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18th January, 2016
To staff, or not to staff? That is the question ….
So you’ve been running your business as a one-man/woman show for a while now. Things are picking up, word of mouth is spreading and business is good. In fact, things are going so well that there’s a chance you soon won’t be able to go on alone any more. It’s time to start thinking about taking on staff.
Making the leap and becoming an employer is a daunting step and being responsible for another individual’s ability to put food on the table isn’t something you can take lightly. Then there’s also the logistics to be aware of: tax and book-keeping implications, cashflow concerns, holidays, pensions; the list goes on.
The aim, of course, is that taking on staff helps an enterprise to grow revenues and improve profit. So let us look more closely about how you can give yourself the best chance of making it as a boss – and helping your business fly high in the process.
Do you have the time to manage?
If you’re taking on a second member of the operation then you are going to have to act as line manager, and that means offering a guiding hand when required. If you are lucky you will find someone who knows the field already, although that sort of experience is obviously going to cost more than hiring someone young and inexperienced who is eager to learn. Either way, you’d best be prepared to put aside your own workload, answer questions and be a mentor for a while.
Can you afford to pay staff?
One of the simplest but most important questions you need to ask is whether or not the business is making enough to support another wage. There’s also the question of just how much you should be paying the person you need for their time and skills in order to attract the right talent. There’s no point in hiring someone unable to bring anything to the business. Before making decisions on when and who to hire, you need to know exactly what you can offer and what you will expect in return.
Do you know your responsibilities?
Taking on staff will entail entering a contract – both literally and figuratively speaking. You have a duty of care to your employees and there are certain things you need to provide to make sure you are a good and fair employer. For a start you’ll be responsible for maintaining their place of work, equipment, managing the hours they keep, allocating holiday entitlement and holding the fort when they are sick. To understand the full extent of your responsibilities a bit of research, advice and even a consultation with a legal professional may be required.
Will they bring money to the business?
Yes it sounds a bit blunt, but there really isn’t any point taking on staff if they don’t contribute to growing the bottom line. It is down to you as the employer to consider how you want to deploy your staff most effectively to achieve success – be it bringing in leads, selling direct, generating ideas or simply offering billable time. Always be sure to give yourself breathing space when it comes to margins, though. The cost of hiring a staff member goes beyond an hourly rate.
Consider all of these factors and prepare accordingly, and you could find that your staff members become a huge asset to your business. And they may even allow you to re-establish the work–life balance you always promised yourself when you first set up!
Written by Carole White, CEO, TEDCO
You may have a new business idea which includes the need for staff at start up or the very early stages of trading. If so, the above considerations will still have to be made. You may be eligible for support and advice under the Start & Grow programme. Contact your local agency to find out more.
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