As you grow your business, it will likely become essential to add team support. So often, entrepreneurs wait far too long to hire the help they so desperately need. This contributes to stress, overwhelm, and burnout for owners and team members as well as negatively impacting the trajectory of the business.
It’s tempting to put off hiring as long as possible because it is time-consuming, adds expenses and is often stressful. But there’s some key reasons why it’s detrimental to wait too long for your first, or next hire.
Here’s a few:
- If you wait until you’re drowning in work, you’re likely to already be massively behind and overwhelmed when you do hire. This is a terrible place to be in when you’re trying to train someone and is very unlikely to lead to their success or your benefit.
- If you’ve needed help for a while, you’re opt to be less discerning when evaluating candidates. This can lead to a bad hire which will only exacerbate the situation you’re in. Not only will you not get the help you need, but you also will create other problems to deal with.
- When you wait too long to hire, you often won’t have the time to train or manage effectively. This again doesn’t really set you or your team member up to success.
So let’s talk about a different, more useful approach to help you identify quickly when it’s time to hire.
Make a plan
As you plan out your next 6-12-18 months of business, make sure to consider key milestones that will necessitate additional team members. Consider things like revenue, workload, and your changing role as the business grows.
Look at things like your industry’s cyclical demands and any personal factors that would necessitate more help. In online business, there are two big launch seasons where it’s pretty common to see an uptick in business. January and September: do count backwards to hire appropriately for any times historically likely to be busy.
Decide how many clients your current team can handle and what additional work will trigger new team needs. Plan for this in advance so there’s less angst when it’s time to pull the trigger.
Regularly Review Capacity
It’s super easy to miss when you or your team are overwhelmed. In the hustle and bustle of running your business, it’s totally normal to miss growing to-do lists. But, if you schedule regular capacity reviews for you and your team, you’re more likely to recognize when the need to hire is approaching.
This is one important reason why consistent time tracking is essential to business growth. If you’re easily able to review how your time, and your team’s time, is spent, you’ll be better prepared for when your workload needs adjusting.
Understanding where the business’ capacity stands also helps you proactively prevent overwhelm, burnout, or the fall out of dropping balls when people are too busy.
Many times when I start working with clients, it’s the first time they’ve considered systematizing or documenting things in their business. Without systems and processes in place, it’s much harder to hire and onboard new team members. Without the tools to help train someone, you’re either tempted to ignore the need to hire or you’re at a disadvantage when you do.
So, it’s useful to make a consistent effort to document, systematize and develop processes for the repeatable and necessary tasks involved with running the business.
If you don’t have anything in place yet, start small. Look at things you do over and over again – like blog posts, lead follow-up, or client onboarding. Shoot for creating one system per week, or even one per month, if that’s all time allows. With slow and steady progress, you’ll build the resources to help make new hires more effective and more helpful in a shorter time frame.
Focus on Development
While keeping an eye on when a new hire will be needed, it’s also useful to keep the training and development of your existing team in mind as well. All too often, we get caught up in bringing in someone new before we fully determine if there’s an existing team member we may want to step up. Whether it’s transferable skills or a desire for more responsibility, you may have the answer to a hiring need already on your team.
Of course, you can’t always promote from within or train someone for additional duties but it doesn’t hurt to consider if it’s appropriate before hiring someone new. Investing in the skills of your team helps you and it helps them if it’s something they want.
Be sure to keep your next hiring need in mind so you don’t wait too long to take action. Your bottom line, your team’s effectiveness and your workload will likely all thank you.