You’ve experienced it either on your own or through clients, colleagues, family or friends: starting a company takes courage and hard work. Growing a company is far more difficult. Whether the business is right out of the gate or in a more advanced stage with a few key employees, the time will come when hiring additional staff is necessary for growth.
Entrepreneurs are known for wearing the proverbial “many hats” as they launch and develop their businesses. The same is true of their first-aboard employees. At a certain point, however, they need to delegate those hats to other skilled workers.
How do you know it’s time? Simple – the company is unable to meet demand. Some signs include late orders, poor service and administrative mistakes. Another clue: you must turn down new business to keep up with the client base you already have. Before hiring, though, consider the following:
- Whether you really want to grow into a bigger company.
- Will new customers/orders continue on a regular basis? Could a temp or freelancer cover your short-term needs?
- Can you afford to hire additional employees?
You also must decide what positions you need to fill most. If administrative duties are burdening you or an office manager, expanding your customer service and/or administrative team might be a good choice. If you’re not good with numbers, someone with accounting skills can help. Want to drive more sales? Adding a national sales manager, salesperson or independent sales rep can expand the company’s reach. When it comes to marketing, you can outsource to an agency or social media expert or a combination of creatives to build your brand. The main thing a small business needs, however, is versatility. Finding multitalented, adaptable people who understand and reflect the business owner’s vision is paramount.
What’s the best approach? Entrepreneur recently shared tips for hirers in its article 4 Strategies for Hiring the Right People at Your Startup, written by contributor Brian de Haaff, who has successfully started and sold companies and is currently CEO of Aha!. He stresses the importance of attracting like-minded employees. To do so you’ll need to define your core values as a company and then seek those who have your same work ethic. Look in the right places, such as posting an opening on your own website, LinkedIn and niche career sites. How you interview potential candidates matters too. “Ask behavioral questions,” de Haaff counsels. “Seek to discover how the candidate’s past actions relate to your values.”
Human Resources Expert Susan M. Heathfield’s About.com post Use a Behavioral Interview to Select the Best Employees stresses the importance of writing the job description based on the behavioral characteristics it requires. If the position is for a salesperson who must be an effective networker then request networking skills. During the interview confirm the characteristic with a behavioral prompt. Heathfield suggests, “Tell me about a time when you obtained a new customer through networking activities.”
Prepare to invest in this endeavor. It takes time and money to search for, interview, hire and train a new employee. If outsourcing services is the solution, selecting the best service partner could take weeks, and possibly months for the individual to get fully up to speed. You’ll know when you’ve chosen the right one: you, your employees and your company will flourish.