Starting a New Company: Learn to Allocate Resources
Brooklyn United team
There comes a moment when you decide to start a company.....where you ask yourself the question, am I doing too much?
“I suspect this is something many small business owners will cite, but our do-it-yourself attitude was both a huge asset and a huge liability”, says Brian Lemond of Brooklyn United.
He explains that trying to do it all was costing time and money, and it got in the way of more important issues, such as client gathering. “The classic example, and this is far from the only one, is we had the ability to write software so – rather than relying on professional-grade accounting software and counsel – we built our own system. After years of cobbling together a business infrastructure through trial and error, we woke up to the opportunity cost of spending our time doing that instead of on building the team, clientele, and revenue stream that would help us grow the business more efficiently”.
It can become a problem when you aren’t focusing on your strengths and spending too much time on tasks that someone else could manage much better. It’s not that you can’t balance the company checkbooks. It’s not that you can’t order more printer paper and ink. You can do all of that. But you shouldn’t have to do accounting or office managing when you need to concentrate on creating and growing your product.
There is no shame in admitting you can’t do everything at once. So when is it time to expand, shift employee responsibilities, or how do you allocate resources?
You want to build the optimal team, to create a powerhouse that will take your product further than you ever thought.
Create a job description for yourself
Before you start posting job listings on Monster or Craigslist, claim the responsibilities you own. Include a separate list of tasks that you are currently doing, but aren’t claiming. This list is the starting point of your “employee wish list”.
Create “Employee Wish Lists”
Take a look at the list you put aside in the last step. The tasks that you are currently doing, but taking up too much energy that could be spent on product building is the start of your “Employee Wish List”. Break up different tasks into separate job titles. Depending on the industry and the size of your company, you could be looking for a Marketing Manager and Marketing Assistant, an Office Manager, a couple of Developers, and so on. If your daily duties include lots of coding, and it isn’t exactly your strong suit, bring on top guns that can code the hell out of your product.
For each job title, create ideal candidate profiles and responsibilities. This will ensure you delegate tasks to the right people.
Not every qualified candidate will fit with your ideals for company culture. As a leader, you need to decide what you want your culture to be. Hire the people that are not only qualified on paper, but are also individuals that fit your vision for the company. Consider how you plan to design your space for company culture.
Decide what can be done outside of the office
Are you planning on hiring contract workers or outside agencies? For example, instead of having a PR expert in house, you might decide it is worth your time to hire an agency. Or if you require design work, you could always hire an outside design firm instead of having a creative team full-time. It is completely up to you and the needs of the business. It also needs to be worth the time spent; if there isn’t enough PR or design work to make a position full-time, then outside help might be your best bet.
If you started your own company, how did you allocate resources? Did you hire on a team all at once, or did you bring on people one at a time? How about contract workers? Share your stories!