I met a fascinating businesswoman the other day. To use Daniel Priestley’s phraseology,she was not only completely “oversubscribed” she was also the “Key Person of Influence”. Her business, a B2C service was a massive success, so much so that it was teetering on the brink of collapse and she risked losing it all.Listening to this professional, who was clearly passionate about both her subject matter and her customers, it was clear to me that there really was no plan for her to rely on, or fall back on, and if she stopped spinning the plates it would all come tumbling down.
Plenty of advice was available around the table, but it all centred on two things – 1) Write down all the roles and processes in the business as soon as possible. 2) Hire someone to take on the most mundane of the roles to give you “head-space”
Now every business however large and small should always commit its processes to paper. It ensures consistency and provides material for when you want to involve others and scale or maybe franchise. Process however will only get you so far. It doesn’t matter how organised and efficient you are, at some point you are going to run out of time in the day. Reflecting back on something Daniel Priestley says – every business needs 4 people – Key Person of Influence, Sales, Finance and Operations. Personally I don’t 100% agree with this – The KPI and Sales person can be the same person, as can the Finance and Operations person, but you certainly need someone.
When I talk to small business owners there is always a fear of that first or second hire – what if I get it wrong? Well, you will get it wrong, probably time and time again but you cant let that stop you hiring. My advice for those taking that tentative first step is – hire a temp to start with and handover different administrative tasks and see what works. I guarantee some of the tasks you thought you could handover will turn out to be ones you cant and many of those you thought you couldn’t hand over you’ll find you can.
Every business is different and you have to find what works for you, but hire someone before its too late and you or the business collapses.