A lot of pros are under the impression that in order to be a success in this industry, they have to expand with a large conglomerate. That is not always the case. It is completely plausible and doable to have a boutique operation that provides more intimate service. That does not mean, however, that you have to do everything on your own. In fact, not recognizing and acknowledging your growing pains is more akin to putting your head in the sand.
You actually have a few choices. Aside from immediately hiring, you can begin bringing in interns and help on the day of the event. This gives you an experienced pool to choose from when you want to bring someone on in a more independent role. You can outsource several services– for example, DJs and designers can have a setup and strike crews and photographers can hire post-editors. Instead of thinking macro to find some to be all the things, think micro and see if you can fill roles that have a major impact on your production.
Those are some ideas, but how do you know you’re quickly approaching that make or break point of your business when you need to bring on help?
Your volume increases. Woo hoo! This is great– it means that your brand is in demand. You will need to build your team with others that represent your brand and values to produce the same service.
Your level of service increases. This is different from having more events. This means you are doing more for your events. Perhaps you need to bring in niche services or experts for specific levels of service for clients.
Your admin days are overloaded. Your behind the scenes are overwhelmed and you’re not faring any better. Onboarding, invoicing, and communications suffer because you don’t have time to tend to it all.
Your production days are overloaded. While you could certainly adjust what you sell to ensure so much does not end up on your plate, you can also price effectively to add on staff for key points in production or the entire day.
You don’t want to work every weekend. Part of growth is to allow yourself some time off while still making money. Having a staff that can work when you don’t is a great way to scale.
You don’t want to work at all. Perhaps you love what you do, but not enough to do it every day, all day. For many growing their business from worker to non-working owner is a goal, with even having a dream to sell their business down the line not being too far fetched.
Wherever you fall on this scale there is. lack of a better term, room to grow. I don’t suggest that this is something you jump immediately into without building a great foundation first. You want to be confident in your systems and workflows so that they are duplicatable for your teams so that they can produce the excellence you are known for.
- Know your numbers. Do not bring in staff until your business can sustain you first before trying to bring on a team. This includes not just their salaries, but also what it takes for them to do their job (additional systems accesses, equipment, vehicles, etc.). This may mean an increase in your pricing.
- Build a profile of traits and skills you want your future team to possess and align with your brand. This makes it easier when interviewing interns and candidates.
- Determine what you want to do and what you need them to do. Dole out responsibilities with clear goals that are understood by everyone involved.
- Know how often you want them to work and how much control you want to have over that work. This will help you determine if you have employees or independent contractors