We’ve all said it: “My business is my baby.” Like children, businesses grow and eventually you’ll find yourself looking for a village to help you out. Expanding your business—either out of demand or a desire for more time to yourself—is a challenging process.
Here are some of the things you need to be prepared for:
Incorporating a System of Checks and Balances
The first thing I help my clients understand is that employees often don’t have the same passion for the work as you do. It’s important to put proper controls in place to make sure that your profits and product quality don’t just walk out the door.
If you haven’t taken the time to define your business’s mission and values, the moment prior to hiring new employees is the time to start. That will help you attract the right people and employ those whose values are aligned with those of your growing company.
Being Open to Change
If you’re hiring people at the managerial level to take over some of your work, you must understand that they may make decisions differently than you. It’s important to trust the people you’ve hired to make the right decisions—you have to be open to change and roll with that so people feel fulfilled at your company.
While you’re at it, don’t just hire someone who will do things the same way you would! Spend some time evaluating your business and thinking about what it needs to go to the next level. Hire people with the proven experience of making that happen.
Taking Home a Lower Salary
Keep in mind that when you hire employees to distribute your workload, you also have to distribute the revenues from your company. The additional wages will detract from the profit margin you once enjoyed as a solo entrepreneur.
For business owners who see their salary as the company’s profits, I recommend separating wages from profit for a few months prior to hiring someone new. Losing the income is less disconcerting when you recognize that you’re buying your time back by paying a salary to an employee.
Earning Investment Income
When you hire people to do your work, you’re paying for their time and you don’t get paid for yours anymore. But that doesn’t mean you won’t still earn an income. You’ll need to build the business to a level of profitability that allows you to live off the investment side of the company.
In other words, your income will result from the performance of the company as opposed to individual effort.
Having More Time to Yourself
For entrepreneurs accustomed to being deeply involved in the day-to-day work, one of the hardest parts is actually stepping back from the business. Make sure you have a plan for what you want to do—are you going to spend more time with your family? Travel? Take up a new hobby?
You’ve built a business that essentially runs itself (with the help of others)—it’s time to enjoy it.
Expanding your business and hiring employees is a bit like giving your teenager the keys to your car: it’s scary and you have no idea what they’re doing out there. But with time to adjust to the idea (and maybe a GPS navigation system), you’ll feel a lot better.
Thinking about sharing the reins of your business? Give us a call today and we’ll help you go from sole proprietor to employer!