Overcoming small business growth challenges

Some small business owners make the decision (knowingly or unknowingly) to remain a one-person-show.  If they’re happy with their income and the number of hours they put in, then this might be the right choice for them. But for anyone who wants their business to grow, the reality is they will need to hire more people. The decision to hire additional help is not without its struggles. We have coached many solo-preneurs and small business owners through this transition and have heard their concerns of, “I have hired numerous people and none of them were any good” or, “I can’t afford to hire people to grow my business”.  

Is it truly reasonable to suggest that there aren’t any good people out there, or that there is no one looking for a part-time opportunity to grow with your company? We don’t think so.  Somehow the competition figures it out. From start up companies, established local companies, to giant corporations – they all grew by hiring the right people. Growing your business is an achievable goal and it is the foundation of a successful small business – but how can you do this effectively?

The perfect employee for your small business

Learning how to find and hire that first perfect employee takes time and commitment, but it can potentially DOUBLE your workforce.  Imagine being able to take a vacation again.  Imagine uninterrupted evenings with your friends and family.  Hiring that first solid employee is the gateway to owning a high performing business – and at the end of the day, isn’t that something every small business owner wants?

Steps to hiring the perfect employee

  • What’s your budget? First off, you have to have a clear idea of how much you can pay – since that will define the role/position of your new hire. The need does not necessarily reflect the reality of who you can hire.  You may need to consider starting with someone that can perform many of the basic functions you require in a part-time capacity. Down the road, when revenue increases, you can bring on-board the professional you had originally envisioned would help you to really grow your business.  One of the mistakes our small business clients make is they look at the wages they pay to their employees as an expense. Indeed, the actual money you pay for wages will show up as a financial expense, but if it frees you up to do more of the things that will ultimately earn more money, then it needs to be seen as an investment.  Never miss the opportunity to hire someone at $20 or $30 per hour for support work if you can get three times that in return by being free to do more work with your clients.
  • Create a job description for the position: With the wage range in mind, create a job description for the position.  In most cases with the first employee versatility is paramount, but don’t allow that to prevent you from specifically defining the responsibilities of the role. Remember to review each candidate to see how well they responded to change in their last positions.
  • Create the list of requirements for the candidate: Often, defining the expectations can be best summarized by describing what you (or another person) did in performing this role.  When it comes to describing what we do – the tendency is to underestimate our skills and abilities. This leads to the belief that anyone can do it.  Be sure to clearly define the skills, experiences, and education that would be most beneficial for the position within your company.
  • Post the advertisement: Choose the platform in which to post your job posting. Depending on your geographical location, you may want to compare costs and audiences of each medium as well as where you believe your target candidates would be looking.  While many online resources may be free, they could also be very general and drive lots of unqualified applicants to your door.  Quality is definitely better than quantity in this case – as it takes time to process the submissions.
  • Screening resumes and interviewing applicants: This may seem like a daunting task – especially if the number of applicants is greater than anticipated. The key is to be clear as to what education or experience is really valuable and quickly weed out those applicants that don’t meet the minimum requirements. You may want to bring in a third party during the interview process to help you assess each interviewee’s skills and motives.

Solid small business growth will take time and a good plan

Recognizing that the chance of that perfect employee being on the sidelines looking for work at the precise moment you are hiring is unlikely; hiring for your small business will take time but it is worth it.  The point is: It will happen when it happens and working harder is not necessarily working smarter in this case.  We always tell our small business clients that a slow and consistent game plan for advertising, screening, and interviewing will pay off in the long run. Sometimes we need to slow down our business growth in order to speed up overall.

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