A friend of mine recently made a significant hire: a project manager/assistant who is tasked with providing much-needed structure and organization to a fast-growing business that was starting to show the stress of too many customers and not enough time.
The decision to bring someone on board to ostensibly instill some order is a big deal - or even a luxury - particularly for small businesses that operate in lean and mean environments, where employees perform a variety of roles.
At some point, however, hiring an assistant becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity. It's not that entrepreneurs aren't organized or can't do things themselves, it's about setting priorities and establishing the best use of their time.
For a fast-growing business, for example, it may make more sense to have someone handle paperwork, appointments and clients so an entrepreneur or the partners can focus on selling and doing the work. By having someone handle many of the behind-the-scenes and administrative tasks, it can make a business function more efficiently and productively.
One of the realities of hiring administrative and project help is it can take some time to become used to the new reality. Rather than having to do everything themselves, entrepreneurs realize there are other people who have more time and different skills to get things done.
This may seem like a simple thing to accept, but when you have been the cook and the chief bottle washer, giving up some things means changing your behaviour. At the same time, it means getting used to the idea of being able to focus on few things rather than having to spread yourself too thin.
From all accounts, my friend seems to be adjusting quite well to the new reality. If fact, he seems downright delighted - if not giddy - about having someone else doing the work. Hopefully, this will mean he will no longer have to stay up past midnight to respond to client e-mails, create proposals and send out invoices.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting, a digital marketing and social media strategic agency that helps companies create and tell their stories to customers, bloggers/media, business partners, employees and investors. Mr. Evans has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. He is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh and meshmarketing conferences.