Today I’m visiting a customer who’s nearly impossible to speak to for longer than two minutes because he does almost everything. There are a half dozen workers in the production area, but my customer – we’ll call him Dave – appears to be the receptionist, purchaser/receiver, work planner, maintenance technician, and accountant. And he still has to be the president. In my admittedly unmedical opinion, it’s killing him; he looks like a rabbit being chased by coyotes.
Dave took the roles on because the economic slowdown forced him to lay people off. But today his volumes are twice what they were two years ago, and he’s still doing half the jobs in the company, in part because he is afraid of adding salaries in times of economic uncertainty.
There is perhaps nothing more important to the startup business than knowing when and how to add the abilities of other people. If you’re afraid to add salary, don’t; why not contract out something? Dave could get an accountancy temp for not only a fraction of the price of a full time worker, but a fraction of the dismay and distraction involved in doing accounting himself. Today’s world of e-commerce can even allow us to find subject matter experts online and task work to them with nothing more than the clock of a mouse and a rush of electrons.
Not only will the work get done, but you won’t be driven to distraction like Dave. Your head is only so big; know when to start taking hats off.