How To Overcome The Fear of Hiring People For Your Small Business

Scaling / June 30, 2015 / Kristie

The growth phase of a small business can be both exciting and scary as hell. It’s exciting because business is booming. You have a steady list of clients and a lot of work on your plate. This is great! Except that you’re so busy you’re having to turn down new work and clients. You’re up to your ears in so much work that you’re having to turn down new business and it leaves a deep burn in your soul to have to say no to business that you really want to engage in. You’re not able to do it all by yourself or with the current team you have. Sure, you could take on more business if you had more help. It seems logical to grow your team so you can grow your business. But then it happens. You get “The Fear”…

fear of hiring

You know deep down you need extra hands but you start second guessing if it’s really the right thing to do…at least for right now. You start asking yourself questions that slowly dissolve any confidence you once had in the idea. You think to yourself…

How do I find the right person?
Do I even have time to look for someone and go through the hiring process?
Will it be easier if I just do it myself than have to hire and train someone?
What happens if business slows down and I can’t cover the person’s pay cheque?

For a one-person business, the thought of adding your first employee is even more of a challenge if you haven’t had any previous management experience.

Relax. Everyone goes through this at the beginning of a growth spurt. We asked AJ, our CEO, how he overcame the fear of hiring people when he first started Marketcircle back in 1999.

“It’s easy to overthink it, but sometimes you just need to take the dive and know that it will be better for your business in the long run. Sometimes you have to do some leg work and make sure you’re prepared to take someone else on.” says AJ.

AJ’s Top 5 Tips For Overcoming The Fear of Hiring People For Your Small Business

#1 Keep It Simple

Don’t overcomplicate the process. By overthinking it, you’ll make it a bigger deal than it has to be and scare yourself out of what could be really good for your small business. Put together a few check points in place of how you’re going to tackle taking on a new person and then just do it.

#2 Prepare a Job Description

Write a brief job description and make sure you’re working on it over a period of time so you have a clear understanding of what you want and need this new person to do. Revisit the job description a few times to make sure you haven’t left anything out. This doesn’t mean it has to be a complex description. Bullet points are fine. The idea is to just make sure you jot down a collection of that things you’ll be letting this new person take on so both parties have expectations.

#3 Become Knowledgeable In What You’re Afraid Of

Develop your skills so you’re able to delegate. You need to be able to trust this new person so you don’t end up micro managing. That just ends up wasting their time and yours. If you’ve never managed people before, start reading about how to manage people. Do things that will help you gain knowledge and confidence towards your fears.

#4 Assess Your Options

If you’re hiring a sales person, you can offer them a position that is mainly based on a commission so they’re motivated to pull their own weight and it puts less financial stress on you. If you’re hiring someone non-comission (for example an assistant), you can try hiring a co-op or intern to test if you’re able to handle taking on a new employee. This limits your liability so you’re not obligated to keep someone you can’t financially support or someone that may not be the right fit.

#5 Leverage The Probation Period

A lot of employers wait until the end of a probation period to assess if they’re ready to take someone on long term. The problem is, by that time it’s too late. Use this time to your advantage by being proactive. Schedule daily checkins and weekly or bi-weekly checkins so you can gauge their progression. Again, keep it simple. A daily checkin shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, and a weekly or bi-weekly checkin should only be 10-15 minutes. Keep it short and sweet. Check that they know what they’re supposed to be doing and have an opportunity to ask questions. Create an environment where they’re comfortable asking questions and pay attention to the questions they ask. If they’re asking too many “silly” questions or the same question over and over, it may be a sign that they’re not the right fit.

By using the probation period to assess them regularly, you’ll be able to tell if it’s going in the right direction for you and them. Monitor changes in yourself during their probation period as well. Are you able to work better because they take more responsibilities off your hands? Are you still maintaining the same level of service? If the answer is yes, you know you’re in the right direction. It’s also helpful to set goals or targets for this person during their trial period. See how they’re able to adapt and reach these targets throughout their probation, instead of at the end when it’s too late.

Overall, make sure you’re prepared. Do what you can ahead of time to prepare yourself for managing another person and dividing the work load. Create a plan of how to assess that you’ve made the right decision. Then be flexible to adjust your business as you need.

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