Now is the time when most business owners and entrepreneurs are focusing on their business plans for the New Year. The year is new, exciting and full of promise. You have big goals for your business and you are ready to grow!
You’ve got some systems in place and you’ve automated as much as you know how, but you find that you’re still spending too much time working “in” your business and it’s affecting your business growth and you aren’t able to meet your goals.
Chances are it’s time to add a team member.
Maybe you already have a bookkeeper or accountant who does your books and taxes, or a web person who helps you with your website. Those are usually the first team members a business owner works with. Those are great to have, but it may be time to add someone to help with other areas such as marketing or customer service.
It can sound like a daunting task, but the following 3 simple steps will help you get clear on who you need to add so you get exactly what you need.
Step 1: Get clear on what you need help with
When I started my VA business, I offered general admin services. I met many entrepreneurs who told me that they knew they needed my help, but didn’t know with what.
I created a form that walked them through a process to get clarity on what they needed. You don’t need a special form to do this process, but you do need to do this process if you need some clarity.
For a couple of days, keep track of what you’re spending your time on throughout the day. Jot down the task and the time you spent on it, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Make sure you’re tracking this on an “average” couple of days.
Once you’ve tracked what you’re doing, go through each item and answer 3 questions about that particular task:
- Do you enjoy it?
- Does this task take your unique genius to complete?
- Does this task bring in revenue to your business?
For any task where the answer is No for all 3 questions, that needs to be delegated to a team member. Certainly, any task that requires your unique genius needs to stay with you and probably the revenue generating, although you may have a business where you want to add a sales team and then that could be delegated to those team members.
So what about the things you enjoy, but doesn’t take your unique genius or bring in revenue. I would delegate those as well. I’m betting there are enough things in your business that require your unique genius that will take up plenty of your time.
Lastly, make a list of things that you aren’t even working on because you don’t have time, but can be given to someone else to do.
Step 2: Add the team members in the order that will benefit you the most
Now that you’re clear on what you need and what is taking up most of your time, start adding team members from there.
Let’s say that you found that you were spending quite a bit of time working on promotional emails to send to your list or emails for an upcoming product launch. One of your first team members will need to be someone who can set those things up for you.
Spending too much time putting your social media posts together and posting them? Find a team member who can take care of that for you. Are you working too much on answering customer and client emails? Get a team member who is a customer service expert.
Now keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need 3 different people. One person may be able to help you with more than one thing. Also, it’s fine if you do need 3 people. I’m not talking about hiring 3 employees who you have to keep busy for 40 hours a week. I’m talking about virtual team members who can help you take care of these things and you’ll only pay for the time or project that they work on.
You may decide that you need a person for only one project and another person ongoing. For example, if you have some contracts that need to be updated, you might work with one person to do that and then may not need them again. You’ll probably want to retain the person doing social media as that’s something you’ll continue to do monthly.
You don’t have bring all of them on board at the same time either. You could bring on a marketing person first. When your time working on that frees up, you will focus on the things that bring in revenue for your business. As you bring in more revenue, you can add more team members.
So where can you find these new team members? You can always ask your friends and colleagues for referrals. Social media is a great place as well. Who are you friends with on Facebook or connected to on LinkedIn who you can reach out to? Don’t be shy about asking them for references. If someone is going to have access to your accounts and passwords, you want to feel comfortable with them.
A word of caution when bringing a new person on your team, it may sound like a good idea to hire a friend or family member to help you out, but please consider that carefully. I had a client in the past who worked with a family member and the family member had told me that she thought the business owner was already working way too hard and too long and didn’t know how the person would cope if the business grew. The family member sabotaged the company’s marketing efforts at every turn. I also know another woman who isn’t happy with the person doing her social media, but won’t replace her because they’ve been friends for a long time. Certainly, neither of these team members are working towards the business owners’ goals.
Step 3: Delegate, Don’t Abdicate
After you bring your new team member(s) on board, it’s important to let them do the work you hired them to do. By this point, I hope you’ve had several conversations with them and you feel confident in their ability and you’ve expressed your vision for your business and how they fit in with that vision.
Remember though that you are all one team and that it’s your business. Don’t make the mistake of giving someone full reign to do “what they think is best” and to not check in with them periodically. Even if it’s something you don’t know that much about, you still need to work as a team.
For example, let’s say you do a lot of ecommerce and you added a web person to your team. You may not know how to build a website or have a lot of knowledge about shopping carts, membership sites, etc., but you will still want to let them know what you want and what your goals are. Ask them for their opinion in relation to your goals. You might have heard of a certain shopping cart, but they can give you info about others that may work better for you. You will ultimately make the decision, not them.
You don’t need to know how it’s done, but you do need to know why it’s being done and that it is getting done. It can be devastating for a business owner if something happens to that team member and the owner has no idea what they were doing or where they were with the things they were working on.
I recommend having weekly meetings with your team members. You can use these meetings to discuss projects that are in process and to let them know what you’ve got coming up. That way everyone is on the same page, questions can be answered, problems/issues handled and team wins celebrated.
What other things do you think would be helpful when building your team? Please comment below.