Growing your business - Kara Lambert

So often I speak to business owners about their ideal business, their dream business. They know exactly where they want to be but they’re stuck. They think it’s an all or nothing thing. Life isn’t black and white nor is it all or nothing. So what is the most common issue I see with this thinking and how do you get around it?

More often than not, business owners want to grow their business, put on new staff, open a new premises, but they’re worried that they won’t have the continuing income to achieve it.

Many businesses think that they need to save up or otherwise have the money/work behind them before they can expand. That’s just not the case.

Outsourcing

This is probably the easiest one to do.

Looking to put a staff member on? Try outsourcing various jobs rather than putting one person on. This way you will also learn what you are prepared to have someone else do and it will teach you, incrementally, what it’s like to have someone else do the work for you.

The most common barrier put up to outsourcing is the cost. I encourage business owners to focus more on what they can get done with that time they’ve ‘bought’ for themselves by outsourcing rather than the cost of the job itself. Look at what you will earn in that time. Think about how long a task would have taken and look at what you could earn in that time. Now how does outsourcing feel?

Contracting

Similar to outsourcing, is using a contracting company to ‘outsource’ the work.

Many business owners I know are looking to put on another staffer and so using a contractor can be a great way to increase staff on an ad-hoc basis until your business grows to the point where you can put someone on more permanently.

Using a contracting company can mean that you’re not responsible for a person’s entitlements, like you would staff, but you generally pay a higher rate in lieu.

Part-time/temporary work

The next stage up from a contractor would be to put someone on temporarily or part-time. Using a temporary position can mean getting you through the busy periods without worrying about what you’re going to do when things slow down. Using part-time staff means that you have more flexibility of knowing that they’re staff but that they will work for a minimum number of hours in a period, which can be increased under negotiation.

The great thing is that this incremental upgrading approach can also be used for expanding premises.

You might look at hiring a room on an ad-hoc basis, then move to a set time/day each week/month/quarter, and then expand that time. You can then consider a more permanent or larger lease as your business grows.

The thing to remember is that this is all incremental, can be expanded, and there’s no cut or dry approach to expansion. Every business is different, you have different circumstances, what worked for your competitor may not work for you (may not have worked for them either and they could be hiding it).

In the end, look at your numbers, consider these options, and realise that even these decisions aren’t set in concrete and you can change them. As awful as it sounds you can let staff go or break a lease, there are always ways to change.

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