If you are running a thriving small business by yourself, you are probably feeling pulled in several directions at once. On one hand, you are feeling satisfied that your hard work is paying off. Orders are coming in and so is your income stream. On the other hand, you are realizing that you are missing quite a few opportunities simply because you don’t have time to pursue them.
There comes a time in the life of every small business when its owner has to make a decision. Do I keep doing everything myself or is it time to hire an employee? How do I know when the timing is right to make that leap of faith?
Here are five questions to consider before making the decision to hire someone.
1. Are you turning customers or new business away because of your workload?
It’s great to be busy, but there is “busy” and then there is “overwhelmed.” Do clients complain that they have a hard time getting a hold of you? Is quality suffering because you are too busy? If you are regularly turning down work despite the fact that you are working full-time-plus hours, it is time to get some help.
2. Do you have enough of a revenue stream to pay an employee?
Remember you can start small. Many start-ups begin with a part-time virtual assistant for the time-consuming tasks that are bogging their owners down. For instance, you may be able to hire a freelancer to handle some of your office tasks for only five hours a week at $15 to $20 per hour. That’s only $300 to $400 a month.
After you see how things progress with your this business relationship, you can increase that person’s workload or bring on another person to handle a different task.
3. Are you losing your enthusiasm?
When you do everything yourself, it is easy to lose focus. You may feel drained by all the many responsibilities you have and be questioning why you ever went into business for yourself in the first place. Hiring someone to work with you can be energizing. Not only can an employee free up your time to work more on what you enjoy, but by explaining what you do to someone else, you can gain a fresh perspective on your work.
4. What are your goals?
Think about what you would like to see happen with the future of your company. Do you want it to remain a small operation or would you like to see it grow? In what ways? Think carefully about your company’s current strengths and weaknesses. How can you build on the strengths?
By hiring an employee, you will start the growth process. In addition, you will have more time to concentrate on what you are good at — what made your firm a success in the first place.
5. What are the full costs of a full-time employee?
If you need to hire someone to be on staff with you, either part-time or full-time, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with your legal responsibilities as an employer. The Small Business Administration is a good place to start. Visit https://www.sba.gov/.
You will want to learn about state and federal laws for fair hiring practices, setting up a payroll system and the requirements for contributing to Social Security and Medicare and withholding employee income tax. Depending on your industry, there are with laws governing equal employment, sexual harassment, medical insurance, OSHA regulations, wages and number of work hours. You will also want to consider work space requirements, equipment and other office expenses of taking on somebody new.
The National Federation of Independent Business recommends that small business owners create a detailed job description and estimate the cost of that job, including the tangibles (new equipment, supplies, salary) as well as the intangibles (salary, insurance and any benefits). Next calculate the expected reward. How will your new employee increase efficiency by performing more work and by lightening your workload?
Hiring that first employee can be scary for the entrepreneur. You’ve gone it alone this far, and you are used to it. But taking on that first staff member can be an important way to further your dream of owning a successful company.