Grow your business without employing people
When we set up in business we realise that it’s hard on our own – there are lots of tasks that need to be done. That ‘stuff’ is not what we do – it’s our responsibility to do the ‘doing’ in our business – but when it comes to things like finance, marketing, PR, admin and office stuff we can be lost!
The world of business has changed fundamentally and the world of employment in its wake has changed also. Employing staff is risky – can they do the work, is it as good as ours, what about when they are sick or holidays – extra cost for you and no work being done. All these questions and quandaries – it’s a minefield. There is a solution!
Freelancers or sub-contractors can be the answer
You can get any type of work carried out by those that you don’t employ – you only pay for that specific task to be done – no overheads to be considered. The price may appear high on first glance – in comparison to an hourly rate employee – but if you tot up the cost of an employee where you provide equipment, space, all the finance costs of NI, holiday and sickness pay, pension contributions, etc. You can also add the cost of actually employing someone (advertising, interviews, time taken) and getting rid of them if it’s not working out (redundancy, disciplinary procedures, etc) … it soon settles in to be more cost effective.
It is possible to create a freelance team or virtual (because they rarely set foot onto your premises) team that have good qualifications, fabulous skills and a business owner mentality; meaning they will do the work better than an employee because their business is dependent on your success.
Let’s have a look at some of the roles you could consider for your business:
The first step on the finance side of your business. Sorting out your expenses, sending out invoices, paying suppliers, chasing money – the work is potentially endless but essential for a growing business. A bookkeeper should work closely with your accountant so all the figures add up.
That top-level finance support. Accountants can help with strategy and planning so you can be guided as to the best time to buy a new car, invest in new equipment as well as identifying gaps in the business that can be filled by more staff/sub-contractors.
An essential part of any business to get your message out and for you to show up when your customer is looking. So this can include strategists, social media experts, graphic designers, marketeers and even telemarketing experts to source leads. You may look at event organisers to help you put on that client day out, team building days or gala dinner for your business. PR may be the avenue of choice and having an expert to put pieces together and get them published is the path to success.
Usually thought of as the glue that binds it all together. The integral cog of a business that knows what everyone is doing, where everyone is and what needs to be done next! The tasks that can be covered by a Virtual PA (Virtual Assistant) are many and varied including
- Diary and email management
- Making appointments
- Creating documents
- Chasing and checking
- Travel arrangements
- Organising events
- Document transcription
Working with a virtual team
You may then ask what happens when these individuals are sick or on holiday; you’d be left in the same position as an employee. When planning for this, I would always recommend having a couple you can use; they may have different styles or specialities (especially when you consider graphic designers, for instance) or you could outsource to a business that has a team available to you. This enables the consistency and more skills to draw on. This works well for your office support and marketing support (which may well turn out to be one and the same!).
You may well start with building a virtual team that then turns into an employed opportunity – with increased hours or more dedicated support. You may well be able to turn your fabulous virtual person into an employee – stranger things have happened.
Individuals go through different stages of work requirements and that is why many employees turn to self-employment and vice versa.
Getting the right person for the job is key for any business. Just don’t be blinkered into thinking that employing staff is the only option.
The vast majority of small businesses use an external accountant so choosing the right accountant is essential. Read >