I currently do everything, but really need to start bringing in help. I just celebrated 10 years of successfully running my design and web dev firm. I've got a list of contractors who do design work, programming, copy writing, and other tasks that build the products that my clients pay me to make for them.
Where I struggle is that I have to be involved in every little thing, and I really only want to oversee the general growth and success of my company in its second decade.
Where do I start? When you are the one person 'wearing all the hats', what is the smartest investment in hiring a part- or full-time employee? In other words, what tasks should I push off to a lower cost person so I can start to realize my next goals?
I need to free up more time to sell more, grow more, and increase the business profitability.
Right off, I feel that either a production manager or a general assistant would be good. If you've been through this in the same or a similar industry, I'd love to know the path you found to free up time and work fewer roles in your business.
I used to design and manage complex business processes in the large BPO industry, I'm a fan of efficiency.
After I left the industry I bought an offshore service based software development and digital marketing company that was probably pretty similar to yours.
Fundamentally the best answer comes down to how you want to run your company, specifically what YOU want to spend your time doing.
I'd recommend checking out Basecamp.com
By the time I sold my company I was managing 3-4k hours of project work almost exclusively from BC with 20-25 hours of effort per week....it's pretty great.
AUTOMATION, AUTOMATION, AUTOMATION, virtual assistants are great, but if you focus on eliminating their need you'll end up with better quality services at a lower cost.
Time to read Gerber's E-Myth (go to Youtube and search for it for a 45-minute overview).
It can be adapted for service businesses: you've got to write down the processes, and the milestones and guidelines for injecting your "Eleven Secret Herbs & Spices" that are the reason your clients choose you. That way, anyone can produce the same results.
In a creative business there has to be room for smart people to figure some things out for themselves. But they operate inside the framework you set out.
Think IBM. Somehow Watson got all those people to behave the way he wanted, and deliver the service he imagined...without him having to be there on each visit.
My accountability partner in the UK just had this problem. He was doing every single task and was wanting to scale out of the minutia. Here's what I told him, there's three simple steps to begin the transition:
Step 1 - Build the systems. Are the systems currently done by robot and automation (can we convert to robots and automation if the answer is no?) or humans?
Step 2 - Right People Right Seat (read Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive) - you want to get the right personalities on the bus. I recommend you go with Culture Index or Predictive Index to bring in the right people (I can help you here if you need)
Goal: Hire top performing personality based sales, management, engineer and design talent.
Step 3 - Implement people in role. Invest time into them so they are very comfortable in role, can excel at role. Exit out of task and system.
Step 4- Repeat next system & task
I'd love to help you out and give you a free demo on Culture Index. You'll be amazed on how it identifies the best talent. Call me and let's demo your current contractors and employees.
Congratulations on your growth! Ten years growing a business is an amazing achievement. My opinion, as an HR Professional, and entrepreneur as well, is to start by tracking your own time and see where you spend most of your hours. You can then analyze what activities you feel you can outsource or train an employee or contractor, and what strategic areas you want to continue performing yourself.
Job descriptions are important as are documented processes as it makes it clear who is responsible for what activities, and creates efficiency for allocating workflow. I think it is key to outsource the stuff that is not core to your business like marketing, HR, accounting, and to keep in house through employees activities that are client facing like the programming, copy, design work....things that differentiate you from your competitors, and make you stronger. So in summary start with:
1) a staffing plan for 2016
2) Time activity analysis
3) process documentation and job descriptions
Good luck. For HR tips and free training (coming in 2016), check out our website www.highertalent.ca.