An FTE is a “full-time equivalent” and is recognized as 2080 hours a year. Growth can be measured in several ways and one way is knowing if you require more production hours to meet your customer demand. Many entrepreneurs start on a shoestring and perform most, if not all, of the tasks required to produce and distribute their product.
Some have assistance from family members and friends who volunteer to help. It is not uncommon for children or grandchildren to help with some of the packaging, labeling, computer tasks and other duties. Often a spouse will help with the billing or recordkeeping.
These donated hours are frequently lost in the shuffle of starting a business and are seldom documented. Of course, when you are established and have paid staff these hours will figure into budget needs and business reports which require tracking employee hours. However even without paid staff, you should be tracking these hours if you want to truly understand your company.
In addition to recognizing the signs of needing more help because you have more business, tracking FTE has several benefits. If you need to request financing or wish to sell all or part of your business, the prospective investor will need a good-faith estimate of the actual hours required to run your business. They will not have the advantage of your volunteers and will need to budget for paid staff.
So, yes, if you are working on or in your business you are an FTE.