A friend of mine recently called me and said that an associate of his was pushing him to hire employees and expand his business. My friend and his partner had only been in business for themselves for three years and seem to be handling the full workload between the two of them just fine. Still having time to travel and spend quality time with their loved ones. Their clients know them by name when they are on site and have an excellent rapport with all of them. They are building their business, growing and increasing their annual income by approximately $15,000 each year. Do you think my friend is ready to expand?If you answered no or not yet, you and I are on the same page. One of the most common reasons for business failure is expanding too soon or too fast. So when do you know when it is time to expand and begin hiring employees? When you can no longer provide 100% quality customer service to ALL of your clients. For example, if you cannot take on new work, you cannot meet deadlines, or there is an increase in your error rate. I’ve said before that growing your business takes time and is nothing to rush into. Hiring employees means taxes and benefits must be paid, more management is needed, as well as other business “headaches”. In order to keep up with the fast pace of running your own business and not burn yourself out from working too many hours, it may be helpful to take up writing. Not writing as in short stories, but writing out your weekly goals. And not using modern technology but with good old-fashioned pencil and paper. Every week I become the ‘John Madden’ of business and write out notes, questions, and even diagrams with arrows and lines on a single, blank, unlined piece of paper detailing my goals for the week. I call it my weekly business plan. For example, obtain 5 new clients, write 2 articles, clean out file sorter on desk, research call answering services, what vendor lists are out there related to my industry?---Google these terms:……, etc...Not only does this allow me to see or visualize my goals for the week, but it puts me in the positive frame of mind to go out and get what I want for my business! One thing you also want to do is make sure this weekly goal sheet lines up with your overall business plan. Be as specific as possible in your goals. You can even create a 2 column do’s and don’t s list for yourself. For example: Do answer the phone with a smile on your face. Don’t respond to emails in anger or haste. And lastly, do not underestimate the power of writing, especially with a pencil and paper! You can use this technique just as well in your personal life. i.e. research classes to take at local college, is online university better choice?, find childcare for evenings, join gym. If you write out your plans you are much more likely to remember it, focus on achieving it, and accomplish it! Happy Planning!