Are you the proud founder of a growing small business? Congratulations! You’re making it happen!
But you probably also know that keeping this up means you’re going to need some help to make it keep happening. Where do you begin?
There are many factors to consider if you are thinking about hiring a new team member to get things done more efficiently. The process should be well planned, as hiring the right people at the right time is critical to success.
Do You Need Help?
Hiring is a very big step, and can be a very big expense. The last thing you want to do is hire hastily, and then realize you can’t sustain that employee. Before you hire, ask yourself:
- Are you managing your time well? You probably feel busy and overwhelmed, but why? Are you prioritizing tasks? Keeping a detailed calendar? If you’re not sure, keep a detailed account of your schedule for a few days, or use a tool like RescueTime, and then review. Make sure you really are maxed out before you get help.
- Are you using productivity tools? There are countless tools and apps to improve your personal productivity: TopTracker for tracking your work, MiniNote for keeping your To Do list where you can see it, Google Drive for all your documents, IFTTT for automating your regular tasks, Scannable for receipts, LastPass for passwords—the list goes on.
Eventually, though, you will reach your limit. An hour spent on administrative work may equate an hour of lost billable time. Do you spend 20 plus hours per week on tasks that don’t drive business? Consider handing over those jobs to someone.
Do You Need to Hire Staff?
Needing help still doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire.
If you’re past the first year with good earnings, start with an intern, if applicable to your industry and needs. If you need someone more experienced, consider outsourcing to freelancers. Freelancers produce great, professional work—for everything from administrative tasks, to design, to accounting, to IT, etc.—but don’t require benefits, taxes, etc.
Trying to find and vet your own, independent freelancers can be time consuming and risky. They typically have work from more than one client, and may deny assignments from you if they’re overworked. It’s often easier to work with a company that organizes and vets freelancers themselves, like Upwork, Scripted, Guru, and Outsource.
How to Hire
If interns aren’t reliable enough for your needs, and/or you find yourself consistently paying freelancers, it might finally be time to hire.
- Review your internal documents. Make sure your business plan is complete and organized. Make sure your mission and/or vision statements are clear and concrete.
- Write detailed job descriptions. In addition to basic tasks and responsibilities, include personality traits and skill level for tasks you need help on. Your first few hires will make up a large portion of your team, and their attitudes and skill sets will have a huge effect.
- Post your job opportunity wisely. A local chamber of commerce can be a great way to network with job seekers. Staffing agencies can take care of much of the hiring process for you. Online job boards are easy to use, but will also release a flood of unqualified candidates.
- Set up a pre-interview survey. This will save you tons of time, especially if you have a lot of applicants. Use Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to set up a short survey of questions you would normally ask every candidate in an interview anyway. This gives you an opportunity to decide who you really want to spend time interviewing.
- Over-prepare for each interview. You don’t have time to waste on this process. Review the candidate’s info before the interview, and have questions ready.
- Choose the best fit, not the best applicant. Just because someone can do the job well, doesn’t mean he’s the best fit for a startup or for your particular brand. Choose the one who is adaptable to the sink-or-swim environment of a newly established business, and who does not require micro-management.
Hiring a new employee is an exciting time. If you prepare well and do your due diligence, it doesn’t have to get stressful. Your business is growing!
A Congratulations and a Special Invitation
Building a competent team makes all the difference for an up and coming business, but it’s also a big responsibility. Make sure you are making the most of your time first, and consider what tasks and projects can be outsourced to freelancers. If it really is time to hire, just remember to treat it with all the care and dedication that you have spent on building every other aspect of your business so far.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners can always use a little help starting or growing their business. With that in mind we’ve built resources to help answer questions and make life easier. We have a little something for everyone– we invite you to peruse our Resources page on Grasshopper.com.
About Kiera Abbamonte:
Kiera is the Content Marketing Specialist for Grasshopper. She likes creative content concepts, coconut coffee, and alliteration.