Do You Need to Hire Someone?
There’s hardly a storefront in town that isn’t hiring. There are lots of factors around this, but I’d like to ask the question about whether you need to hire at all.
I’ll acknowledge right up front that there are certain industries where you need a warm body, on-premise, in-person to keep the processes flowing. But I also know that it’s human nature to continue doing things a certain way, just because we’ve always done them that way.
Queue the 80/20 Principle
In the book by this name by Richard Koch, the author tells the story of being an overworked consultant for a huge consulting firm. He watched himself and the other consultants work 80+ hours per week and decided to apply the 80/20 principle or Pareto Principle to his work. As predicted, his clients started performing better and Richard starting working less. Much less.
So what is the 80/20 principle and how does it relate to your business? I’ll link to a description here, but in short, the rule says that 80% of our reward comes from 20% of our effort. This implies that the other 80% of our efforts are pretty much wasted.
As we find ourselves crunched for human resources, it could be a great time to see where you can apply the 80/20 principle in your business. Start by analyzing the work that you are currently doing and then determining if each specific task needs to be done at all. If it does, can it be outsourced?
Let’s pretend that you own a small insurance agency. You’ve traditionally employed two people in your front office to perform all the administrative tasks that come with running an office. Change happens when one of your front office staff decides to take a position somewhere. Once the panic subsides, start by making a list of the tasks performed by that person. With that task list in hand, determine how many hours per week is spent on each task. Reorder the list by time spent, highest to lowest.
Go for the big ones first to get the biggest wins. For every single task, get down to the “why’s and what’s” behind that particular task. Why do we do this task and What would happen if no one did it at all? If the 80/20 principle is real (it is!), you will find stuff that you have been paying a person to do, that simply doesn’t need to be done at all. Stop those tasks.
Now for the tasks that do have value… they need to be done, but is there a way to outsource them? For example, if one of the tasks is to call clients to remind them of upcoming appointments, find out if it needs to be done at all. Call a sampling of your clients to see if they find value in getting the reminder calls. If every customer that you call, lives to get your reminder calls, ask your clients if they would mind getting an SMS text message with the reminder information. If so, automate that process with an auto SMS service. Continue with this process until you feel that you are only doing work that adds direct value to your clients.
Keep the Goal in Mind
At the end of the day, the goal is provide value for our clients. It’s easy to be doing tasks that don’t add customer value but certainly make the expenses rack up. We are big process and efficiency nerds over here. If we can help you automate a process or figure out ways to become more efficient, please give us a call.
With an undergraduate degree in Applied Management, a graduate degree in Business Administration and as a doctoral candidate in Organizational Psychology, let’s just say that business and leadership are Wil’s passions! He is also a small business owner who understands the rigors and joys of business building.