There comes a time in the life of virtually every small business when it can no longer be easily or effectively handled as a solo operation, along the lines that it has been handled up to that point.
This is often a jarring moment to the entrepreneur behind the business who has, in many cases, become accustomed to handling every single aspect of the business and all of its operations entirely alone, and who has relied on their own expertise, wherewithal, and vision, to launch the business and nurture it from the level of a startup to a meaningful contender in its particular industry or niche.
In some cases, this virtually existential crisis can’t be resolved, and the entrepreneur in question will keep trying to run their business along the same lines, until the growing complexity and turmoil causes them to have a complete breakdown after one too many nights of missed sleep.
Suffice to say, that’s not a great situation to be in. So here are some other options you could explore instead, if you find yourself in that situation.
Reach out directly to people with a proven track record, with the aim of hiring them as permanent team members
If you’re going to hire staff, you undoubtedly want to be sure that they will be the best possible match for your company, and that the money you invest in them will be worth it — particularly if your operation is still in a somewhat formative stage of development.
Instead of just putting out a job ad and having to spend a good deal of time and energy trying to filter out applicants, and conduct rounds of interviews, it may be in your best interest to identify prospective employees directly — particularly if you’ve worked with them before — and send out a well crafted recruitment email to try and engage their interest.
Of course, in most cases, you will likely find that it will be easier, more straightforward, and also perhaps more effective for you to hire a recruitment agency to go through this selection-and-reaching-out process for you, not least of all because they will already have refined an effective approach to these kinds of matters.
Consider whether virtual assistants might be able to pick up the slack for you
In his bestselling book, “The 4-Hour Work Week”, Tim Ferriss took the world by storm back in 2007, by painting a vision of a life where entrepreneurs could work virtually not at all, while still making a good living, and travelling the world on semi-permanent near-retirement.
While arguably not all of the tips in the book have stood the test of time, not to mention the changing face of the business landscape, one intriguing suggestion by Ferriss might still be relevant.
In the book, Ferriss mentions at one point how he had hired a virtual assistant to handle a lot of the standard “admin” and “busy work” of his professional life for him. In fact, he found that the virtual assistant was so immensely effective and useful, that he ended up even using them to plan his vacations for him, to do gift shopping for his loved ones, and so on.
If a significant part of the reason why it no longer seems tenable to run your business solo is because of the sheer weight of growing admin tasks to handle, hiring a virtual assistant might allow you to resolve this issue without having to commit to having a full-time, in-house member of staff present.
Often, a good deal of the time consuming “work” we’re faced with is stuff that needs to get done, but which doesn’t necessarily require — or even benefit from — our particular skill set to accomplish.
Foster a working relationship with trustworthy freelancers
Freelancers are a major part of the new face of the modern professional landscape, and it certainly doesn’t seem, judging by outward appearances, that they are going anywhere in a hurry.
There are many assorted benefits to working with freelancers instead of hiring full-time in house staff, not least of all the fact that, generally speaking, you pay freelancers on a per-project basis, meaning that you can bring them on board whenever there’s a particularly tricky task to handle, or during a particularly busy period, and then don’t have to worry about paying them an ongoing salary during quiet periods.
Freelancers are also generally quite proficient at what they do — at least if they’re well established in their field, and have a good set of testimonials to back them up. With a freelancer, you will generally know what you’re getting into, in a way that might not necessarily be the case when hiring a new team member.
What’s more, there are freelancers operating in just about every conceivable field. You could, for example, hire a freelance writer on a one-off basis to handle your website’s promotional copy, or you could have them produce several blog posts for you each month.
You could also have a freelance graphic designer to produce marketing materials or ebook covers for you, or pay a freelance bookkeeping expert to you help you with financial matters.
Analyze the situation with your business and figure out whether it’s time to cut out some of the “extras” and simplify your focus
In many cases, as your business grows, you will simply need to bring new people on board in order to keep it thriving and moving from strength to strength.
It may also be the case, however, that some of the added complexity in your professional life that seems to require the addition of new staff, is, in reality, a sign that you’re not focusing your energies as precisely as you should be.
It’s a simple fact of life, and certainly of business, that in any given moment you could hypothetically spend your time doing an unlimited number of different things. But if you don’t limit your focus and content yourself with doing just a few things, instead, you’re going to fail to make significant headway in any given area.
If you find that you’re trying to run a dozen ambitious sub-projects through your business, the key to you being able to regain control, might be taking a deep breath and cutting out some of the “extras”.