When and how to grow your team

Business growth with BGCN

Be clear about your vision – what is your growth journey?

You’ve started your business and you want it to grow. It’s helpful to plan for growth right from the start of your company’s journey.

Business plans need to include:

  • Growth goals with timelines
  • 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 the answers exactly, you can always change the plan!

Understanding the right time to recruit

Timing is important, but don’t put pressure on yourself to try and time things perfectly. Think about the forthcoming months; often it’s hard to find the right moment to hire – if you hire too early you might cause cash flow problems but hire too late, and you might not be able to cope with orders or work demands.

 It is better to:

  • Hire when tasks you need achieving will make or save money for the business (making money is usually more important than saving for early stage businesses)
  • Hire more people to free up the people’s time who currently make money for the business
  • Hire if you need people to:
    • Create — designers, developers etc
    • Market — getting your product or service to market and seen
    • Support — customers, help desk, after sales etc

Hiring your first employees

It’s normal to be a little worried or apprehensive at the thought of taking on staff for the first time, but it’s also an exciting time. Don’t make rash hiring decisions:

  • Define the role requirements you need filling— if you can’t define their role, wait until you can, as this could be a sign your timing is off
  • Don’t automatically employ the first person you interview
  • Think carefully before hiring friends and family …

Creative hiring

One of the main issues some founders experience is not being in a financially strong position to recruit a fulltime employee.

Our advice? Be creative — you don’t have to employ a fulltime employee from day one. Other options which might be more suitable include:

  • Contractors — you can organise a fixed term or flexible work period
  • Part time — you can hire part time senior people for many skillsets. For example, finance, marketing, sales and HR roles. Employing a strategic Finance Director to advise and guide your company for just one or two days a week, could be invaluable to your business.
  • Temporary staff are a great idea 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 a similar vision, passion, and integrity to you. You might consider hiring them initially as an employee, with a view to migrating them to an equity partner over time. 
  • Investor — some angel investors want to be very hands on, fulfilling roles within your business to serve their concerns, as well as the interests of your 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 obviously carries risk, so it’s an option only for experienced investors. 

However, we strongly advise seeking professional advice before making a decision regarding employment. Mistakes are costly, in both time and money.

Preparing for the recruitment process 

It’s tempting to recruit a person you find easy to communicate with, and who has similar traits to yourself. Whilst it is important you can work well together, it is essential to analyse the balance of skills, attitudes and temperaments your business requires.

  • A balanced team is an effective team. A personality profile offers you insights into your preferences around your personal and professional relationships; highlighting the skills, attitudes and temperaments to make your team balanced and effective. Several of the BGCN coaches are Clarity4D Ltd accredited and can help you profile yourself and prospective employees.
  • Employment contracts and Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) must be in place. It is also essential to create appropriate policies and procedures, and to get basic employment law advice. Getting this information right at the outset will 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 professional advice, but don’t delay!

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
  • Map out role profiles for the person or people needed to complete the tasks
  • Get recommendations from your network about who and how to recruit people
  • Where do the people you’re looking for network? These might be different to networks you use —again, ask around and find out how to make a connection
  • Get advice about using job boards. Make sure your ad is carefully worded to attract the right people and prevent you from wasting time
  • Don’t sign up with a recruiter before understanding what they can do for you and how much they charge. Use recommendations to find the right recruiter for your business.

Investing for the future – growth and exit

It might seem a long way off, but do you want to grow your company and maybe exit at some point, either by floating, or selling the company?

Do you have an articulated exit strategy? It’s important you start with the end, first, ensuring your recruitment strategy is aligned to this objective.

Tips for forward planning:

  • If you plan to stay in the business for the long-term, make sure this is sustainable with a contingency plan
  • Investors will look for a considered and realistic growth plan, that highlights who and when you will recruit, and how this will impact the busines
  • An over-reliance on the founder, or a lack of balance in the senior team may be viewed less positively by investors
  • Making yourself indispensable is not a good thing — yes, the business is your baby, but you can’t do everything yourself forever …

A final thought; a common theme running through each of the stages is that good advice is invaluable; almost certainly saving you time and money in the long term.

Always engage with a quality mentor, coach, or advisor who will work alongside you, helping you build your business to achieve your business goals. 

If you need any business advice, or would like to chat about how to grow your team, please contact BGCN and we’ll find the right coach to help your current and long-term business objectives.