Whilst it is a difficult time for many businesses, others are looking to expand and develop their team. Here is an article from Alison Beech, business Growth Coach on how to recruit effectively.
Be clear about your vision – what is your growth journey?
You’ve started your business and you want it to grow. Not every business can or will, and you may be happy for it to stay at just being you, but for those who intend to expand it’s helpful to plan for that right from the start.
If you have a business plan then this should include any growth goals with timelines and an indication of how you will implement the plan – this will clarify what you want to do and when. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know exactly. You can always change the plan!
1. I’m not ready to recruit! How will I know when to recruit?
- Timing is key, but don’t put pressure on yourself to try and time things perfectly.
- Hire when the tasks you need doing will make money for the business and /or when the tasks you need doing will save money for the business (for early stage businesses, making money is usually more important than saving it).
- Hire if it frees up other people who will make money for the business.
- Hire if you need people to:
- Create (designers, developers etc.)
- Market (getting your product or service to market)
- Support (customers, help desk, after sales etc.)
2. Hiring your first employee(s) – Exciting or terrifying, or both?
It’s ok and natural to be scared but it’s also an exciting time. Spend some time thinking about the coming months. It’s hard to find the right moment – hire too early and you might cause cash flow problems, but hire too late and you might not be able to cope with orders /work.
- Don’t make rash hiring decisions – desperation is never a good look.
- Define what it is you need another person to do – if you can’t define their role, wait until you can as this could be a sign that your timing is off.
- Don’t take the first person who comes along.
- Think carefully before hiring friends and family…..
3. Creative hiring
One of the issues some founders experience is that they are not currently in a strong enough financial position to recruit a full time employee. Be creative – it doesn’t have to be a full time employee on day 1. Other options which might suit you better:
- Contractor – these can be on a fixed term or for a flexible period.
- Part time – not limited to junior positions. You can hire part time senior people for (amongst other things); Finance, Marketing, Sales, HR. The advice and guidance you can benefit from with, say, a strategic Finance Director in just one or two days a month could be invaluable.
- Temporary staff could be useful if you have a sudden spike in demand or tasks that won’t be ongoing.
- Partner or co-founder – perhaps you’ve identified someone who has complementary skills to you, with a similar vision and passion, and integrity. You might consider hiring them initially as an employee with a view to migrating them to an equity partner in the business over time.
- Investor – some angel investors will want to be very hands on and can fulfil roles within your business which will serve their own interests, as well as the interests of the business.
- Sweat Equity – if you can’t afford to pay a senior person, you may be able to attract individuals who have suitable experience and other financial means. Perhaps they can work in the business in return for “sweat equity”. If and when the business floats or exits via a sale, they will get a financial return at that point. A sweat equity investor carries risk obviously, so it’s only an option for an experienced investor.
Get professional advice, whichever route your take. Mistakes are costly, in both time and money.
4. Preparing for the recruitment process
Don’t just hire someone like you. It’s tempting to recruit a person with similar traits and who you get on with. Whilst it’s important that you can work well with another person it is essential that you analyse the balance of skills, attitudes, and temperaments that you need in the business.
- A balanced team is an effective team. Several of the BGCN coaches are CLARITY4D LIMITED accredited. A personality profile offers you an insight into your preferences around your personal and professional relationships and can highlight what you need to make your team balanced and effective.
- It’s essential to put in place employment contracts and T&C’s, to create appropriate policies and procedures, and to get basic employment law advice. Getting it right at the outset can help prevent expensive mistakes. There are cost effective ways to source help in this area, which your mentor will be able to signpost.
Take your time, get advice, but don’t be paralysed.
5. Get hiring!
It’s right that you should take your time before committing to recruitment but once you’ve done the preparatory work, taking the next step should be straightforward.
- Use your business plan to draft out the tasks you need accomplished. (See 1. above)
- Map out role profiles for the person or people needed to complete those tasks.
- Get recommendations from your network about who and how to recruit these people.
- Where do the people you’re looking for do their networking? Those places might be different to the networks that you have – so, again, ask around and find out how to make a connection.
- Get some advice about using job boards. Make sure your ad is carefully worded so that it attracts the right people. You can waste a lot of your time, and the candidates, if you don’t do this effectively.
- Recruiters – like everything else in business, there are good ones, and ones that won’t be right for you. Get recommendations from your network. Don’t sign up with a recruiter before understanding what they can do for you and, crucially, what it will cost.
6. Investing for the future – growth and exit
It might seem a long way ahead but do you want to grow and maybe exit at some point, either by floating, or selling the company? Do you have an articulated exit strategy? If you do then, as the saying goes, start with the end in mind. Make sure that your recruitment strategy is aligned to that objective.
- If you plan to stay in the business for the long term then make sure this is sustainable and also that you have a contingency plan.
- Investors will look for a considered and realistic growth plan that highlights who and when you will recruit and how it will impact the business.
- What might be viewed less positively by investors is an over-reliance on the founder and / or a lack of balance in the senior team.
- Making yourself indispensable may not be a good thing – it’s your baby, that’s understood. But you can’t do everything yourself forever……
A final thought; a common theme running through each of the stages is that getting good advice is valuable and will almost certainly save you time and money in the long term. Engage with a quality mentor, coach, or advisor who can help you build your business and achieve your goals.
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