4 Hiring Tips for Small Businesses
Small Business owners often take on way to much. They tend to hold on to business activities for two primary reasons: to either save on costs or out of fear of letting go of control. However, with close analysis, successful business owners and leaders can quickly see how outsourcing and delegating to a team can actually earn you more money in the long run. Furthermore, outsourcing activities that you are not an expert in or simply do not enjoy doing, can help you to GAIN control of the most important activities for your business. So, how to you go about this analysis to understand what activities you should be hiring someone else to do? And then, how do you find the right person to hire? Well, you’re in luck because this article covers 4 of the most important hiring tips for you and your small business.
1. Evaluate & Assess What You Really Need Help With
Before you go out looking for help, figure out exactly what you need help with. Many solo-entrepreneurs and small business owners think they need a general Assistant. While this may be the case, it also may be the case that you need a very specific expertise that could help you even more. Therefore, one of the most important hiring tips and the first thing that you should do, is evaluate your workload. Determine what you can and should do and what you shouldn’t.
Activities to Continue
What is your expertise, your zone of genius? What activities are you best at? Make a list of these activities. Then go through the list and indicate which of those activities you love to do and those you do not.
Activities to Delegate
Next, make a list of the activities that you are NOT good at. Again, which of these activities do you enjoy and which you do not. The ones that you enjoy may be the ones that you want to improve on and keep under your responsibilities. On the flip side, if there are any activities that you are not good and you do not like, these are likely either draining you or you’re just not doing them.
Activities to Start
Finally, what do you wish you could start? What are those activities that you know would help your business if you only had time or the right expertise? For example, perhaps you have not had any time to start Social Media for your business. Hiring a freelancer that specializes in Social Media could mean substantial growth through awareness and ad campaigns.
BOTTOM LINE: Determine what will move the needle most for your business and then, create a role around that.
2. Determine the Optimal Type of Role
You now have a list of activities that you want to hire out for. So the next in the hiring tips is to look the type of role you want.
How much time?
The next step is to determine how much time these activities and responsibilities will require each week. If you’re not sure, you can track your own time spent on them every day for a week. This can be as simple as a notebook or spreadsheet. There are also apps available to help you track your time, such as Clockify. You can also estimate how much time is required, but be very realistic. Understanding how much time is required for the work needed, will help you to decide if you need someone full-time or part-time, as well as short-term or long-term.
Generalist or Specialist?
You next want to think about whether the role is for a generalist or specialist. If you want a copywriter, a social media manager, or an accountant, for example, these are all specialists that are experts in their fields. You will likely want to hire project-based or time-based freelancers or consultants. However, if you need someone that is extremely organized to help you manage your schedule and take care of day-to-day administrative tasks, then you will want a generalist.
Virtual or In-Person?
Finally, determine if the role is best filled as Virtual or In-person. If you need someone to help in a store or organize your office, than you will want to look locally. However, if you are comfortable working entirely virtual, then you can look anywhere.
3. Action Steps to Finding the Right Person
Here is where hiring tips turn into action. To find the best candidate for your new role, you need to write a specific and targeted job post. This starts with writing down what you need. Here are some of the questions that you should answer.
What are you looking for at a high level? Define the activities, responsibilities, and deliverables for the person in this role. What kind of experience would your ideal candidate have?
The answers to these questions are what will go into your job posting. The more specific you are, the more you are likely to receive interest from candidates that can meet these needs. Here’s more on writing a job posting.
You also want to have 1-3 questions that you want the candidates to answer. For example…Why would they want to work with you? What is an example of a similar project or position that you have been successful at? Having the same questions for all candidates will help you to compare and contrast them as you evaluate.
Once you start to receive potential candidates, start reviewing and weeding out the ones that don’t feel like the right fit. Then prioritize the other candidates and start to schedule interviews over phone or Zoom or other video app. As you interview the candidates, have their resume printed and take notes! The notes should be not only about what they have done, but also the feeling that you get when speaking to you. Do they make you laugh, do they convey confidence and leadership, what is their communication style, did they do any research or preparation for the interview on you your business? These will all play into your final decision.
4. Communication is Key
You made your decision! Congratulations! The hiring work is not done, however. Think of these early days as a trial run, where you are feeling each other out. This is not to say that you are looking to part ways after 30 days if it isn’t working out. But it is to say that you need to look at how to make the relationship work at it’s best. Of course, if the person you hired really isn’t working out, it is always best to part ways earlier than later. Then go back to another potential candidate and see you find a better fit.
So, the last of our hiring tips is: Practice Communication. Make sure that from the start, you clearly articulate all of your needs. This means work style, project details, timelines, and deliverables. You, as the leader, must communicate goals, expectations, responsibilities, and culture. It’s important to understand the unique ways in which leaders need to effectively manage virtual teams vs. in-person teams.
There are also many project management tools that help you to create a road map and dashboard can really help. Team members are all given access to the app and can update and track project steps and status. Asana, Slack, Monday, and Trello are a few of the more popular ones out there. Check with people in your network to see which ones they like best and research to see which ones fit your needs best.
Finally, ask for feedback! Often times, as business owners, we are stuck in our ways of doing things and may not think about other ways. Perhaps better, more efficient ways exist. This is where feedback can really help productivity for your business. If this is the first time you have hired someone for your business, you may need help to understand how to better communicate and manage. Feedback is critical to making sure that the lines of communication are open, building trust, and increasing responsibility.
After you build your team
With just a bit of upfront work to really evaluate your business hiring needs, you can make sure you are looking for the right person and ultimately finding the right person. Then, as you grow, you will do this again and again as you build a strong team. Once you’ve mastered these hiring tips, here are some other articles to help you improve efficiency, productivity, and opportunities for your business.