Small business owners are responsible for multiple facets of their business. But they can’t be everywhere at once. Sooner or later, most founders face the task of hiring help.
Hiring employees is a huge step for any growing business, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you're undecided about bringing in some help, here are seven signs it might be time.
1. Your level of customer service is slipping
To grow your business, you need to meet or exceed customer expectations. For a small business, hiring employees can be essential to keep up with customer service. Your customers may go elsewhere if you’re unable to respond quickly to their issues.
According to Hubspot, it’s cheaper and more profitable to retain your existing clientele — repeat customers are 300% more likely to spend more with your company.
2. You’re saying “no” to new business
One of the most obvious signs of needing more help is if you're turning down new business. This could mean several things — either your services are in high demand, or you're overbooked because you simply can't do everything on your own anymore.
Either way, hiring someone with similar skills to help out is one option for dealing with this situation. For example, if you need help for a few hours a week, a part-time employee can take tasks off your plate. But a full-time staff person might make sense if you’re looking for longer hours or a permanent employee.
3. You want a better work-life balance
If you’re like many small business owners, you might have started your business because you liked what you did and wanted to be in charge of how much or how little you worked. But if you're working long hours every day of the week, you might be setting yourself up for burnout (or worse).
A NEXT Insurance survey found that nearly half of small business owners are working more hours — 40% of owners report feeling frustrated and stressed with the state of America’s workforce.
If you're at a point where your productivity has plateaued, and there are no obvious improvements to make, consider bringing someone else on board. You’re not just a business owner; you’re also a human who needs to enjoy life outside of work.
4. Your employees are overwhelmed
Maybe you already have employees, but business is booming. You might be ready to hire more help if your employees work long hours, feel overwhelmed, and complain about their workload. Unhappy employees can wreak havoc on company morale or quit suddenly leaving you in the lurch, which can be bad for business.
For example, suppose you own a busy food delivery business. If you’re understaffed, your staff might experience intense stress trying to keep up with orders.
But remember that hiring is about more than finding someone who can get the job done. It's also about finding the right person for your team and ensuring that they work well with your existing people.
5. You want to bring tasks in-house
Outsourcing might make sense when you’re getting off the ground as a startup and don’t have the cash flow for employees. But you may want to bring some tasks in-house as your business starts making money.
Taking on an employee could save you money or improve the quality of your work, or both. For example, to bring marketing in-house, consider hiring a marketing specialist or an administrative assistant to help with Amazon PPC ads or social media management.
Before posting a job listing, think about which aspects of your business can be done internally and what makes sense for your company.
6. You want to unlock new ways to make money
A common reason small business owners need employees is they want to unlock new ways to make money. You might be looking to expand your business to a new location or launch a new product or service.
If you sell products, you may add a new product line or expand your offerings in other ways. Or, suppose you’re a fitness trainer and have been working with clients one-on-one. In that case, you may want to transition into offering group classes or online fitness trainer courses.
7. You want to take on a more strategic role.
You probably didn’t start your business because you thought it would be fun to ship orders, answer phone calls and keep the books. Most business owners build their companies out of a passion or area of interest. But it’s easy to let day-to-day operations keep you from working on business growth.
If this is true for your situation, hiring a new team member can help. Then, your employee can handle tasks that keep your business running smoothly while you take on a more strategic role.
For example, you may have gone through the steps to start a mechanic shop, but now that you’re established, you want to grow. Hiring an employee to work on repairs can free up time to grow your business with marketing and other outreach efforts.
What business owners should know before hiring help
Now that we've covered the most common small business growth indicators, let's look at what you should consider before deciding when to hire help.
- Do you have enough business or cash to sustain an employee? Before hiring an employee and committing to payroll tax, benefits and paid time off, make sure you have enough work to justify having someone on staff.
- Are the tasks better with an employee or independent contractor? You might be better off hiring an independent contractor vs. an employee until your workload increases or becomes stable enough to support a full-time employee position.
- What role should you hire first? The position you hire first depends on your skills, the type of business you’re in and your payroll budget. You might look for skills gaps and weak spots or identify which tasks take up most of your time.
As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on the line when hiring an employee. It helps to follow a few small business hiring tips, such as creating a clear job description and waiting to hire help until you find the right person.
How NEXT helps small businesses succeed
You’ve worked hard to build your business. Congratulations!
As a business owner, there’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking about when to hire employees. You must consider your current and future business needs, how to establish the best working relationship with your new employee and how to protect against potential liability.
That’s where NEXT comes in. We’ll focus on helping your business succeed. To ensure you have exactly the coverage you need, we offer general liability, workers’ compensation coverage, commercial property and more.