Building A Team While Scaling Your Business: What You Need To Know

byRachel Steininger

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Does building a team and scaling your business go hand in hand?  Absolutely.  

As an ambitious, hard working business owner, you're probably spending every day engrossed in your business, figuring out how to expand and sustain growth. But what if you could reduce your workload, build a team, and scale your business effectively?  All at the same time.

Certainly sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it? Especially if it can happen without the burnout of doing it all yourself or the troubles that come with poor hires and underutilized team members.

In this post, we'll dive into how you can build a team while scaling your business, including how to plan for who to hire and when, the keys to encouraging top performance, and how to delegate responsibilities wisely.


The Benefits Of Building A Team

You probably already realize that capacity constraints can hold you back from scaling your business, especially when working in professional or legal services or as a creative.  

Building your team will also help you break through the capacity constraints and enjoy the rewards of business growth, ensuring not everything requires your hands-on focus. Ultimately, it creates the opportunity to direct your energy into the strategic growth of your business (or whatever else your heart desires).


Before Building A Team

First, it is essential to acknowledge your current situation before building a team or expanding the team you already have. 

Many business owners, especially those offering a service in exchange for revenue, find themselves in a position where they believe they can do a job faster or better. This mindset often stems from a desire to feel needed or a frustration that others can't do the tasks as flawlessly as they can. 

And the reality is that no employee will ever care quite as much about your business as you do.  They might be the best possible team member, but this is still not their business.

However, realize that holding onto this belief will likely halt your progress at some point. There’s a capacity limit to providing services when you only have 24 hours in a day.  After you max out your time or your rates, you either have to stop taking new clients or stop having any life outside of your business.

But you can solve beyond these perceived constraints.  If you want your business to rise beyond the profitability plateau, you’ll eventually need to rely on others.  While it might take some adjustment, creating a team filled with diverse expertise can benefit your business in the long run.


Your Business Model: The Organizational Chart

A well-drafted org chart acts as a guide, providing a visual representation of the roles and responsibilities needed for a smoother workflow. This chart can help identify gaps, bottlenecks, and who's taking on what role.

Often, young companies (and even the not-so-young) tend to overlook creating organizational charts. But this can become a guide to advancing your goals, building a team that’s focused in the right areas and with the right skillsets.

When you first construct your org chart, note the areas where you're taking up roles or tasks. As a business owner, it is normal to find yourself wearing multiple hats, maybe even every hat. 

However, as your business grows, those multiple hats mean doing a lot of stuff that you shouldn’t be doing.  It means dragging yourself down and sucking up your time with lower value or bottleneck tasks that don’t actually move the needle on the things you really want. 

Given that, it’s beneficial to start delegating these tasks to individuals best (or at least better) suited for them. This way, you are not only lessening your burden but also maximizing the value and enjoyment of your time and making your business more scalable.


Your Four Core Moves:

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division

Building a team is more than just the hiring process.  You have four core moves you can make when deciding what responsibilities you need to hire for or change your team's setup to improve functionality.  

These core moves for building your team include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. 

Addition

Addition entails identifying the services that aren’t there yet or team positions you need to fill to reach your next milestone.  What’s missing or what are you spending too much time doing that would be better served by a new role or function? 

Addition decisions are usually related to hiring which will go into more detail below.

Subtraction

Subtraction is about getting rid of any unproductive activities that are currently occupying your or your team’s time.  Eliminating work and understanding wasted time is one of the easiest ways to generate capacity for scaling your business. 

It’s also about looking at roles or people that may no longer be serving the current evolution of your firm.  The right person/right role alignment is often situation or stage dependent and, while difficult, sometimes we have to move on from people or roles.  

While making the decision to let go of someone is often associated with poor performance, keep in mind that sometimes it’s the business that has changed and the best move for everyone is to release a relationship with grace and understanding. 

Multiplication

Multiplication involves empowering your team, structurally or through leadership skills, to expand their productivity.  This can be done by thinking creatively, working efficiently, and sharing their knowledge across the team.  Or by including automations and technology to ensure focus on high value contributions.

When considering a multiplication move, be sure to plan for the process and skillsets that are need, not for the people you currently have on staff.

Division

Lastly, division is about streamlining.  Consider whether splitting responsibilities or grouping similar tasks together will work best for your processes.  In a young business, generalist roles may be the best move forward.  But as you grow, splitting responsibilities for subject matter expertise can help you ramp up effectiveness and get the most from your right person/right role alignment.

The reality is that the generalists you hired in the early days (like that do-it-all assistant) may not be the right fit going forward. They might not adapt to the structure of a larger organization and their ability to do it all, once so valuable, may not be the thing that takes the business to the next level of growth. 

Dividing roles from generalist into specialist roles can help drive efficiency as well as ensure you have the right people in the right roles to help you scale your business.

Using these four core moves is about maximizing the value of any one individual as well as the business.  Through a better alignment of goals or through mentoring and leadership work, these shifts can make an impact on your ability to scale your business and your personal satisfaction.


Inside the Hiring Process: Filling the Gaps

As you have your org chart and identified key areas you need help with, it’s time to think about the addition move in practice: hiring.

Generalists to Specialists 

One mistake that’s easy to make is lumping too many responsibilities under one role. 

Early stage hires are often generalists, like that do-it-all assistant who keeps you from going insane.  It's valuable to have this kind of Swiss Army Knife in a business with few people and limited resources.  

But as you grow, you'll more and more need the specialists, those with subject matter expertise and an ability to bring focus and a more singular skillset.  It's the specialty tool vs the jack of all trades that will take your business the extra mile.

Identifying Skills Needed

At every stage of growth, it’s most effective to identify the precise skills you need for a particular task and hire based on that.

More than just the tasks that will need to be performed, also consider those skillsets you can train for and those you can't.  Some skills and aptitudes, like writing or attention to detail, aren't easy to train.  Therefore focus on hiring those as well as any values that are important to your business brand and culture.

Other skillsets, like certain subject matter expertise or the way you practice your services, may be easier to train.  While it would be nice for someone to walk in with everything that's needed for the role, understand and prioritize for the fact that if you do have to do some training, it might as well be in those areas where that training will actually be effective.

Options for Hiring

Building your team becomes easier when you open yourself up to other hiring options, not just the traditional employment approach.

Look beyond just the full-time, W2 employee especially if you have resource constraints or you have a short term issue that doesn't need a long term hire.  Though hiring a full time W2 employee often comes with a “now I’ve made it” feeling for the business owner, it isn’t always the optimal move.

Be sure also to consider just how many avenues your have available for hiring. Depending on your requirements, you can hire full-time, part-time, or on a project basis.  You can hire team members as contractors or employees, virtual or in-person, onshore or off, permanent or temporary. 

Getting Help & Resources For Hiring

And neither do you need to do it all on your own.  Virtual assistant placement agencies, like Sparent or their sister company Sparalegal for onshore help or Get Staffed Up for offshore help, can do the legwork, handle benefits and payroll, and even provide some of the training and management oversight.

And if budget is an issue, try doing things on a project by project basis with Upwork or getting a block of time per month with OkayRelax.

Hiring For High Value Delegation

You can also hire for executive level help as much as you can the low value administration work.  

Consider the fractional COO or strategic coordination services offered by Upward Acceleration.  If your goal is to practice your craft and serve more clients, or be the Visionary and thought leader full time, we can help you with project management and setting up best in class systems and processes.  We'll also coordinate with your vendors and create change management initiatives to ensure what you add gets integrated and used in your business and by your team members.


Becoming an Employer of Choice

In this rapidly changing world, employees don't just work for money; they also work for a sense of purpose and belonging. 

By embedding your mission, vision, and values into your work culture and practicing and improving your leadership skills, you make your business more attractive to incoming and current talent.  

Employees also value the upside opportunity.  Providing access to training programs and performance rewards, or even extending an opportunity to be a part of the behind the scenes, helps this part of the equation.  

It can be difficult, especially when you are still small, to offer the same competitive benefits, pay, or advancement opportunities as your larger competitors.  Without this, you risk attracting people who are unable or unwilling to meet the higher standards.

As you get larger, considering getting professional benefits advice or doing a pay study to ensure your role requirements and compensation are in line with the market.  Aim for a competitive pay package, benefits, environment, and upside potential for your employees.

And at every level, remember that better pay will help and going the cheap route will get you cheap results.  But it’s just one piece of the overall picture.  

Make up any pay difference via your culture, the value you place on individual contributions, and be sure to provide advancement opportunities in other ways.  Or keep the competitive pay and add in those components because of the overall benefits of attracting better talent.

As employees demand more of their work environments, and automation removes some of the need for low value admin anyway, it’s imperative that you become an employer of choice. Consider these approaches to not only attract high-quality talent but also increase employee retention.


Delegating Responsibilities: The Big Picture

Delegation is not about throwing random tasks to your team but requires careful thinking about who can best handle the work and who might benefit from or embrace the more challenging opportunities. 

Some helpful hints:

Consider including the vision and context when you delegate as some employees will work best with this in mind and you’ll generate better ideas and critical thinking this way.  

Set check in points when you delegation so that tasks and projects aren’t left to the void of day to day work.  While it might be a priority to you, tasks can easily slip into the ether when faced with client urgency and the “feels productive but really isn’t” tasks like email or the internal Slack channel.

So set up accountability from the outset.  Yes, some people will need it more than others, but if that delegated task is truly important, it’s worth a follow up.

Finally, don’t forget that delegation is a process of communication.  You very likely will be repeating yourself, but with the right training, messaging, and follow up, you’ll ultimately develop team members who think in lines with the priorities and brand values of your firm.


Get Going On Building A Team

Scaling your business isn't just about growing larger or more profitable; it's about becoming smarter, more efficient, and creating a conducive work environment where each member adds significant value. Consider building a team not just as hiring and onboarding but through a series of steps that maximizes the value of your investment.

By understanding your current state, planning through an organizational chart, deciding on core moves, hiring right, and delegating responsibilities, you can build a team that grows with you. Remember, scaling is not a sprint but a marathon, and building a strong team would undoubtedly give you an edge in this long run.

Building a team involves a considerable investment of trust and energy. However, the returns, in terms of business growth, efficiency, and even personal freedom, can be immense. So, start building your team and scale your business to greater heights today!

Building a team involves a considerable investment of trust and energy. However, the returns, in terms of business growth, efficiency, and even personal freedom, can be immense. So, start building your team and scale your business to greater heights today!

P.S. Inside the Upward Acceleration Elite Coaching program, you’ll find an entire training program just on this key process to scaling your business.  So if building your team is something you see helping you reach your goals, reach out and let’s see if the Elite Coaching program is the right fit for you.

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