Appearing larger than life in business is ego building for sure. I can say from experience that it is pretty cool to say you have a “team of twelve” (believe me I said it many times). But when I began to shut down my last company, I was surprised by how lean and mean I could have been running that business. There was no pride left in the statement when I realized that maybe that team of twelve was more an ego boost than a necessity. Those twelve salaries could have been divided four or five positions instead and guess what? I could have been paying myself all along.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for creating jobs. There is nothing as satisfying as offering another woman the ability to grow in her career and provide for herself and her family. However, we cannot let the pride of “we are hiring again” to push out the common sense of knowing if a position is really needed. I talk a lot about knowing you cannot be everything and do everything as an entrepreneur. So then how do we balance that important task of finding the right people for the right tasks so we can shine in our sweet spot? How do we hire right instead of hiring just to hire? I think there are three filters we can use when making hiring decisions.
1. Finding your entrepreneurial super power and build a team around it
If I could do one thing over, (and believe me it is hard to narrow it down to just one thing over), I would take an entire day, and research myself. I would take a deep dive into where my passion lies, my expertise, my exit strategy. Making a comprehensive list of what I love to do, what fills my passion bucket, why subjects interest me, where I feel inadequate, where I envision myself in ten years. When you are in the thick of things, when sales are booming and there seems to be a never ending work load it is so easy to just hire to fill another position. But hiring without clear purpose just adds faces to the team and builds positions without a strategy. If you can first identify where you fit best in the company you can begin to hire strategically to build the structure around you.
2. Streamline your job descriptions
Once you outline your own job description – if someone where to hire you what would they hire you for – you can then create detailed and specific job descriptions for team members that will fill in the gaps and create a full and vibrant team picture in your company. There is no need to hire someone that can sell if your secret super power is selling! Keep that position yourself, do it best and then hire someone to manage operations. This allows you to sell and then hand off the sale to a team member more qualified for the next phase. Take time to sit down and write your own job description and then hire around that.
3. Hiring people whose number one skill is time management
When I begin to downsize as I transitioned out of my retail business I had a team of twelve, a retail store, an office space and a 3,000 sq ft warehouse. I had no idea how we would continue to carry the workload we had as we became a team with fewer and fewer members. What I was shocked to see was how as one person moved on in their career, another team member would pick up their workload and we kept on going. We didn’t add hours to the workweek. We didn’t outsource anything. We just continued to streamline the process and get rid of all the “fluff”. All those extra tasks that kept everyone busy but were not an integral piece to making our company thrive. By the end of our downsizing, I looked around at the three team members that remained and saw we were still getting everything done. Believe me- that was an “ah-ha moment”. That’s when it hit me. The women left on the team were really good at time management. They knew how to prioritize their day, check off a list and maximize each movement. If you look for this key ingredient when hiring you will create the most efficient team possible while wisely using resources.
Defining your role, being very specific with your job descriptions instead of hiring just to hire, and looking for people who can manage their time well will help you build a team with a purpose.