Growth is what every aspiring entrepreneur wants for their business; but taking on new staff can be a terrifying prospect. Columnist and our Director Lee McQueen tells us why hiring is hard, and how to tell when you’re ready for it.
The decision to start taking people on is a massive one. When you start out and you’re working alone, you have responsibility for you and your bottom line and that’s it. As soon as you hire somebody else, that’s a huge responsibility. They’re hoping to get paid, obviously, and perhaps to have a fantastic career. As your business grows, so that responsibility grows.
It’s really important to keep an eye on the finances, because you need to make sure that people can get paid. It is always a worry, even now, every single month.
SAVE OR SPEND
The more net profit – or operating profit – you get, you have a choice to make. You can plough it back into the business, or you can spend it on nice holidays and playing golf – if you don’t get the balance right, it can be very demotivating for staff. Everyone who works for me knows the vision I have, and the growth I want to achieve in my
five-year plan. The bigger picture is more important than a new set of golf clubs for the MD.
It’s hard to know whether you’re ready to grow; for me, it was because I couldn’t physically do any more myself. So I hired someone to do processes. Then we couldn’t physically bring in more customers, so I hired two sales guys. But then we couldn’t deliver all the work we were booking, so I needed to hire someone to deliver it. It was almost a natural progression. I’m not always 100% sure I’ve got it right every time. But it’s a balance – some employees are ambitious and they want to grow their team quickly, but it might not be the best thing for the business. There’s a balance between not over stretching yourself, and taking that risk of getting in another three employees to kick you up to the next level.
I come from a corporate environment – I’ve always managed big teams. So to come in and manage just one person was completely different. Now we have 10 – we’re at a stage where we’re a little business, but we still need a hierarchy, a structure with line managers. That’s tricky for me though, because I’m a control
freak! I want to empower my staff, but it’s really difficult to let go. That’s a new skill I’ve had to learn. However much you’re passionate about your job in the corporate world, it’s not your money. When it’s your business, it’s totally different because it is your money, so it’s much harder to give up control.
We definitely have a strong ethos at Raw Talent. If you interviewed any of our staff, they’d be able to tell you the vision, the ethos and the grand plan. Your staff have to buy into it, they have to believe it – because you have to believe it to sell it. That training absolutely starts at interview stage, and it doesn’t stop.