Success can be a strange thing at times. We all want it for our businesses… but success can be just as painful as failure if your business isn’t ready for it.
When the orders start flooding in, what will you need to do to prepare to fill them? Maybe you were featured in a prominent magazine or newspaper and the resulting hits are causing your website to crash, or client proposal requests to come in faster than you can handle them. A typical first reaction from most business owners when something like this happens is to hire a large team. After all, you will need people to help process, ship and provide customer service, right? However, remember businesses have cycles and growth isn’t always a steady incline. You might need help, but maybe you aren’t ready for a team. Realize that, especially as you are getting started, it’s important to have resources that can ebb and flow with your business. If this is where you’re at (or when you get there), consider these approaches:
Use Flexible Resources. When you start looking for help, don’t immediately think of hiring someone full time. Many businesses only require extra help at certain times of the year, so think carefully about what help you really need, and hire people only when and where you need them. For example, for some businesses it makes sense to increase a customer service team during the holidays or busy summer months, but not through slower months. Hiring temporary help keeps them from paying for services they don’t need through the rest of the year. Since many tasks that you need to hire for can be planned in advance, I recommend securing your contractors early in the year so you’re not scrambling to find a good person during these key times. Hire a tax accountant for reviews twice a year, a bookkeeper four times a year, have an editor review 20 blog posts at a time instead of working every day. The idea is to find resources that fit your high-demand times, or the times when you really need extra help.
For activities that can’t be planned in advance, look to secure freelancers for work that ebbs and flows. For example, find a designer on fiverr.com or get a website coder from freelance.com. Instead of having a full-time designer, have a few designers you can reach out to when you have large projects, or plan to launch a big campaign.
Start Small. Instead of hiring full-time employees, start with candidates who have flexibility in their schedules and can work shortened hours. Consider hiring someone for either a specific project, like a 6-week product launch, or for 3-to-5 hours per week. This will give you a chance to work with them for a short period of time to determine if they are a good fit for your business. Hiring the wrong person will not only cost you financially, but can often de-rail projects or affect your customers’ experience. Also, if you are already drowning in tasks, you will need time to adjust your own schedule so you can find time to train and manage new team members. So, start small and limit your hourly commitment so you aren’t taking on the huge financial responsibility of hiring employees before your business can support this cost.
I know you might be thinking, “Can I really find someone great who is willing to work 3-5 hours per week?” The answer is yes. I find graduate students are perfect candidates for these types of roles because they are often experienced and know how to meet deadlines, and they may not be looking for full-time work yet. I’ve hired new moms in many of these positions because they might have left work while their children are young, but they have some amazing skills and want to stay sharp for when they plan to return to work full time.
Whether you’re looking to hire temporary help or a long-term employee, don’t forget to post on the Vegan Mainstream Job Board, free for the first 15 days. Using portals specific to the vegan community can help make your search more efficient and effective.