by Lois Creamer
The phone rang at 8:01 AM in my office a few months ago. A very familiar voice said, “It’s time”. I knew what he was talking about, since we had been discussing the pros and cons of adding a staff person to his business. I asked, “How do you know it’s time?” He replied, “When I punched my long distance access code into the microwave to heat up some coffee, I knew I needed help!”
“Is it time for me to hire staff”? It’s the question that I’m asked the most. The best answer I have is simply this: “Hire staff when it is costing you money NOT to do so.” You must ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time?” Also, ask yourself the following:
- Business growth: are you spending all of your time doing everything yourself? Do you have time to devote to the creative aspects of your business? If your business is growing, you had better grow with it. Remember that a viable business is one that is in constant movement. Sometimes this means adding an employee in response to new needs.
- Positioning: do you even have time to consider positioning in your market? Are you able to put enough time and effort into building the relationships you need with clients and bureaus? If not, your competition will!
- Opportunity: are you missing opportunities to do things like attend NSA events, create or update your web site, develop and market products? Do you have time for professional affiliations beyond NSA? If not, you should!
- Money: when you have $45,000 in collectibles you haven’t had time to invoice, IT’S TIME!
- Life balance: this is not just a catchy phrase, it is your life! Being overwhelmed with work can be like trying to fit a size 12 foot in to a size 8 shoe! Do your children think you are an intruder when you walk in the door?
- Image: this is not an arrogant consideration. Could you be better positioned in your market if you had staff? If you talk on team building but have no way to relate to it with a personal story, what does this say? Could you be more effective and would your audience have a more empathic response to your message if you had staff? If your topic is customer service, and if you are not responsive to requests for information, what does it say about you? Do you “walk your talk”?
- Finally: are you working more but enjoying it less? Only you can answer this one, however, realize that if you aren’t finding joy in what you do, your audience will know it, and it will kill you.
As you may know, I used to be a staffer myself. I think this qualifies me as being a total “know-it-all” about all staff related matters, don’t you? OK, maybe not everything, but here is something I do know. Once you bring someone on board, remember this: If you want to be the best boss possible, never forget what your staff person really wants, namely, to make a difference. The following true story illustrates my point.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain, winner of the prestigious Baldridge Award for quality service, is famous for it’s customer service policies. Here is why. Every employee from cook to waiter, to hostess to janitor, can spend up to $2,000 on the spot to fix a guest’s problem. Now, do you think that employee feels that he or she is making a difference? That’s what I call empowerment! I know managers in large corporations who can’t spend a dollar without several people “signing off” on it!
Don’t underestimate the power of giving someone authority. After you have found your staff person, make sure he or she feels appreciated and important to your business. If you do, a wonderful dynamic will take place. You will have a business partner, not just an employee.
Is it time for you to hire a staff person? If it is, your goal as a business owner must be to nurture and lead them so that they may feel a sense of ownership in your business. Are you up to the challenge?
Copyright Lois Creamer, Book More Business. Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business and make more money. She can be reached at 314.822.8225 or www.BookMoreBusiness.com.