You started your business, took the risk, invested your cash and now you are married to the job you created. If this sounds familiar you are not alone.
I once had a customer tell me, “If you don’t grow big you will never get a vacation”. Such is the life of the passionate business owner who spends as many waking hours as possible in start-up phase to make sure his/her business reaches sustainability. I call it “gas in the tank” in short working capital. Where does it come from? In start-up phase you provide the cash needed to pay the bills until sales reach a level where net of expenses you actually have a profit. Without profit you have to keep subsidizing your working capital requirements. If you are subsidizing you are not yet sustainable, so profits are the key.
To ensure you have command and control over your numbers you have to review your numbers either every day or at least weekly. If you don’t, how do you know you have reached your sustainability target? Sometimes you will know within 3 months of start-up if you are going to make it. Notwithstanding when profits become assured you will know because you are no longer subsidizing the bill payments. The danger is in thinking cash flow not profits are sustaining your business.
When you pass the sustainability test you enter the growth mode of your enterprise because you have honed your financial command and control skills and have added infrastructure that will improve sales and garner greater stability. Sustainability and stability are required for long-term success. At this stage you may still not be taking a holiday because you are still married to the day-to-day supervision of staff and cannot let go of being in charge. If you do not actively mentor someone who can take over your duties you may suffer burn-out. Every business owner needs to recharge their batteries. Taking the time and patience to work with someone you can leave in charge will go a long way to improving your business’s stability.
So when do you hire an operations manager? Just before you go crazy with stress but after you have attained sustainability. If you are frequently angry with your loved ones and people around you take note. Profits improve propensity for growth and are the key to your specific answer to this question.