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Productivity / Growth

Biz Growth: Solo to micro without headaches

If you’re going it alone but getting busier, there are cost effective ways to bring on help. Let’s look at the options available to you.

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1. Volunteers

When I first started my business, one of my friends volunteered her time to help get my business off the ground. She is now a paid employee. At the start I didn’t have money for salaries – not even my own.

Taking on volunteers is a great way to kick start your business, and friends and family are usually happy to help. However, be aware that you are still legally required to provide a safe place of work for them.

2. Temporary employees

Temporary employees are usually hired through a recruitment agency for tasks such as reception, finance or administration. You typically pay a marked up rate of between 30 to 50 per cent on their hourly rate, but the advantage is quick access to skilled individuals who start and stop work as required. You only pay for what you use.

3. Elance or oDesk

The world is getting smaller and it is much easier to get tasks such as PowerPoint presentations, video editing or even copywriting done in the virtual world. You still need to read reviews and supply carefully-prepared briefs, but this type of resourcing is growing, and fast. It enables you to get work done at a much cheaper rate than you’d pay in Australia.

"When I first started my business, one of my friends volunteered her time to help get my business off the ground. She is now a paid employee."

Want more articles like this? Check out the growth section.

4. Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are usually brought in for a set piece of work, but remember, these individuals are not employees and are legally able to outsource your work to one of their team members or even externally. You are paying for an outcome not how the work is completed.

5. Part-time permanent

I believe that there is generally a negative feeling about part-time employees, with some people thinking that it’s more hassle than it’s worth. I disagree. Depending on your business, having a part-time employee enables you to tap into skills that may otherwise opt you out of the market.

6. Full-time fixed term

Full-time fixed term gives you the ability to bring on someone with all the benefits of a permanent role, but with a contract end date. For example, if you’re not sure that you can fund someone long term, simply offer a six month contract at which point the contract expires, or you extend with another fixed term or a permanent role.

Growing solo can be tough, but these options may help you grow faster while keeping your sanity! Remember, think about your workforce mix – it is not restricted to only permanent, full-time employees.

Do you hire employees or outsource work? Share your experiences here.

Natasha Hawker

helps SMEs understand the challenges their businesses face and unlocks the mysteries of effective HR. She is the co-owner of Employee Matters and author of From Hire to Fire: Everything in Between".

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