As a small business owner, you often find yourself conflicted over whether or not to hire people to help or make due with what you’ve got…and sometimes what you’ve got is just you. I have seen business coaching programs that will not take on clients unless they have a staff or at least an assistant. I have issues with that because not all small business owners need staff, but I will admit everyone needs at least strategic team members that will help grow the business.
Now critics and skeptics will contend that a small business can’t hire just for the sake of hiring, and that there has to be a justified need to hire. I can agree with that, in some cases. But the bottom line is if you want to grow your business substantially, you can’t do it alone. You have to hire an effective team to strategically handle certain aspects of your business while you focus on what you do that fuels the company. I’ve learned over the years that certain key personnel are essential if you plan to grow a real business.
Administrative Assistant- I didn’t know how much I really needed one until I first hired one. Some have worked out great, some not so great. But I realize as the head of a growing company, there are certain things I don’t need to be doing on a daily basis. I have a tremendous respect for Assistants because they really do keep us plugging along. They are the gatekeepers, the screeners and the triage for you customers. They keep you from wasting countless hours on things that aren’t as high on your priority list. If you hire no other person, at least get an Assistant. Some will argue that making this hire is a waste of money because they can do the work themselves. But if you are CEO, you shouldn’t be. Make sure you find and hire a great Administrative Assistant to help make you a more efficient CEO.
Marketing Specialist- Unless you are a powerhouse marketer, some jobs are best left to professionals. I see many companies contracting out to marketing firms and end up losing more dollars instead of making more profits. I’m all for outsourcing when necessary, but I think in this case, it’s better to hire someone in-house for this. Having your own marketing person allows you to have a dedicated person to help you brand, promote and build business recognition. An internal person is invested in the success of the marketing strategies because they are responsible for it and their jobs depend on it. Some people say marketing and branding are two different things. And they are, to some extent. But a great marketing person will have a command of the brand and work hard to build a community to embrace that brand. And it helps if they are talented in design and social media too.
Business Development (Salesperson)- In a small company, sales usually defaults to the owner. He or she knows the products, services and company inside and out. So what better person is there to do the selling? The only problem is not everyone is meant to sell and not everyone can sell. As the head of my company, my job is to help others grow their business. Yes, I spend a tremendous amount of time building a community and prospecting. But selling is an ongoing thing. I like to build my client base organically, not by trickery or some funneling harassing techniques. I know that selling is something that is better left for the professionals. A business development person takes care of the prospecting and getting people to the point of closing, and it’s my job to make the close. So if you’re looking to get more customers, service more clients, move more products, hire a business development person to handle the sales.
Human Resources Specialist- As your business grows, you’ll need to add new staff. Once you start hiring people things get tricky. A lot of people choose to ignore the legalities of hiring by trying to game the system. They’ll hire part-timers or independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and in some cases taxes. But this can catch up with you. Some small business owners also fail to create a staffing plan so they’re not caught under or over-staffed. Failing to have a staffing plan can cause you to hire based on panic or perceived need. It can also cause them to postpone hiring and putting more duties on existing staff members, causing them to be overworked. A Human Resources Specialist can help you plan and execute your plan, and keep you in compliance with the department of labor and the IRS. While they should not be confused with or a substitute for Recruiters, an HR Specialist can help keep you current, legal and properly staffed.
There are a few other team members you will need as time goes on. But the above four are ideal for the small business looking to grow. As you grow, you adjust and add staff members as needed, not because it’s what everyone else is doing. Hire your weaknesses and make sure that everyone understands the short and long term goals for your business. You can’t grow efficiently without the right team.
Til Next Time,
Growing my team one person at a time!
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Adrienne Graham is the Founder & CEO of Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org). She is a strategist that helps people grow their career, business or network in any economy. She is the voice behind Views from the Top Radio Show, and the creative visionary behind Empower Me! Institute and Empower Me! Magazine. Her writing and shows focus on Career Management, Networking Strategies, Entrepreneurial Success and Small Business Management. You can also find her causing a ruckus on Forbes.com.