When it comes to size, there are three phases of business in my estimation:
1. Lone Wolf. This is you when you start on your own. For some of my clients they don’t want to ever move past this stage. And, if you build the right business with vacation time and boundaries, this can be a wonderful place. But, know that you will always be bound to the number of hours in the day that you work.
2. Bistro Table Sized. Generally when my employees want to grow, they hire on one, maybe two employees, just enough to have room to enjoy lunch around a bistro table. For some, this is the bookkeeper or housekeeper that they’ve needed—not a true employee, but someone who has freed up your time so you can focus on the revenue and client side. For others it’s a technician, someone who is there to service additional clients.
3. Full-time staffing manager needed. I’ve found once you move beyond five employees, you either need to take on the role of a manager or to hire one. This is a new position one focused entirely on revenue growth and potential. It’s also focused on keeping your employees motivated, happy, and serving your customers at peak levels.
Each of these business phases has it’s own strategy. Who do I hire next? How do I train? How can I scale without sacrificing service? The fact is that you re-write your business model with each transition.
But, there’s one question that spreads across everyone of them. If I am to hire, what makes the right fit? For the next two weeks we’ll be digging into a few articles and ideas that have wildly influenced me, starting with this little article from the World Economic Forum.
The fact is that as service providers we won’t be radically focused by the “Fourth Generation”. But, the skillsets that our employees will need as they deal with their clients will.
1. Complex Problem Solving: Check. It’s not just about walking in and providing a service. It’s about analyzing what the client truly needs, wants and desires and turning that into their ideal experience.
2. Creativity with Clients: Check. Surprise and delight. Two of the most important things we can offer to our clients is the ability to see their needs before they recognize them. It’s the difference between good and great.
3. Creativity in our Business: Check. Have you noticed the old way of doing things isn’t working? When we work with clients some of our ideas are called radical, different, and like nothing else they’ve seen. But, they work, time and time again. From marketing plans to prospect funnels, it’s time to open your eyes to what can happen and be sure to have employees who are creative enough to see the possibility and execute it.
What skills does your next employee or sub-contractor need? The ability to think quickly as they respond to an email? The ability to draw clients back through the door or onto your website in ways you have done in the past? The ability to make a decision without you standing over them?
Think big and make a list for today and for three years from now. Trust me, this may just blow your mind!
With Grit and Gratitude,
PS. Over the next few weeks as we’re getting our podcast up and running, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite articles. Consider it beach reading at it’s finest! This week’s article: The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.