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The Perfect Time to Hire

The Perfect Time to Hire

By: Ross Paterson

I wrote a book about consulting. The title was The Consultant’s Easy Answer Guide to the Toughest Challenges of Small Business. Chapter 1: It Depends. The End.

We started a series last week on the challenges of leading a fast-growing small business. Once an owner realizes it is malpractice to keep doing everything themselves the next questions they ask are when is the right time, and how do I hire the right people? Let’s talk about when for today…It depends.

Entry level help: Owners, if you are spending more than 4 hours a week doing administrative work (data entry, basic bookkeeping) and errand running (shipping, getting toilet paper for the office), you have already waited too long to hire administrative help. Start with part-time and move to full-time, you simply can’t afford not to.

Managers and front-line leaders: To break through the benchmark of $1.0 million of revenue an owner will have to stop managing every process and person. Wherever your business has big chunks of repetitive work and work that doesn’t line up with the owner’s strengths, this is the best place to hire management first.

Executive/VP/General Manager: A business can really begin to accelerate when the owner can lead through other leaders. These can be expensive hires. An assessment around budget, growth trends, and future forecasts will help you determine if the timing is right.

A few XtraMile Truths about hiring for your small business.

  1. You are not marrying this person for life, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the perfect hire. There are no perfect people, not even you.
  2. Assessing candidates for a technical and cultural fit is a process. Build a good one and make it better every iteration.
  3. The first 30/60/90 days are critical. Have a plan in writing and work closely with the new teammate through this on-boarding season.
  4. The low unemployment and hot economy will force you to dedicate significant time, attention, and other resources to the recruiting and hiring process.