. You’d be amazed what having someone working with you for even a few hours a week can do. Then, as your budget allows and you grow more comfortable having someone else on your team, expand their hours or responsibilities. Hire more people for different roles. Before you know it, you’ll have a full-fledged staff, and you’ll wonder how you ever did it all alone.
Finding quality employees may take some time, but investing in the process will pay off exponentially. Start by asking your network (in-person as well as online) if they know someone who fits the bill of what you’re looking for. If that doesn’t net a few candidates, post a listing on job sites or freelance boards. And remember: you might not need someone to work in your office, so consider hiring remote employees for work like marketing, accounting and design.
It may take a mental shift to get over the idea of doing it all on your own, but trust me: in the long run, you and your business will be better for it. Bringing in others to your business allows you to expand your areas of expertise beyond your own skill set, and it helps you better serve your customers. What more could you ask for?