When we finally work out how to make money or get the cash flow that we need, the first thing we do is start hiring people to do the things that we should not do. For me, this is cleaning and bookkeeping. I shouldn’t clean because I do too much and spend too much time doing it. It’s a way for me to avoid work. Which brings me to the bookkeeping. . . I should not do this because I will do anything to avoid it. Perhaps we will talk about this more on the NEX blog, ;).
So we start hiring people. For me personally, this is where it gets very dicey. The basic issue for me is that I do not trust my own instincts. When I acknowledge this, I ask the people I trust the most to help me. Here are just a few things I have learned – most of them the hard way.
Hire small first. There are so many great ways to do this today. Hire a part-time bookkeeper or outsource your social media. I’m not one to recommend interns – see below – but I really love professional services people who have small business packages. For instance, you can hire Tamay Shannon as your social media strategist for one price. She can do the daily execution and engagement for a higher fee. But if you really want the best deal - $47 per month – you can join a facebook group where you get templates, training, advice, feedback and have email access for questions. Perfect!
Hire slowly; Fire quickly. Take your time to interview. Maybe establish a trail period to see if they are a good fit. Have an established point of review at 90-180 days where you can end the employment without repercussions. Make sure to keep a journal of what you see. Address problems directly. Document the conversations and interactions. Then, if and when you see an issue, give it your full attention and make a decision about what to do. If you choose to establish a remediation period to correct behavior, stick to the agreement and deadline. Be ready to have a termination conversation – talk to your lawyer first. And be decisive.
You cannot hire a partner. Someone is either an employee or a partner. These are two totally different things. An employee is someone you are responsible for providing direction and guidance and making sure their paycheck is cut without question. A partner is someone who works to figure out how they (and you and everyone else) can actually get paid.
Maintain your standards. I recently picked up a phrase from Yvonne – “It’s ok. It’s just not good enough for me.” I find it to be one of the most comforting things I have learned in the last 6-7 years while founding the business. It’s got enough room to tell someone that what they did is good and would be acceptable to many people. (This translates as, “I am not criticizing you.”) But in this case, where it is for me. . . well, I have really high standards and it’s my business and that is that.
The most important thing you can do in terms of growing your business is to hire the right people. In a small business, you want people who care as much about what is happening as you do. It might not be realistic at first, but your employees should be committed and understand the important of them doing their job well. This will be the hardest thing you do in business, but if you work at it and find your way it will pay off substantially.