How do you know when it is time to hire someone? I look at it two different ways.
First, it is about capacity. If over 75% of your time is spent working IN your business (delivering the products or services), then you do not have enough time to work ON your business (marketing, sales, new product/service development). That would be a sign that it is time to hire someone; even if it is for only 3 hours a week.
Second, can you afford it? When I hired my first employee, I had a plan on how many hours to hire them for so that it was a profitable decision. It wasn’t just an off the cuff decision. It was thought out. Now, if 75% or more of your time is spent IN your business, the real question is can you afford not to. However… Do the math:
- How much will it cost to hire someone?
- If it is $75/week, how much do you need to make to cover that expense? In my cleaning business, I would have to get about $190 in new regular cleaning work to cover it.
Here is another way to look at it:
Let’s say you charge $100/hour to work with clients. The most you can ever make is $200,000/year and that is if you work 40 billable hours every single week and never take any time off. ($100 x 40 = $4000 x 50 weeks = $200K). In order to earn more than $200K you either need to add another revenue generating stream, or you need to increase your rates. So that means hiring someone, creating passive income, or increasing your rates.
How To Hire:
You may choose to hire a freelance worker or a direct employee. If you go with an actual employee, I am going to presume that you will Google the requirements for filing with the appropriate state/province authorities and work with your bookkeeper to set up the proper tax withholding and filing records.
As for hiring, a business is only as good as its people, so you want to be slow and careful in your hiring decisions. You also want to be quick in your termination decisions.
Steps in hiring:
- Determine what job(s) you need done and what skills are needed. For example, if you are looking for help with a newsletter, you need someone who can work with the software you have and be able to do what you need done. Develop a job description. Are you willing to train?
- Source candidates: ask people for referrals, advertise, consider an agency for help. I don’t use an agency now, but have in the past when looking for hard-to-find skills or when I have needed a ton of people in a hurry.
- Interview carefully. I look for attitude, communication skills, and skills required. Remember when we looked at values a few weeks ago? Include that as part of your interview questions. You want someone who is aligned with your company values. Depending on how accomplished you want your person to be, you may want to interview based on competencies. (I can coach you on that.)
- Check references and employment history.
- Put your offer in writing.
New Employee Orientation:
Now that you have your person hired, you need to prepare for their orientation. Here’s a quick checklist to help you help your new person hit the ground running:
- Paperwork: have all the relevant paperwork ready for him/her to sign.
- Employee Handbook: provide the new person with a copy of the employee handbook. This should include such things as dress code, sick leave, email policy and benefits (and much more – again, I can help you with that).
- Introductions to other employees.
- Lunch: I like to take new employees out for lunch. It gives them a bit of a break and you get to know them informally. You also have some time to reinforce the company values and culture in a setting outside of the workplace.
I know that you are busy as a small business owner, but this half-day spent with your new employee will be a half-day well-spent in setting the tone for your new person.
Good luck with building your team! Remember, I am here to help you with this.