As an asset manager, I know how to raise money, invest money and go from $1m to $100m – it’s my business. As the British Government’s Dealmaker for India, China, SE Asia I am asked more than any other question ‘how do I scale from the UK’.
What if you could hire anyone to scale your business? What if all the money you think you need from VCs could be reduced drastically because your wage bill will not be astronomical.
A 28 year old sold his company for over $200m, and had relied solely on freelancers for most of the company’s growth and life. That company – hidemyass.com.
The reason most companies need initial funding is to hire people. People cost a lot of money. If you are looking to scale and expand your business getting this right will be critical. But here are some truths:
1. You Can’t Scale Because of Catch-22 That You Wait For Funds to Scale – You Don’t Need a Big Payroll
Warren Buffett, the world’s richest man, employs 14 people. You can go from zero to a billion dollar company in the space of a few years.
2. You Can’t Scale Because You Don’t Know You Can – Company Culture is Less Important Today
Culture is important, but they’re going to have to hit the ground running and believe it’s going to be a billion dollar company and be motivated by the concept, or the incentivisation – and most importantly that they are part of something big and with purpose.
3. You Can’t Scale Because You Don’t Know What Skills You Need
The problem with many freelancer websites is that we don’t know what to ask for. And then we get so much rubbish pitching, and the best often are so busy, they don’t pitch at all. So is it wonder you can’t scale through them? And by the time you’ve vetted them, a couple of weeks have gone, and the momentum is gone.
That’s why I prefer sites which reverse the process. They tell you what they will do for a fixed price. People Per Hour is one such site. What do I love about this? Many are in the UK – like me –so it’s easier when they need to make calls, or I need to be on the same timezone – onshoring!
4. You Can’t Scale Because You Hire To Tick a Box, Not To Succeed
Tom Singh, the Founder of New Look Plc and mentor too me, advised me his secret was to hire people cleverer and better than him. That is easier said than done. I want freelancers who blow my socks off. Most people are too afraid to hire such people, or are happy just to hire anyone.
When I wrote my book on how to outsource well, about a decade ago, I knew then the trick is to have the right attitude with freelancers as you do with full-time employees. They are an investment in your company. Would you invest in them if they were a company? Would you buy their shares? We think freelancers are cheap, so we don’t take the same care. After all we can get rid of them. But what’s the point of making a poor hire, just to tick a box that somone somewhere is working, if the work is second rate.