With this month being all about finding balance, we wanted to touch on the importance of knowing when you’re ready to grow your business. As small business owners, we often start out with one single employee–ourselves. But, as time goes on, our businesses need to grow–whether that means in terms of adding more people, finding a bigger space or taking on more clients–in order to see their full potential. So, read on (and get ready to kiss those daunting growing pains goodbye).
Are you beyond overworked?
Chances are, most of us are overworked. As business owners and event planners, it simply comes with the territory. But there’s a fine line between being overworked and being really, really overworked. (I like to measure it in the number of glasses of wine I feel the need to drink each night after work. Anything over four, means I’m definitely beyond overworked.) When you get to the point where your being overworked begins to affect the business (you’re too tired to think in the mornings because you spend so many late nights working, you’re having to cut client meetings short to rush to more client meetings, etc.), it’s probably time to think about expanding your team or enlisting some help. If you’re just starting out and juggling everything on your own, that’s to be expected. But if you’re years in and aren’t delivering the client experience you hope to because you’re still all things to all people, consider hiring some new team members.
And, don’t worry, you don’t need to jump right in by hiring a full-time team member if you’re not quite sure about it yet. You can always test the waters first by hiring a part-time intern to help with administrative tasks. From there, you can start to get a good idea of just how many hours that intern is shaving off of your week and how much you can afford to pay others to do the same.
Are you tackling tasks that aren’t in your expertise?
In the beginning stages of our business, we’re all things to all people. We’re the intern who gets our coffee, we’re the administrative assistant who answers phones, we’re the social media manager who updates Instagram AND we’re the expert wedding planner who plans and executes it all. But, as time goes on and as our business grows, we should be able to settle more definitively into the role of wedding planner and transition out of the role of office intern.
Our roles as planners won’t ever be 100% clear-cut. We’ll still have to tackle tasks that we’d rather not no matter how old our business grows. But, think about the tasks that are taking way too much of your time–those are the ones you need to hire experts for. If you’re a slow writer and find it’s taking you an eight-hour day to develop a short blog post, you need to hire a writer. Or, if you’re years into your business but still find yourself spending hours in Photoshop to create a graphic for your website, it’s probably time to hire a graphic designer. Again, you don’t have to hire a full-time employee right off the bat if you don’t want to. Try hiring a part-time designer or contracting out your design job or two until you’re confident that hiring a full-time designer is the right choice.
Does your space reflect your work?
Outside of growing by adding employees, sometimes we need to actually physically grow our office and/or studio space. At the beginning stages of our business, it’s fine to work from a cramped corner in our home, but, as time goes on, the space you conduct business in should reflect the work you do. If you’re planning killer weddings for high-end clientele, your studio should somewhat reflect that.
This doesn’t mean you have to splurge on a rent you can’t afford simply to impress clients, but it does mean you should look at the best option for your budget and employ your own tricks of the trade (you’re a wedding planner, after all!) to spruce up the space. Move from that messy apartment “office” to a freshs studio downtown and you’ll be surprised at how much the space you work in affects your mindset and all-around productivity.
Overall, knowing when to grow can be tricky, but it all comes down to knowing what’s best for your business and knowing what will positively affect your client experience and your personal work/life balance. As long as you keep the success of your business and your personal happiness (or at least sanity) at the forefront of your mind, you’ll make the right decisions.