Twice in my career, I was the first hired employee in a small high tech company. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was the first high tech professional employee. In both times, the owner hired an office manager before hiring me. I cannot stress enough how much the role, of office manager, is important. In my post "The most important hat you need to wear in your business" I wrote how important it is for a business owner to be a manager, to work on the business not in the business. Yet, small business owners have many tasks that consume time and should be delegated. Most small business, owners, works in technician mode. They work in their business as professionals while doing many important yet sometime annoying (for them) tasks: writing invoices, collecting money, connecting with new potential customers on LinkedIn, and more.
"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out." Ronald Reagan
As business owners there are some tasks that only you can do (for now) – business development, mentor new employees, build a repeatable system, give value to customers, manage your finances and much more. In order to make time to focus on these important tasks you need someone to take the other important, yet time consuming, tasks away from you. You need to hire an office manager to help you and you need to do it now. Delegate and you will be free to work on the important staff, where you give added value.
Great office manager can become your right arm in your business.In my last position as CEO, the first office manager became CFO of the company while the second one became sales and marketing manager. Great office manager can grow in the company, and become a manager in the company.
In first years, while business is still growing, and you can't hire a professional– HR, Finance, Operations, your office manager will do these important tasks.If you don’t have an office, you can hire a VA – Virtual Assistant that works from home. You can hire VA for some of the tasks, not all of them, for a couple of hours. My suggestion is to start with sales and marketing tasks – manage social media, and build your sales funnel.
When you have few employees and maybe a small office, it is better that the office manager will work from your office and start to create a sense of home for the employees. Your first office manager must be very competent to deal with so many important tasks. Here are some skills that are important: be articulated, have interpersonal skills, good time management, and knowledge of MS Office (or similar). Someone with experience might be preferable.
Here is an example of office manager task list:
Verify that customers pay on time and collect debts
Produce new invoice Manage social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter )
Manage Google AdWords
Be in charge of posting new posts
Manage potential clients
Take care of gifts for employees Birthday
Arrange office holiday parties and gifts for customers and employees
Post new job offers and make preliminary screening
Buy office supplies
If you want to grow your business, you must work on your business. You must choose the tasks that only you can do as a leader. To be able to be free to do that, you need to delegate, and hiring office manager is a first blessed step toward that direction.