Small-business owners can determine when it's time to make hires and what jobs they'll require to move up.
  • While hiring is a critical milestone in increasing the size of your business, however, it can be difficult for entrepreneurs.
  • Choosing the best time to add positive people to your team is difficult.
  • Two entrepreneurs offer tips about when to hire and who you should bring on to expand your business.
  • The article in question is part of Talent Insider, the series that provides expert advice for small- and medium-sized business owners. Overcome a variety of challenges in hiring.

In the beginning, when Angela Engel launched her book-publishing business in 2019, she had a vast experience in marketing and sales of books. However, as she expanded her business, she lacked the specific skills required to grow.

In the beginning, Engel hired a director of acquisitions and operations before employing a designer. She has since expanded her team to five employees. In addition, she frequently collaborates with freelancers.

Engel’s business — The Collective Book Studio, an independent publisher focusing on lifestyle food and children’s literature, is among 31 million small-scale companies in the US, with 19 percent of which employ individuals, per the Small Business Administration. As new startups emerge due to the Great Resignation and the subsequent business boom, many entrepreneurs seek to expand their businesses by developing their teams.

Although hiring is an important milestone, it’s an intimidating task for entrepreneurs. Deciding when is the best time to hire, what tasks to delegate to new employees, and who will make an excellent addition to the team could be daunting.

Know your personal and business bandwidth

Engel stated that the first step entrepreneurs should take before establishing teams is to ensure they are wholly involved in their own business. When she started The Collective Book Studio, she was working as a side hustle that could pull her away from her business. She recommends that founders invest all their time and effort into their company, despite the risk.

After she had made the running of The Collective Book Studio her primary task, she became familiar with everything about the business, starting from the acquisition of stories to creating illustrations. She understood her capabilities in terms of skills and time — after she was in the same situation.

For instance, Engel learned she needed someone who could comprehend the concept of illustrations and graphics. “There are some employees I have to hire because I don’t have those skills,” she explained.

Erim Kaur, the founder of ByErim, an online hair-care company, is also aware that assigning work is essential when trying to grow an enterprise.

Erim Kaur, the founder of ByErim. Courtesy of Erim Kaur.

“When I started, I did every role myself,” she explained. “The initial customer-service emails were from me, just signing off with a different name.”

Before she launched her business publically in the year 2019, Kaur was also seeking advice from an expert by hiring a lab to make the final hair oils following her formula to meet the safety and legal requirements that cosmetics must be able to meet before a company can offer products to the general public.

“When you find yourself doing more managerial tasks rather than being a leader,” it’s the time to make a hire, Kaur said in a follow-up email. “A founder is there to instill vision and help the team work towards a greater goal.”

Create the foundation of your company before you make a hire

It’s thrilling for entrepreneurs to invest in growth elements such as marketing, but there’s no need to advertise services you don’t provide adequately. She started by prioritizing hiring for other positions, including copyeditors, managing editors, and production.

“Before spending too much money in marketing and worrying about social-media campaigns, I focused on the backbone of my business to make it work operationally,” she stated. Engel added an associate in marketing last year and a director of marketing for senior positions in the past year after she had taken on other parts.

For a small-business owner hiring managers, your mindset is crucial.

Angela Engel (left) collaborating on an upcoming book. courtesy of Engel

Certain positions require specific qualifications like accountants and lawyers. In addition to those particular roles, Kaur said examining the applicant’s mindset is essential.

“When it comes to things that don’t require formal qualification, like customer service or marketing, it’s about people’s attitude,” she explained. “I always prefer a long-term mindset: someone who wants to stick and grow with the brand.”

Furthermore, Engel believes recruiting candidates with a range of skills is essential. Even if a company doesn’t choose to hire an employee to do a straightforward task, that does not mean they won’t be required to step in when someone else is due to illness, especially in this small of a team, she added.

“It’s not a corporate job,” she explained, “so you have to have someone who can take the initiative and be willing to pivot because that’s the success of a small business.”

By Mia

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