When first starting your business you do it all—you oversee every aspect of your company. But as things grow, you eventually have to admit that trying to do everything yourself is no longer effective.
However, it’s hard to let go. We asked 12 founders from the YEC to share with us when they knew it was time to hire a manager (or a few managers) to oversee the day-to-day activities of their business.
Listen to Peter and Jonathan discuss where, why, and when you should hire a manager on the fourth episode of The Bcast, Bplan’s official podcast:
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1. When your days are getting longer
If I see a trend in my work schedule where I started to end my day at 6:00, then 7:00, then 8:00, then 9:00, etc., I know it’s time to bring someone else in to take care of the little things I’ve been handling that are now adding up. I make a list of these items as well as other things that don’t need immediate guidance, but more of my final edit or approval, and hire for that.
2. When business development slows down
The big sign for us was when we had a hard time continuing to focus on our business and strategic development. Software development, customer service, operations, and order fulfillment were pulling leadership away from identifying new opportunities and building relationships to make them a reality. We hired more people to help and this freed us to focus on those strategic relationships.
3. When you start a new phase of growth
There are many lagging signs telling you it’s time to hire someone to handle day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, by the time you see the need, it’s way too late. The best time to hire a manager for day-to-day activities is before you start your next phase of growth. Make an operations manager your first hire and you’ll see productivity increase while you’re growing.
4. When you feel overwhelmed
You’ll likely find yourself trapped in a perpetual hamster wheel, focused on tasks that are not a good use of neither your time nor skill set. At this point, it’s time to bring in the help to allow you to focus on the big picture.
5. When more and more mistakes start getting made
When you’re stretched for time, the quality of work (and work-related decisions) will suffer. Because you can’t fully focus, mistakes will be made that will start to cost the business. That can’t happen. And when it does, this is when it’s time to step back and bring in managers and additional hires.
6. When you’re only fixing, not creating
You know you need to hire help when you become a fire fighter—in other words, when you spend most of your days running from crisis to crisis just trying to put out work fires. Look at how you are spending your time: How much of it are you spending creating versus fixing? If you have become a fixer and not a builder then it is time for you to hire help.
7. When you find yourself repeating tasks
An important sign it’s time to hire a manager or outside resource is when you start to repeat yourself. As the founder of a company, each day should be different, from pitching new partnerships to securing investments. If certain tasks are repeating each day such as updating QuickBooks, social media posting, or client management, it’s time to move those tasks off your plate and on to someone else’s!
8. When you know someone can do it better
There’s probably a lot of tasks you can do and do relatively well. It comes down to knowing what you do best and what someone could be doing better. As the founder/leader of a company, you’re likely best served in leading, managing big-picture operations, pitching, etc. Bring on someone who can not only maintain, but enhance day-to-day operations.
9. When you aren’t focusing on the fundamentals
It’s when you realize the business is managing you and not the other way around; that’s when it’s time to hire some help. It can be tough, but a founder needs to delegate the less important functions that still have to get done so they can free themselves up to focus on the key fundamentals of the business.
10. When you’re trying to do everything
Most entrepreneurs suffer from the belief that they can do it all. Recruit and hire people you can trust and who are willing and able to step up into management roles. It is typically easier to promote a manager from within than to find one externally. Promoting from within also provides a greater likelihood of success and helps ensure your company culture remains strong.
11. When you’re unable to stay on top of employee progress
If you find that you are unable to stay on top of each individual employee’s projects and daily tasks, it is time to bring a new manager on board. It is important to give each employee time, attention, and someone who can work with them and check on them periodically. Hiring a manager to do this will give you the ability to focus on running the business as a whole.
12. When your time distribution is uneven
It is time to hire a manager to oversee employees when the majority of your day is spent managing each team. Once your company is rapidly growing, there is a lot more to manage than your employees—like expenses and legal matters. Once you are completely overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis by solely managing employees, it is time to invest in someone who can give them direct guidance.
Have you ever had to hire a manager? How did you know it was the right time?