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As an aspiring small business owner, you probably want it all and you want to do it yourself. Unfortunately, in order to fulfill your vision you’ll most likely have to scale your goals by bringing employees or assistants into the mix. Delegating tasks to generalists, automating what you can and bringing in experienced professionals can help you hone your business.
When to start scaling
There is no right time to build your team. The general idea is to start thinking about it when you’re profitable, have too many clients, or if you’re spending too much of your time running errands that could be done by someone else. Your job, first and foremost, is to grow. If your precious hours are eaten up by administration, then it’s time to bring in some help.
Even though you may be the captain of the ship, your crew shouldn’t be undervalued. Like all worthwhile investments, there’s going to be some risk in bringing in new people to share your vision. However, you can learn to minimize this risk with an intelligent hiring philosophy.
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Know what you’re looking for
Before hiring you should have a detailed description of the roles you are filling. Think carefully about the tasks you need assistance with, how long they should take to complete, and how to effectively communicate your methods. Auditing your time within your business to better break down the tasks, which have become second-nature, can be incredibly helpful.
It’s important to consider whether you need highly specialized experts or more well-balanced generalists and it all depends on your company. If you’re small — I’d seek out a generalist to help you complete the assignable tasks that eat up your creative time. For my business, we’ve hired a general assistant whose duties include data entry, research and vetting leads before they officially become clients.
In addition to our general assistant, we’ve also brought on a music mix engineer who’s job includes handling the post-production of a particular song. You should take more time to hire specific role-players in comparison to generalists, as the qualifications will need to be more exact.
The respective roles of the generalist and specialist are both important, but with different expectations of qualifications and abilities. Your hiring philosophy should take into account the various needs of your business.
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Automation is your friend
Assistance doesn’t always need to come from an actual assistant. One thing that I wish someone had told me about is automation. It can be an invaluable tool and can save both time and capital.
Automation in this sense means using software or real-world logistic systems designed to complete a particular task automatically. It can include tasks like scheduling your social media posts with a software scheduler or setting up email sequences that start when someone signs up for your mailing list. There are also non-digital and practical applications. Whenever someone orders from your online store, a message can be automatically dispatched to a manufacturer who fulfills your order, which is then sent to a courier which will deliver the order to the customer.
Although automation has it’s obvious limitations (plenty of processes require a human touch). There are certainly situations where it can be an enormously helpful tool, especially for entrepreneurs on a budget who may not be able to hire several assistants.
For your non-electronic assistants, you’re going to need to do some training. This is fairly inevitable, but there are still tricks to make the process more efficient like onboarding via recorded training sessions can be a useful aid when you might not have the time to sit down and train a new employee. In my case, they’ve helped explain specific jargon associated with the operation.
The majority of my team works remotely. I virtually train and search until I find the right fit. In an online work environment, having onboard training that your workers can reference can be a great help to keeping up standards.
Employees will not always be on the same level as the owner, that’s why you must be an effective communicator. If you’re unsure of how much work you want to delegate, try increasing your employee’s responsibilities gradually. You will almost always have to train, but if you do so correctly — it’s worth it.
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Because of my hires, I’ve been able to focus on the work that only I can do: writing and producing the art that drives my business. As a creatively-oriented entrepreneur, this is particularly important.
By efficiently finding extra hands to help with your business, you can exponentially expand your work within a much shorter amount of time than you would on your own. Keep these tips in mind, find capable people you trust, and before you know it you’ll be the head of a team of rock stars ready to take on the world.