DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an entrepreneur with a small business. For several years now, I have worked without an assistant because I just couldn’t afford to have help. Recently, I hired one full-time helper, but I realize I need more help. There is just too much work for this one person to handle. Amazingly, during this period of quarantine, my business is growing. We have been working around the clock, it seems, to respond to calls and to handle new business.
I am so grateful, but I am also afraid to add to my bottom-line expenses. After more than two months of working every day including weekends, with no real time off, my assistant and I are exhausted, and I know I have to do something. How can I be sure that I will be able to keep a second person on the payroll in these uncertain times? -- Afraid To Expand
DEAR AFRAID TO EXPAND: Instead of succumbing to fear, do the math. With a bookkeeper or accountant, review your finances and trends in your business. Go over projections for the next year based on your current work and what you anticipate in the coming months. Review what you will need to pay in taxes and in operating expenses. Also, write down where you want your business to be in the next year.
If it seems that you will have enough resources to hire another worker, bring the person on as an hourly, part-time employee. Make it clear to the new hire that this is a test period to see if the person is a fit for your company and whether you have the resources to hire somebody full time.