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So, you’ve got through the launch and consolidate phases of setting up and running a small business.

It’s been tough – but now things are on the up. Is it time to recruit? We’re here to give you six sure-fire signals that it’s time dust off your interviewer’s hat (N.B.: if you have an ACTUAL interviewer hat, feel free to throw it in the bin… immediately).

1. You’ve been turning down work for a steady period of time

For months you’ve worked your fingers to the bone, being amongst the thousands of small business owners working over 50 hours a week.

You’ve mastered the art of concurrently taking a phone call, writing an email, making a coffee and sorting out the lease for your office. You could probably deliver a piano rendition of The Apprentice theme tune while riding a unicycle and doing the accounts if someone asked you. You’re a modern day superhero, but it’s time to get help.

If you’re regularly ‘snowed under’ and having to turn away work then that’s a massive opportunity missed. There are lots of options for small businesses to recruit the extra staff they need. One way is an apprentice or intern, with plenty of information and advice available here.

2. You want to run a retainer model but can only service ad-hoc requests

Ad-hoc work is fine, but the real value for both you and your clients can often lie in retainer contracts. A retainer contract can allow you to think long-term for your clients, making the most of their budgets and aligning everything you do for them to a specific set of objectives.

Retainers may not be the right fit for your business and its clients. However, if you’ve been avoiding retainer contracts simply because you’re worried you won’t be able to service them effectively, then it’s time to embrace the faith and recruit while the time is right.

If you wait around too long, that regular ad-hoc work might start drying up, as clients look elsewhere for greater long-term value. Then we’re talking messy breakup, a few salty tears and the very real prospect of having to find some new clients… and fast.

3.  Your customer service standards are slipping

When you started out in business, your customer service levels would have put Mary Poppins to shame – and she really knew how to put other people first – travelling around to help children everywhere when they were most in need. In this loose analogy, the children are your clients.

You were once a magical and loving service provider. We wouldn’t be surprised if you used to descend down from the clouds to cater to a client’s every need and request. Now though, there’s just no time! You’d love nothing more than to give clients more of your attention, but… there’s just so much work to do.

Customer service is vital to the ongoing success of your business and retention of clients. It’s time to recruit!

4. Your ideas are becoming stale

Even the most creative brains and stars of the business world could do with a sounding board to turn an idea into a reality every now and then.

The old phrase divide and conquer has never been more apt and recognising that you can’t do everything yourself is often the first step to achieving business growth. It’s time to be honest with yourself, if you feel like you and your ideas are stagnating in the relentless spiral of your own internal monologue – then imagine what your clients and prospects are thinking. Recruit!

5. The standard of your work is slipping

Your clients partnered with you in the first place because they believe in the value that you offer their business. However, as you know, signing those initial contracts isn’t the end of the story. You need to consistently prove your worth and credibility. If the standard of the work you are producing is starting to slip, it’s a sure-fire sign that you have too much on your plate. It’s time to put that job ad up online.

6. You haven’t had time to look for new business

We believe we’ve saved the best (or worst) till last here. To have a successful business, one of your main priorities simply has to be keeping a healthy pipeline of new client opportunities. If you haven’t had time to focus on this area and cash flow is healthy, then there’s really no excuse not to strike while the iron is hot. It’s time to recruit!

For additional advice on employing people for the first time, click here.

Have you recruited new staff recently? What made you take the plunge? Let us know in the comments section, or send your tweets to @Flexioffices on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.
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