Business owners who have worked in large businesses know how wasteful many are.
It is a different story for small businesses where every bit of waste means less income and more hassle for you, the owner. For most small businesses, people are either the largest or second largest cost.
It is not unusual for me to meet small business owners who need to hire staff to keep up with customer demands but don’t have the time to find the right people and get them started. But there is a lot of easy and cost-effective help available.
Let me tell you about Colin, for instance, a self-employed plumber contact who wanted to hire staff so that he could start growing his business.
Time to hire?
When I first met Colin to talk about how he could use Ozlop to help him with bookkeeping, he was starting to think about hiring an office manager and a plumber to handle all the work coming in. While it sounded good in theory, the practicalities of bringing in new people was daunting for someone who was already stretched.
Colin had come to Ozlop for help with the bookkeeping because he knew it would be a quick and easy way to free up his time, allowing him to focus on other tasks.
When we discussed his hiring problems, I told him how we at Ozlop use HR software to ease the strain of people management. We use Citrus HR and there are lots of other good systems available,
Like Colin, you may think that buying a HR system may seem as likely as rewarding all new staff with a car in the Christmas bonus, but let me tell you how it has helped us.
Automating people management
Obviously the business of hiring staff needs your attention, but once you have chosen the right candidate, you can use your HR systems to automate much of the remaining legwork – whether that’s sending out job offer letters or, further down the line, tracking staff holidays and absences. It even creates up to date employment contracts, potentially saving money with employment lawyers. The online system effectively becomes your HR department and some providers include employment law advice as standard.
Such good systems also help you adopt a professional approach and make sure you follow best practice. When you combine them with the sort of support that may well be available to you from memberships such as your trade association, local chamber or organisations like the FSB, not to mention from discussing it with other business owners you know, that’s a lot of help.
Colin was initially hesitant to go digital, but after seeing how Ozlop worked to help him stay up to date with his finances he also decided to test whether HR software could have similar benefits.
We are now a year on from our first meeting and Colin is about to go on his first family holiday since setting up in business six years ago and is confidently leaving his team to take care of things.
Just because you run a small business, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the latest technology to manage it efficiently. Without the luxury of a HR or finance department essential business admin will be your responsibility, so you need to look for ways to get the best resources, using the wide variety of cheap yet really effective business software now online will bring huge gains.
If you want to discuss how Ozlop can help you make the most of your time by simplifying your bookkeeping get in touch – you might find we can point you to solutions you haven’t even considered.
David Vine – small business specialist and Managing Director at Ozlop.