Knowing when to grow your team can be extremely difficult. The early days of a new startup are exciting times, at least from my personal experiences. Hope and motivation are at their peak and your belief in yourself is as limitless as your energy levels. Many entrepreneurs are strapped for cash, so they rely on “bootstrapping” the business to save money and maximize the variety of tasks that they involve themselves in.
This scenario is all good and dandy for awhile…
..then the fatigue sets in.
When you start to experience some success and take on more responsibilities, you eventually hit a wall. The barrier that I am eluding to has nothing to do with energy, endurance, or passion. It has everything to do with the amount of productive time that a single person can engage in. My moment of realization I can still remember to this day!
I was working to the point of exhaustion without really making any progress. That was when I realized that I couldn’t get to the next level alone and understood why so many solopreneurs hit a glass ceiling on their earnings. (Yes, I am aware that there are people with automated passive income streams that do quite well, so these are not the people that I am talking about here.) This was the moment when I needed to shift my focus from “going” to “growing.” Once I accepted that this must happen, then came the challenge of figuring out the areas that I needed help in. I also had to face reality about the areas that I was never going to be strong in.
I have come up with a shortlist of signs that it’s time to grow your team:
You start running out of time to do what makes you money.
When you have your hands in so many things that it starts causing you to lose money, you need help. If you are turning away clients or opportunities because you literally do not have time to work with them, it might be time to find a rock star virtual assistant. Let someone else do what you don’t need to so that you can focus on what only you can do. Make sense?
If it takes too long to get your content out on time.
If you start to notice that your weekly blog or podcast comes out every two or three weeks, this is a problem. This will also make it very difficult to build any kind of an audience or a following. I have been here myself and it is embarrassing, frustrating, and completely unnecessary. Invest a few hours a week into someone with some content management skills and start building your brand. This is exactly what I did and she is responsible for the content in this very blog post. (Thanks, C).
When your skillset no longer addresses all the needs of your organization.
This is actually a good sign because it means that you see opportunities where you once saw nothing. I recently added an audio engineer to my team because I knew that someone out there could produce a better podcast than I could. I also didn’t have the time to do so any longer (see the first point again). At some point, you will see the need for a strength that you don’t have and you will need to find some who has it (and who is a good fit for your culture). Don’t fall into the trap of trying to learn and do everything yourself. I promise that it will only slow you down in the end.
When you have processes in place that allow you to scale it is time to grow.
Once you figure out a process that works for an aspect of your business, you can teach someone else to do it. Perhaps they will find an even more efficient way to do it too. The beauty of this is you can start working fewer hours and the work still gets done. Now you can focus your time on revenue-generating projects, products, and services. Don’t forget to take great care of the ones that you already have too.
In this book “Go Slow To Grow Fast: How to Keep Your Company Driving And Thriving In A Fast-Paced, Competitive Business World”, author Brent R. Tilson brings to life the classic challenge that all business leaders face as they push their businesses through the conflict of growth and business capability, often referred to as the S-curve life
cycle. Through a fable drawn from his work with hundreds of businesses over twenty-five years of experience, he creates a case study that will take you, along with the characters Frank and Susan, on a journey of self-discovery.
These were a few of the signs that I saw in my own experience, but I would like to hear some of yours. What were some of the signs you saw that told you it was time to grow your team?
Leave them in the comments!