I run a small business — a plumbing operation — with my husband where I do the administration, bookkeeping, etc. but we are getting too much business and both my husband and I feel we are losing control of the business. We have started to receive customer complaints for the first time ever and I am late getting important documents back to places like the tax office! Our revenue is good but we are stressed out and we now have five staff when we only used to have an apprentice and the odd contractor. We need help in a growing business, so what do you advise?

You have growing pains and you need expert help and it will cost you money but it will save you money and make it possible to make money once you learn to cope with growth. Small business owners make the mistake of trying to pocket too much revenue when they take the risk to grow their business, but it becomes false economy. Make sure you have an accountant who understands your business. Maybe there is a competent bookkeeper who could come in fortnightly to do the books, help you with wages and the important red tape work. If you can set up a system that works and which can kill frustrations in your business, you will keep on growing. You as the office manager of the business need to grow your skill base, and by adding experts, you will improve and so will your work-related processes. For your husband, I recommend some time with a business coach who will help him create systems to KO problems on worksites. One of my coaches looked after a plumbing business where checklists were created to ensure the right tools went to a job and then weren’t left on the job in the afternoon. This meant tools weren’t lost nor were there arguments with the boss and the employee who had to drive back to the site to find the lost tools. Systems can kill frustrations and that’s how you grow a business. We have over 35 staff members and we learnt this via a business coach many years ago, who later became my business partner. I simply advise that if you want success, then invest time and money into getting it!