One of the challenges in growing your business is finding the right balance of staffing and capacity. Hiring prematurely directly impacts the bottom line. If business fails to materialize, you may be faced with the uncomfortable scenario of downsizing newly acquired personnel.
Waiting too long may mean forfeiting sales opportunities as you try to fill essential positions. Worse yet, the delivery of substandard service levels could inflict lasting damage on the business. So, how does you navigate the intricacies of staffing in anticipation of growth? Here are a few tips:
Review what each team member is working on. Reallocate responsibilities so employees have more time to work on the most important projects. Be willing to let less critical things fall by the wayside until you add staff. This is a place where project management software tools can help you keep a handle on everyone’s workload.
Review your process:
Just because you have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you need to keep doing it that way. Often when people do a job for a long time, they build habits and routines that may not really be necessary. Evaluate your processes. Look for ways to streamline, eliminate unnecessary steps and reduce the number of people who are involved in the process. This is a place where automation software can be helpful.
Use time-saving technology to help manage customer contacts:
Not every function can be automated, but some things can. From CRMs to auto-response email tools, there are ways to create the illusion of intimacy while reducing the number of hands required to make the connections.
Overtime in limited doses is a great investment.
If you are unsure that your current spike in activity is sustainable, offer your employees the option to work a few extra hours each week. Pay them at overtime rates and account for the overtime separately. This gives them a chance to earn a little more money but be careful. If you do it for too long you will burn out your best employee. If your overtime consistently runs at 15 – 20% of your payroll, you are probably ready for a new team member.
Evaluate your pricing.
If you can only handle 10 clients and you already have nine, it is time to raise your price. You may make fewer sales, but each one will be more profitable. Then it will be easier to afford the increased staffing that lets you grow to the next level.
The key is paying attention to your business, studying trends and making smart investment choices when the time is right.
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