Having a business that is growing beyond what you can handle is an amazing thing. I am speaking mostly to the solopreneur, but this can also happen with any growing team.

However, here is where I believe many business owners (myself included) make a huge mistake: they recognize that to grow they need to hire, so they hire someone to bring in more revenue. In other words, they hire someone to replace the expert in the company. Yes, I am talking about you.

In most cases, the growth of the business is a direct result of the efforts the solopreneur has put in and just as the business is starting to take off, they replace themselves. As the owner of the business, you must wear many hats. Many of which you never prepared yourself for, or even thought of before starting your own business. Ultimately the client is purchasing your product or your services; what you are known for and famous for. Now is not the time to move this high achiever to the back office.

I teach businesses how to be more profitable, so it seems counterintuitive to hire someone that does not bring in money. The instinct and desire are natural; I just think it is wrong.

A much better approach in my opinion is to focus on freeing up more of your time to be the expert that you are! So now that I have criticized your natural inclination, what do I propose you do instead?

Eliminate

Like most entrepreneurs, you probably did not get everything right the first try. You developed your processes over time and eventually settled on what seemed to be working.

However, I think if you were to examine your processes now, you probably spend a great deal of time on things that clients do not find valuable that could be eliminated without causing the quality of your service to suffer in the slightest.

By identifying these things and eliminating them, you can free up a lot of your time to focus on what you do best.

Automate

While you are looking at your processes anyhow, why not see if there is anything here that you can automate? In some cases, you may have already identified areas to automate, but the required software was too expensive for your company at the time. Now though, automation is going to be a lot cheaper than hiring another employee.

A change in process might be necessary to make automation work too, but you will not regret it. Rather than spending all that time following up on outstanding invoices that are frustrating for both you and your clients, why not automate the collection of invoices and ideally get paid upfront? Rotessa is a great solution that allows you to do just that. All my fees are now collected at the beginning of the month before I start any work and I am not left having to chase my clients down for payment.

Applications like Zapier also allow you to create triggers and actions that allow your apps to talk to one another and automate your workflows.

It is important to look at these costs as investments rather than expenses. If you can bill $100 or $200 per hour and free up hours of your time for a fraction of that cost, that is what I would call a no-brainer.

Outsource

Along that same line of thinking, when you cannot eliminate or automate a task, you must ask yourself if you are the best person to do the work. Do you really want to spend another weekend doing your own bookkeeping? Is your time best served by answering questions for prospects or providing high-quality service and developing products for your clients?

In some cases, it makes sense to outsource to a firm that specializes in what they do best so that you can do what you do best. Our firm offers Profit First Bookkeeping services to growing businesses that are struggling with cash flow. We have the expertise and a team that allows us to offer this at a cost far lower than you would be able to do on your own, with the same level of quality. The same can be said about using lawyers, notaries, call centers, etc.

Hire

When it does come time to hire, you want to make sure that you are hiring the right skill set. The cost of a good office administrator is going to be significantly less than the expert in your field. Administrative staff are invaluable at what they do – they can likely do it much more accurately and quickly than you can. They free you up to do what you do best.

Almost anyone that has hired employees, dreams of the day they worked alone. The main reason for this is that employees tend to look to you for guidance on how to do their jobs. While this is clearly understandable, it pulls you away from what you do best all over again!

If you have followed the other steps above, you will already be ahead of the game because you will not be expecting your trainee to perform the work that your company is known for. Additionally, you are going to have to spend some time training your staff, that is unavoidable. However, the more systems you provide for your employees to follow the less you will have to re-teach in the future. When you do a task for them, create a video for them (or the next employee) to watch the next time the task needs to be completed.

Finally, on this note, empower your employees to solve the problems themselves. When they ask you a question, get them to answer it.

Sometimes you may even have a better solution, but unless you want to always answer the questions, let them come up with answers.

Time to Get Started

The goal is not to replace the expert in your business, but to remove the distractions in your business so that you can shine through as the expert. Review your systems and eliminate what does not bring any value, automate what you can, outsource what you can, and hire smartly.

If you are looking to learn more about Profit First Bookkeeping for your growing business, check out our website.