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By Gary Lumby


What’s the Tipping Point I hear many of you asking? Well it’s that moment in time when an Entrepreneur feels that he or she has to make what is probably the most difficult decision they have faced in their particular business to date, whether or not to employ the first person in the business outside of themselves.

Many entrepreneurs start businesses up at home or in a small office by themselves and forge ahead making a hard earned living, often working long hours and with very little if any support. That hard work may mean that the business owner makes a good return out of their business or it may mean that the returns are pretty low with much of the earned income being reinvested back into the business. Hopefully, however, there comes a point in time when sales are picking up and gaining momentum and you are getting busier and busier trying to juggle all of the balls from dealing with clients, suppliers, marketing, finance and administration. You may be doing these very well or you may just about be coping to keep on top of a mountain of work.

It is time to look at your business and ask yourself, do I want a job or a business? Because trust me, you have probably got the former but set off wanting the latter.

If you have confidence in your business and feel that your products and/or services are in demand and that demand is growing, then it’s time to think about what resources do I need to deploy to accelerate the growth of my business.

I haven’t seen many businesses be able to grow without spending money and time in investing in a number of additional resources which will usually include people, physical assets, technology and marketing. Hopefully, you have a Business Plan that you have written, and that details the resources and their costs that you need to deploy.

Recruiting your first employee and incurring the additional costs of PAYE, Pension, Car, Benefits and having to find the right person who you can not only trust but who is capable and has the same values as you is not easy I know. Recruiting is about being thorough and not just choosing the first candidate to come along because you are desperate for help. Going through a well thought through recruitment process, with CV screening, structured interviewing, taking up references and checking with past employees, should be the minimum you follow. I also feel that recruitment is also about following your gut feeling and that you recruit for passion and attitude and then train for skills and knowledge.

It’s at this point in time also that you may want to consider taking on a Coach/ Mentor / NED who can help you make those difficult decisions and also help you with some of the challenges you may be facing such as raising finance to fund your growth, deciding which marketing strategy to follow, helping you with recruitment and of course helping you find new clients and developing new growth strategies.

Often a NED can be a cost effective part time resource to help you bridge the gap between not needing full time help in the above areas and growing the business until such full time resource is needed. They can be a great external and independent sounding board who will support you, challenge you and even be a shoulder to lean upon when times get tough. That’s why choosing a NED with whom you have respect, rapport and trust is as important as choosing your first employee. But both can be life changing and help you accelerate the growth and profitability of your business so that you start working on your business and not just in it.

Gary Lumby MBE FCIBS

Managing Director

Focus on Success Ltd

Providing NED’s to SME’s


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