My business partner wants me to hire expensive, experienced staff. How do I tell him no?

Dear Aunty B,

We have been bouncing along on the bones of our arses for two years. We have about seven staff and our costs are finely controlled (thanks to me the CFO.) We are breaking even. He wants to bring in an expensive team of managers (most of our staff are on the minimum wage).

The business has a lot of potential but I think the cost will kill it, and is unnecessary as we are training up our own people. This is causing a lot of tension between us to the point where I think it might break up our partnership!

Can you give us some advice?

Andie S,

Hi Andie,

Guess what? He’s right and you are wrong. What he is trying to do at this stage of your development is import talent and management experience to fast track you to the next stage. The company’s success will largely depend on you developing a highly experienced management team and their ability to train, delegate and expand the business. You keep wanting to stop this process with a focus on costs – and because this is your area of expertise and your mindset it is hard for you to see the entrepreneurial mindset and vision of your partner.

In a way you are lucky, because you have two key positions in place; visionary CEO and cost watcher, and capital driver CFO. Now you need to map out your dream team, work out the costs and develop a plan to phase them in. You may well need to raise some capital to bring in these people, but if your business has potential and you hire the right people they will pay for themselves very quickly.

Remember that great saying? “If you can’t afford the people, all you have is a job, not a business.”

It sounds to me like your partner wants a business and you want a job.

Andie, don’t hold the business back. And if you are really outside your comfort zone, you might need to think about moving on.

Your Aunty B.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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