By Dan Boudreau
Recently, while visiting a bustling business, I noticed that there were too many employees onsite for the amount of work being done. Overstaffing is just one of many pitfalls an owner will encounter when positioning for growth. Left unchecked, having too many workers will quickly drain your bank account and put you out of business.
There is much to learn when shifting from working solo to hiring others. This phase is a minefield for owners who have not previously managed employees. Here are a few things to consider when building your team.
1. Be an excellent judge of character. You must be able to assess applicants, determine whether they share your values, and decide whether they’ll fit your business culture. It’s a lot easier to hire than it is to fire; careful hiring decisions will save the expense of sorting out the mess later if you bring the wrong person into your world.
2. Learn how to interview applicants. You will need to learn which questions to ask, and how to assess the answers you’re getting. You’ve got to decide if the “best face” you are seeing is anything close to the real person you will be working with on a day to day basis.
3. Start small and learn as you grow. When you’re working alone, you usually can’t just stop serving customers in order to create the necessary systems, nor are you likely to know which systems you need. It’s wise to learn the ropes while you have only one or two employees, and allow yourself time to grow into the role of managing others.
4. Learn how to delegate. Instead of serving customers directly, a chunk of your time will now be allocated to clarifying roles and responsibilities, evaluating performance, and giving feedback. Effective delegating starts with determining which tasks to hand off and communicating how you would like them done.
5. Know the rules. There are a number of agencies that exist to protect employees. You are about to discover labour laws, employment standards, and worker health and safety. These are all fabulous functions for employees. However, they will invariably extract a pint of time and energy as a business owner learns and complies with each new set of laws and requirements.
6. Manage your cash flow. You will need to embrace the stress that comes with meeting payroll, and be prepared and able to issue paycheques on time, every time. You will learn about employer wage burden and how thoroughly patient the tax collectors can be if you should happen to be late with your monthly remittances. The bottom line is that you really want to be sure that your business can afford any new employees you hire.
As an employer, you will not build any goodwill by keeping employees on the payroll beyond the time when they are needed. As a business owner, you always want to be just a little understaffed. Drag your feet a bit on the hiring process, and act quickly when it’s time to downsize. This might sound ruthless to an employee, but it’s necessary to conserve cash, and cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business.You are welcome to publish this article providing you attach this statement with the link back to the RiskBuster website:
“Dan Boudreau is President and CEO of Macrolink Action Plans Inc. and the RiskBuster Business Plan Oasis at http://www.riskbuster.com Writing your own business plan can be easy, fast and fun! Instantly download a free copy of Dan’s popular fast-track business plan template, The Shell, when you subscribe to the RiskBuster Business Plan Insider at http://www.riskbuster.com”