You know it's time to do more to grow your small business, but your hands are bound by a clock that only allows you 24 hours a day.
Experts will tell you to hire employees to take the load off so you can focus on business growth. As a business coach, I often suggest that clients onboard employees as they scale. However, a few key components must be in place before you expand your team.
Most often, small business owners skip over game-changing business-building steps because they're too occupied to put thought into them, but this lack of diligence always backfires.
Don't be that small business owner.
You decide it's time to take the plunge and hire your first (or next) employee. You think about what that person can do and how much time a new hire will free up for you. So, you whip up a job posting or spread the word through your community, and, voila, you find someone. You ask the standard interview questions, size them up, and perhaps check a reference or two, and your new employee starts on Monday. Cool!
Or, maybe not so cool. You may think the hard part is done at this point, but that's far from true. At this point, budding entrepreneurs need to learn to think like a leader rather than someone in the trenches. Now, you not only have to protect yourself from failing but also your growing team.
3 ways to set employees up to fail.
1. You don't give your new hire a steady foundation.
You may have a job description, but you don't have any training, implementation processes, or written documentation in place. Without a solid foundation, you throw your new person into the deep end without a raft. Rescuing your employee is time-consuming and frustrating; it was easier when you were solo!
Many entrepreneurs put these oversights in the category of employee empowerment and tell themselves they will not be a micro-manager. Really, this belief only serves to make the business owner feel better, but you can't hide behind it for long. Empowerment is built upon solid training and an understanding of the company's signature goals and direction. Your employee may attempt to do things right, but without consistent guidance and processes in place, they will struggle and most likely fail to meet your needs. There's a big difference between micro-managing and providing your team with education, support, and training.
2. You're unclear about your small business's growth vision.
Entrepreneurs have plenty of ideas for future growth and expansion. The problem appears when all these ideas merge murkily, causing a lack of clarity, confusion, and overwhelm . These murky waters lead to a team that also lacks clarity and feels overwhelmed and confused by your inconsistent leadership and direction. You may hire for the wrong positions and skill sets, leaving you with one or more team members who may be decent employees but cannot grow your small business with you. They just won't be a good fit for your ultimate vision.
3. You have not designed your company culture.
You have yet to think about what you want your company culture to look like or what values will guide you to that goal. Understanding your company and personal values to design an internal and client-facing culture gives you a roadmap for everything you do, including who and why you hire. For instance, if you hold a value that indicates honesty, integrity, or trustworthiness and hire a salesperson who promises anything to get the sale, you will have very unhappy customers. This person will also cause conflict with other team members who do represent your culture of integrity.
You don't know what you don't know about growing your small business.
Leadership development is a new stage of growth for most small business owners, and this process has many layers. While it may not seem apparent, your leadership abilities need to kick in before you hire employees, not after. It is difficult for most people to figure out how to
- Make the time to develop processes, identify culture goals, and develop a vision
- Get your ideas out of your head and into play
- Gain clarity about the what, how, and why
- Implement your ideas
- Just about everything else!
This educational piece of professional and self-growth is why business coaches and mentors exist. No, you don't know what you don't know, and you're not meant to do it alone. Surround yourself with a supportive team of non-employees before you become an employer, and you will save yourself much disappointment, money, and time!
Are you interested in growing your business to add more freedom, security, and well-being into your life? Please contact me to see if I can help. Let’s chat and learn more about one another!