The position that every small business owner is dreaming of being in is fully booked! And then reality checks in, being fully booked means that you have to turn down new clients??!!

Being a small business owner is never easy, and I can tell you now it is also not going to get any easier.

The problem you are facing is then that you don’t have enough time for all of the new business and you really don’t want to upscale your business. Well there are always different ways and means to solve problems, especially good problems like having too many interested clients.

Starting at the beginning it is important that you are realistic about your capacity (and don’t consider your capacity based on every working hour of the day – you need rest and have family time as well). I am going to say that again – be R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C! It won’t help you get any closer if you lie to yourself about how much actual time you have on your hands.

There are a few tips and tools to help you manage new clients and new business when fully booked:


You have to absolutely manage the timelines of your current clientele. If certain tasks can be scheduled for a later date to be done then adjust the timelines. Or breaking up certain projects in deadlines for different dates so that you can accommodate new project dates.



In South Africa, there is a huge entrepreneurial base that work can be outsourced to. Such as designers, social media managers, content creators and free-lance writers. Consider the tasks that ONLY YOU can do and the tasks that can be outsourced and just signed off by you.


This is where I can help you manage your new clientele by outsourcing work:


  • Always protect your IP! If you are going to outsource the work then have your IP protected by a Non-Disclosure Agreement or, and preferably an Independent Contractor Agreement.
  • Also have an Independent Contractor Agreement that regulates what, how and when the job needs to be done. This also regulates the payment structure. You don’t want to have an independent contractor doing the work and then sending you a bill for an amount that is more than what your client is paying you.

The bonus of having an independent contractor on hand is

  • You can outsource work and certain projects
  • You don’t have someone on your payroll permanently and don’t have to deal with all of the Employment Issues that go with employing someone.
  • If the independent contractor is not available for the project you can have other independent contractors on standby
  • Or you can even outsource different elements of the project to different independent contractors



Whatever you do – do not commit to deadlines that you cannot meet or where the product delivered is not up to standard with your other work. This can be detrimental to your business.


Clients also understand that you run a small business and certain time limitations. It is in my opinion very professional of a person to advise me that they currently do not have capacity but then try and manage the expectations and deadlines with me.


Be honest with your clients about when you would be able to help them with and then also by when, if this doesn’t meet their expectations then have the handy independent contractor in the back of your mind to make sure that you can actually meet the client’s expectations.



Conclusion when fully booked


Ultimately you need to grow your business and it doesn’t always help to say ‘no’. It does however help to be proactive and have the right people and paperwork done for the sticky times when you need to perform under pressure. Don’t wait until wait until it is too late.