Top Signs That It's Time to Hire For Your Small Business
Recent news coverage and articles online have certainly made it seem that it’s getting harder and harder to find people to fill job openings. The reality, however, is that there are a lot of applicants who are interested in finding new and exciting opportunities with small businesses. So small business owners should take advantage of this current climate and find new employees that fit their business needs.
If, that is, now is the right time to hire for your small business.
So how can you tell if your business or startup needs some new hires? That’s just the question we posed to several of our expert contributors and partners here at UpCity, and they had a wealth of advice to offer. From a skill set questions to onboarding, job descriptions, employee retention, staffing issues, and more, they provided us with several key pieces of advice that can apply to any organization, from a startup to a growing business and all companies in between.
Signs It’s Time to Start Hiring Employees
First off, several of our contributors wanted to focus on the clear signs that it’s time to start hiring. And many of their tips and advice focus less on the human resources side of things, and more on keeping the pulse of your current full-time employees, their workload, their work-life balance, and other red flags that relate to culture and morale.
“Overload is the first sign! If you see that your team is starting to fall behind, find out why! Are they falling behind because the workload is getting heavier and harder to manage? If employees feel like they are being overloaded (and not appreciated), you risk losing them. That could mean more dollars lost to replacing them and training new hires.” – Irina Gedarevich, Founder and Marketing Consultant at eSEOspace
There’s a fine line between “enough work” and “too much work” for any team and any employee. From freelancers to full-time employees and beyond, even top talent has a maximum capacity. Keeping yourself aware of that capacity, and adding new hires to supplement your current employees when necessary, is key to both your business success and your company culture.
“Listen to your team members! Look at your method of tracking and be sure all the tasks are getting completed. If tasks are falling through the cracks, it is time to either train your team better or hire another team member. This is crucial because the reputation of your business is on the line.” – Dotty Scott, Owner/Web Designer at Premium Websites, LLC
Our panelists also gave us an important reminder–count yourself as an employee, too. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are your attention and time being spent on tasks like phone calls and administrative tasks when it should be focused on new clients and business growth?
“When you start doing tasks that are taking your energy and focus away from the key metrics that will build your business, it’s time to hire. It’s crucial because you have only so many days to build your business. Your energy, focus, and knowledge of your craft are all you have at the end of the day. When you no longer enjoy your work, or you’re getting zapped of all your energy by certain tasks, it’s time to hand them off.” – Tyler Mose, Founder and CEO at E3M
You likely didn’t start your company because you wanted to spend all of your time fretting about the bottom line. You enjoy your field and your work, and counting yourself as an employee can help tune you back into what is important, and when you need to reach out for more assistance.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, it may be time to expand your team. And if you’re not enjoying your work as much as you used to, it may be time to expand your team. This is especially true if the stress of running your business is causing you to burn out.” – Clint L. Sanchez, Partner at BlakSheep Creative
Spotting your signs of burnout or being overworked is a key moment to recognize because it reminds you that if you’re feeling that way, there’s a good chance that your team is, too.
“The first employees in your small business are usually an extension of yourself, and it’s not uncommon to think your team can do anything. Seeing the signs of an imbalance in workload is critical to helping you and your team avoid burnout, added stress, and turnover.” – Jeanette Jung, COO at 323 Media Group
In addition to your employees, as a small business owner, you also have another audience to keep in mind–your customers. New customers and established customers alike are great sources of information, and there are a few signs from your customers that you can use to tell you when it’s time to expand.
“The most common signs that show you should expand include customers inquiring about new locations or store growth, regular customers coming in less frequently, and simply running out of space. These are crucial to showing your customers that their opinions and thoughts are being considered and that you want to make your business comfortable and accessible for your customers.” – Christopher York, President of C. York, CPA
Additional customer-related factors, including product or service delays and so on, are essential indicators that it is time for your business to grow on the employee side of things.
“Big signs that you should be hiring include delays in client deliverables and not being able to spend ample time on the sales process to bring in new business. These factors will stunt the growth of your business in a big way, and will also create issues with overall performance and client retention.” – Leah Nolan, CEO at Storm Brain
It’s totally common in small businesses for people to wear multiple hats. After all, your business and budget are probably nowhere near the level of having money for specialized roles and large departments. But even with that common factor, there will still be a point at which someone is handling too many responsibilities. And that may include you as the business owner.
“Typically in smaller companies, some employees will wear multiple hats and cover a few core areas of the business rather than a distinct role for each. This can be a huge value for growing companies. However, as the business grows, so does the workload associated with each business area. Once you start to see bottlenecks forming in processes, it’s time to add another resource to balance the workload.” – Colton De Vos, Marketing Specialist at Resolute Technology Solutions
The importance of the “many hats” aspect of small business came up several times with our experts and in several different ways. In fact, some felt that even two or more tasks being on one person were a sign that there may be room for growth.
“For me, the general rule we follow is–if folks on the team are handling more than two distinct responsibilities, it’s time to hire. That’s because it points to an underlying lack of coverage in your role assignments. It’s expected that the team wears more than one hat, but when the hat turns into a wardrobe, it’s time to hire.” – Bobby Steinbach, Partner at MeanPug Digital
Finally, coming back to you as the employee, our experts reminded us that there are different ways to expend your energy on your business. And one is better than the other.
“If you find yourself working ‘in’ the business more than working ‘on’ the business, you need to expand your team. That said, it also helps to be proactive. If you sign a big client, for example, start the hiring process *before* your current team gets swamped.” – Brandon N. Towl, CEO and Head Writer at Words Have Impact
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Common Mistakes in Small Business Hiring
In addition to their advice about how to spot signs of burnout and when it’s time to begin hiring new employees for your small business, our experts also provided a wealth of advice about mistakes to avoid in the hiring process. While no business can avoid all of them, keeping these items in mind as you look to expand your company will make things go a lot more smoothly.
“The person that matches up perfectly with your job description and has extensive experience isn’t always the best candidate. You also want to find someone who will be aligned with your corporate values and culture and will jump in and be a team player.” – Robb Fahrion, Partner and Co-Founder at Flying V Group
On the other hand, you are looking to bring in the strongest candidate you can to supplement your team, and you don’t want to settle for an applicant that doesn’t quite match up with your current employees.
“Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who is just ok at what they do. You want somebody who can do the job better than the expectations. So take your time when choosing somebody, and don’t rush the interview or hiring process.” – Jeffrey Miles, Owner of Jeff Social Marketing
Getting the right candidate to apply means avoiding a few common mistakes, too.
“Two common mistakes that small businesses can make when hiring is not defining the role and not offering a competitive salary. Without a clear idea of the role you’re looking to fill, it’s going to be difficult to find the right person for the job. And if you want to attract the best talent, you need to be willing to pay for it. Be sure to research salaries for similar positions in your industry and offer a competitive salary that will attract the right applicants.” – Oliver Moreno, CEO/Founder at Bright Click Digital Marketing
“The three big mistakes that you commonly see in small-business hiring are a vague job description, an irrelevant or cryptic job title, and a job post or description that does not match industry norms (often in remote positions, for example).” – Bill Watson, Partnerships Manager at LogoPoppin
Related to some of the advice above, another important point that came to the fore was the need to hire before things get beyond the point of no return. You don’t want to search for and select employees when you don’t have the time or capacity to give the process its due attention.
“Don’t hire in desperation or hire simply because someone was recommended. You want to be sure that your new employees support your work culture, are onboard with your growth goals, and they support you and your business.” – Cheryl McCants, Founder and CEO at Impact Consulting Enterprises
Another possible point where things can go wrong? Not involving your current team. With a small business where people are working very closely together on a variety of projects and tasks, getting buy-in from the whole group (and getting their feedback on what your company needs) is a big factor in finding great hires.
“Work with your internal team to build an accurate job description and list of responsibilities that truly matches your company’s needs. A generic or too broad job description will not attract the right talent, so use this information to be specific with what you would like this new hire to do.” – Alex Meade, VP of Sales and Marketing at Beacons Point
Finally, several experts told us that the worst mistake you could make is to rush the hiring process. While you may have an immediate need within the company, there’s no magic wand that can deliver the right candidate right this minute.
“Rushing is the worst mistake a business can make when it comes to hiring. Hiring is expensive, and if you rush into the process because you need to expand, there’s a good chance you’ll hire someone without vetting them for needed skills or finding out if they’ll be a good fit for your team. It doesn’t matter how badly you need to expand, take your time with the hiring process and do it right the first time. You’ll save more time and money in the long run.” – Asad Kausar, CEO at Dabaran Inc.
“My biggest hiring mistakes to avoid are going through the recruitment process in a rush, hiring without a clear job description, failing to highlight the benefits, and not considering both technical and soft skills equally in your search and interview process.” – Andrei Kasyanau, CEO at Glorium Technologies
An Opportunity to Take Your Business to the Next Level
Rather than being a task you dread or a process you don’t enjoy, business owners should look at the prospect of hiring new employees as an indicator of success and an opportunity to take their business to the next level.
And whether you advertise your posting on social media or you work with an employment firm to find the right additions, there is much more advice to be had by contacting recruiting agencies listed in our marketplace here at UpCity.