Scaling up sustainably: Grow your team without overcommitting

Scaling up your business

Growing your small business into a team enterprise can be daunting. The amount of work coming in will tend to surge and retreat, leaving you alternately overworked and underworked – you don’t want to commit to an employee when you’re not certain of your workflow.

How can you manage workflow surges and get the help you need, without overcommitting to staff costs?

Start with on-demand assistance

The first step might be to outsource some of the jobs you least like doing, or during your busiest periods. That might mean using a local freelancer or finding an offshore service to take over your social media, for instance, or your invoicing. Those services can be an affordable way to get on-demand help when you need it, giving you the ability to drop that cost at any time if your workflow drops away.

Can you take on an apprentice?

An apprentice can be an extremely cost-effective way to get an extra pair of hands. A wide range of trades can participate in apprenticeship schemes, including construction, engineering, beauty, farming, tourism and sports. Apprenticeships are currently free for apprentices and subsidised for employers by the Apprenticeship Boost. You’ll need to train them and pay them at least the minimum wage.

For those who aren’t in a trade, an intern could be an option to help over the summer or uni holidays.

Contractors and part-timers

Using contractors and part-timers also gives you some flexibility when it comes to growing your workforce. Contractors are usually more expensive, because they need to pay their own employment costs of ACC, holiday pay, sick pay and so on. The advantage of contractors is that you can pay for the expertise you need, when you need it.

Part-time employees are more of a commitment, but you can build in some seasonal or work-based flexibility on their hours – and they’re less expensive than contractors.

Once you are successfully managing contractors or part-timers, you’ll have a better understanding of when you can make that jump to a full-time employee.

Managing the team as you grow

When you’re responsible for a team, particularly when they’re working on diverse projects for a range of clients, you’ll need a way to manage them effectively. SME is partnered with simPRO project management software, which is designed in New Zealand to meet the needs of local businesses, and lets you do your invoicing, quotes, field management and project management all in one place.

If you need some advice about sustainably building your team, we’re here to help. Get in touch and we can run the numbers, consider the pros and cons, and give you the information you need to make the best decisions for your business.