Starting a business isn’t easy. Growing it by yourself is even harder. This means that as a small business owner, you’re going to need to create a new job and hire at least one employee at some point. In fact, small businesses accounted for 1.9 million new jobs in 2018.
The key to successful hiring is not only identifying when the time is right for onboarding new employees, but also in your hiring practices. Finding employees that are the right fit for your business will be crucial for your success.
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Signs you need to hire employees
You can’t run your small business alone forever, especially if you plan on growing. At some point you’ll have to look to others to keep your operation rolling smoothly. How do you know when it’s time to hire help? There are clear signs a business needs employees. These signs include:
1. You’re turning work down
Supply and demand is a basic business concept. If demand has become too great for your business and you’re turning customers away, it may be time to make some changes.
Hiring even just one employee can help you work with each customer that comes your way. This will not only help you increase profits and grow, but it’ll help strengthen your reputation.
2. Your business can afford employees
When you first start out, it’s reasonable that you wouldn’t be able to afford employees. However, if you’ve grown to a point where you can easily afford to pay one employee, you should go for it.
Employees can help your small business by:
- Increasing your client base
- Taking work off your shoulders
- Making your small business more efficient
If you’re unsure if you can afford a new employee, check your small business’s numbers. If you’re bringing in enough cash to cover what you’d pay them, then you likely can afford them. As you look at your expenses, be sure to make sure you can cover workers compensation insurance costs for your new employees.
Keep in mind that this can also be a good time to develop or modify your businesses strategic plan. This way you can see how the new employee will affect other aspects of your business.
3. Your customers feel ignored, neglected or pushed aside
When a customer or client feels ignored, they could respond by trashing your reputation. A damaged reputation can then lead to fewer recommendations and referrals. Neglected customers may also stop working with you altogether. In some cases, they may seek out your competitors. This has direct negative consequences on your business’s survival.
To avoid these consequences, you can add team members. These team members can help ensure that all customers are taken care of and happy. They can also be there to answer any customer or client questions or concerns that pop up. Together with your newly hired employees you can make sure no customer or client is forgotten.
4. You need new skill sets to stay competitive
Like most small business owners, you’re probably used to using a variety of skills. Many unfamiliar skills can be easily learned and managed on your own with the right tools, like with email marketing. However, if you’ve reached a place where you could use the help in other areas of expertise, you can always hire an employee who has the experience. Some common skills small businesses seek out with new employees can include:
- Financial management
Employees with financial management skills can make sure that your small business is saving, spending and investing where it should be.
- Graphic design
You can make marketing materials through another company or you can create them in house. Employees with graphic design skills can create marketing materials like pamphlets. You won’t have to pay another company to create them for you. This can help you save money and time.
Sales associates are essential for making sure your clients and customers are matched with what they need from your business. Whether it’s your product or your service, sales associates ensure your customers needs are met.
- Customer service
Customer service skills are essential for small businesses. Especially, small businesses where you interact directly with the customer regularly. Customer service skills ensure your customers’ needs are met. You want them to leave feeling happy every time.
- Project management
You need employees who are able to manage projects and bring them to completion successfully.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
Businesses that use SEO on their websites will have more success driving consumers to their page. This means that employees with SEO knowledge can help you:
- Enhance your website
- Attract more customers
- Gain greater visibility
It doesn’t matter if you need graphic design skills or financial management skills. Hiring another team member can be the best option for expanding your business’s abilities.
5. Your work quality isn’t what it used to be
When assessing if your work quality is diminishing, you can ask yourself these questions:
- Are you receiving more complaints about your products or services than you ever have before?
- Do you feel like you’re stretched too thin and don’t have enough time?
- Are your sales decreasing and you’re not sure why?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may be time to hire at least one more employee. Hiring another employee can help you focus on improving your products and services. They also increase productivity in your workplace. Employees can think of new ideas, initiatives, or insights that can help grow your products and services.
Still feeling unsure if you need employees or not? Remember that a decrease in quality can cause:
- Customers to stop working with you. In some cases, they may go straight to the competitor.
- Customers to complain and want replacement items or extra service. This can cost you more in the long run.
6. You feel overworked and stressed
Finding the time to take a vacation isn’t always easy as a small business owner. That said, it is important to take time off and recharge. Hiring an employee or two can help you do this. Eliminating the feeling of being overworked and stressed will only help increase your productivity. This will help give you the energy to take your business to new heights.
How to find employees that are right for your business
Hiring employees can be stressful. You don’t want to hire someone that doesn’t fit with your business culture or have the right skills. This can become disastrous fast. To avoid this, consider these tips for finding the right employee to fit your small business:
1. Use the right hiring techniques
Your first thought may be to immediately post your job description on Monster or Indeed. While these can be good options, they often result in hundreds of applicants being sent your way. Finding the time to sift through these can be a challenge. Instead, consider these options:
Use LinkedIn to find candidates. Benefits of using LinkedIn include:
- It’s easier to manage
- You can recruit right from your own network
- It allows you to search for candidates directly
- It has a higher accuracy for showing candidates that are qualified and have the right skills
Use a staffing agency. Staffing agencies do the recruiting for you. You let them know what skills you’re looking for and the agency will interview candidates. When they find someone that meets your description they send them your way. Working with an agency can help save you time, money, and hassles.
2. Ask key questions
You shouldn’t interview candidates unless you’ve prepared questions ahead of time. You want to have questions that target specific skills and experiences you’re looking for. It can be helpful to narrow down four or five key skills or experiences you need for the role. You should also brainstorm some follow up questions to ask them. This can help keep the conversation flowing. Some questions to consider include:
- What’s your working style?
- What is your ideal working environment?
- What skills make you the right fit for this job?
- Why are you looking to leave your current job?
3. Look for Adaptability
Adaptable employees are essential for small businesses where everyone often wears multiple hats. Small businesses also evolve rapidly as they grow and expand. This means you need employees that:
- Are calm when put under pressure
- Aren’t afraid to try new things
- Enjoy learning
- Can handle unpredictable outcomes and situations
- Are team oriented and always willing to help others
- Are good at time management
Some questions that measure adaptability in a candidate include:
- How do you adjust your schedule as more projects come your way?
- Tell me about a time when you learned something new at work.
- Describe a time you adapted to sudden changes at work.
Embrace the growth
If your business is in high demand, you don’t need to stress. It isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it may be time to expand your operation with a new employee. Each employee you add to your business will bring value, customer service, new knowledge, and growth you may not have ever expected. Embrace the experience, and know that it means you are doing a great job!