Jumping from a Solo Entrepreneur to a Staffed Business
Many sole proprietors and entrepreneurs soon find themselves in a similar situation that goes a bit like this: “I’m at my full tilt with work, I’ve got plenty of business and more, and I need help now, but who do I trust and how do I get the right people?” When a bit of thought goes into that question, the answer can come back with multiple options including hired staff, partners in a business, and outsourced services. Rather than trying to take the issue of growth on all at once, graduating from a business of one to many can be handled with baby steps and hiring help as needed. Doing so gives an entrepreneur a chance to practice managing people without all the formal labor requirements involved.
Figure Out First What You Really Need Done
The first step is to map out and write down all the critical tasks and steps that need to be done in your business. It’s impossible to really manage people and service resources well without knowing every core task that needs to be taken care of. Some dub this document an operation manual. Others call it a task book or a desk manual. Whatever the case, each vital function of the business needs to be detailed.
Define Role Responsibility
Second, define which tasks can be staffed by a secondary person versus those that are sensitive or need to be handled directly by the owner. Obviously, dealing with clients or the contract approval may seem critical for the owner to manage directly. However, website administration or content production doesn’t have to be. At first, the critical list is going to be very big, and the staffed list will seem small. After a bit of editing, and a practical realization that one person can’t do everything, the staffed list will grow bigger. Now the sole proprietor is ready to find contracted help.
Hire Quality, Not Lowest Cost
Third, a sole business owner shouldn’t necessarily opt for the cheapest article writing service if his need is for website content or other writing material. Going with the lowest cost service can seem appealing when outsourcing work, but entrepreneurs soon learn quickly that low cost often means low quality service. Part of learning how to manage people comes with gaining experience in picking out the right help for the job. This can sometimes mean paying a bit more up front, but in the long run the productivity level is usually far better, producing larger revenues for the business as well.
Learning how to define tasks to farm out and how to hire the right contracted services isn’t a perfect science. It takes practice and a few mistakes along the way. However, the skill gained in managing people on projects is invaluable. It can also show a solo business owner what to prepare for when big growth reaches the point of hiring permanent staff. With outsource testing a sole proprietor’s hiring can be far better later on when permanent employees are brought on board, making it a smoother process of growing from one to many.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.