Let’s say you’ve bootstrapped your own a coffee import business. You’ve managed to secure sourcing, get funding, create a marketing plan, and launch a website. Through digital channels and traditional sales efforts, the coffee sells well, and you’re getting to the stage where you might need to make some changes to handle the complexities of growth. Are you ready to hire full-time employees? How do you know?
When the new hire will help generate revenue
Even if you’re a dedicated environmentalist committed to responsible sourcing and ethical business practices, your coffee company isn’t going to survive unless it makes money. If you’re the only person “manning the ship” and you’ve had to turn down work or missed out of capitalizing on a new revenue stream as a result, those are red flags that it might be time to hire. In other words, you’re missing out of extra cash flow and opportunities that might not present themselves again.To adapt, create a list of secondary and tertiary tasks that take up a lot of your time and try to find someone to take on those responsibilities. And consider hedging your risk by hiring a contractor and testing if that person is the right person for the role before making the hire.Handing off tasks that are necessary but troublesome enables you to concentrate on core business objectives and manage growth.
When you’re getting customer complaints
One person orders a pound of coffee and gets an old bag. Another customer wants to order a large shipment but can’t get anyone on the phone. Might be time to consider hiring someone to cover quality assurance and provide extra customer services support. While no one likes to get customer complaints, they’re often a good sign that you’re ready to scale, and you should do so quickly. After all, the cost of customer acquisition is much steeper than the cost of customer retention – and you should do what you can to retain your customers.
When you need someone with specialized skills
You’ve made trips to Central America to get the best deals possible of your coffee. Since then, you’ve handled all of the day-to-day tasks needed to get your business up and running. You run the show. Still, you struggle with distribution and accounting – the former preventing you from expanding into new markets and the later placing you in financial (and, perhaps, legal) risk.Start out by defining the role that you need to fill and then laser-focusing on hiring someone with those skill sets. Look for someone with a proven history of success in creating and maintaining distribution channels for other coffee companies. And seek a reasonable accountant or bookkeeper with a record of helping startups achieve new heights.
When you’re positioning your company to be acquired
Let’s face it, not everyone is in it for the long run – not everyone wants to be the next Starbucks. Many just want to get something going, enable an acquisition, and cash out and move on to something else. If so, fine. Just realize that the chances of this happening with only you at the helm of the company are slim to none. Hiring and training a team of employees enables a potential investor to buy the business without having to worry about running it himself. It also helps raise the valuation of your company.
When you don’t have enough time for yourself
The world is full of stoic entrepreneur workaholics. Many go years working 70-hour weeks and never take a day off or a vacation. Some thrive on the work, while most others risk burnout. If you have only you to rely on it’s difficult to get the time off to rest and try to maintain a balanced life. Hiring and training an employee to handle the day-to-day operations at your company could give you a new lease on life while empowering your team to learn new management skills.
So, Are You Ready to Hire Full-Time Employees?
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