As a solopreneur or small business owner it can be a struggle to get everything on your list done in a day. It might be tempting to think, “if I just hired someone, things would be easier”.

But before you take that step, it’s important to think carefully about how hiring someone will change your business, and especially your role in your business. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you had a team you would automatically have more free time. It is critical to have reasonable expectations of what hiring help means, and to approach hiring the right way to ensure you are benefitting, not harming, your business.

Case in point: In order to be successful your new team member(s) will need support. Before you hire anyone, you must first look at current demands on your time and make sure you can carve out time to provide that support. This means doing a realistic evaluation of the amount of time you will be able to dedicate to working with your new team member(s).

You might be able to delegate tasks to your team, which could free up some of your time, but often that means your role will shift to that of a manager. Are you ready for that? In many cases – and especially in the beginning – managing will take more of your time because you’ll have to train, approve, provide feedback and plan projects in advance.

There may be a huge learning curve for you as a business owner, as well as for any existing employees, when you hire someone new — especially if you are outsourcing a task for the first time. You have had a specific way of doing things and that will be interrupted by a new person. If you hire someone who will lead projects or initiatives, you have to prepare yourself for another influence on your process, a change to your flow, and a new perspective. If you are simply looking for someone to complete quick tasks, you will need the time to plan and be ready to send new tasks as items are completed. Yes, if you do this right you can get more done, but in order to get the most benefit out of expanding your team you must prepare yourself and your business for the shift in your role and ensure that you have the time to be there for your team member(s).

Having said all that, if you still think you’re ready to hire, asking yourself these 3 questions will help with your decision:

1) What will I be able to accomplish? Will this new team member have a direct impact on my bottom line? For example, will you be able track their role to either revenue growth or expense savings?

2) How will I cover my new team member’s salary/cost? When hiring we often focus on time saved or additional revenue that person can bring in; however, don’t forget to run all the numbers so you can see the larger picture and make sure you can afford to pay an additional team member and still generate more revenue.

3) How will I evaluate success or progress? Identifying the metrics that you will track to make sure you can gauge the incremental benefits of new team members is an important step to take before you hire.

Full steam ahead? Here are 4 specific tools and processes I would recommend putting in place before you hire or bring on additional resources. Taking these steps will ensure that you are well prepared to make the most of the changes ahead:

#1: Create a daily/weekly schedule that shows the allocation of your time for your new management role and the other things you are currently doing.

#2: Develop a management schedule. How will your team update you on the status of projects they are working on? Maybe you need a project management tool like Asana, or a communication tool like Slack. It’s important to think through the flow of information that will be happening between team members and yourself. Also, how will people know when their work has been approved, or if it requires additional work? These are things to consider to make the expansion of your team as seamless as possible.

#3: Identify at least one specific project for each person you plan to hire, even if the designated project will only take about 50% of the person’s time. The purpose of identifying the actual project, timeline and milestones in advance is that this will help you to quickly evaluate your new team member(s). This is also an advantage to your new hiree because it immediately gives them a clear picture of what needs to be done and sets them up for success.

#4: Set up a weekly dashboard for tracking key metrics that will indicate if your new team member is impacting your business. A common mistake made by many people when hiring someone new is tracking tasks completed instead of impact. In addition to monitoring revenue/expenses, I recommend monitoring a few metrics that are upstream in the process to see if there are early indicators that business is improving based on the addition of a new team member. These are marketing or operational metrics. For example, you might look at the number of new subscribers per week or click-through rates if someone is helping you with an email marketing campaign. To drive accountability you might identify a few metrics that the new team member can monitor her/himself. These not only become targets, but also a way for the team member to self-evaluate. While it’s important for you to understand the impact each team member has on your business, it’s also important to empower each member so they can gauge for themselves if they are doing a good job. By using tangible numbers and metrics it is easier for them to know if they are on track.  

When you are ready to start looking for your new employee, don’t forget to post on the Vegan Mainstream Job Board, free for the first 20 days. Using portals specific to the vegan community can help make your search more efficient, and you more successful in hiring a great fit for your business.

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