The worst time to prepare to hire is when you badly need help. You should always operate your business as if someone else is going to run it without you present. This means you put structures in place to systematize, train and manage a team over time – not when the house is on fire. These structures, when built well, can set the tone for high performance. They can also help new employees quickly adjust to the job and culture. When missing, they can set a tone for chaos and low expectations. Your business could experience more dysfunction, miscommunication and downright drama in the office. I’ve listed some ways below that you can start preparing for your rock star team.
1. Build Your Organizational Chart
Create a dream organization chart of your first team. This is a great way to build a visual of the entire company and what it will look like once it has been expanded. This chart should visualize who performs which functions, and all relationships between employees and departments. One option is to build a functional organization chart that labels position by department. In Word, you can use the organizational chart function to help you with this. Either way, building this kind of chart is an inspiring activity to help you start thinking bigger. Comment below or email me and let me know how it felt to build your first company organization chart!
2. Write Your Job Descriptions
Each person’s job description is a must. If you work alone and do all jobs yourself, write a job description based on each of the jobs you currently do.
3. Calculate New Hire Costs
Make sure you have a sense of your dream team’s total cost. This includes salaries, work space, training, and work supplies. Will your team need company phones, office space, or a company car? Will you need to reimburse mileage or travel expenses? Set client goals that require scale and a team so you can plan the answers to these questions. Then, once you know how much you’ll need in order to hire a team, map out the number of additional clients, services, and products that your business will have to bring in in order to build your team. Make sure this number is incorporated in your business revenue goals.
4. Get Your Books in Order
Once you have people you need to pay, and possibly even people who are handling company finances by closing sales or handling transactions, you will definitely need a solid system for bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting. Hire an accountant to help with this and consider talking to your accountant about whether or not it makes sense to have a separate account for your unemployment taxes. Research companies like ADP to see what the cost would be to hire them to automate and manage your payroll. Check out our professional services page to get access to services offered by our collective of Black women accountants and bookkeepers.
5. Build and Document Your Systems
Company culture and company systems – these two elements will have key impacts on employee behavior, so you should consider them early and design them intentionally.
I’ll focus on systems for this step. You can give an employee a job description and say go for it. Do that and you’re lowering the chances they execute in a manner that will grow the business. Will their work align with your brand and your vision? Who knows? You’re taking a huge risk by letting them just go for it with no guidance. Think of it this way: if you put a train on tracks, it’s going to go to the exact destination where you send it. If it there’s no track for the train, we’re in trouble, right? Well, business systems are like good tracks: they map the specific steps and processes that your employees will follow to ensure that the customer gets the same quality delivery of services and products every time.
Here are some ways to document systems: an onboarding PowerPoint and/or webinar, an operations manual, front desk procedures, opening and closing checklists, sales scripts, client intake questionnaires, scheduling processes, close-of-sale procedures, etc. What all of these things have in common is that they give your employees an exact idea of how to deal with specific situations. So don’t just toss them out there to “figure it out!”
As a solopreneur, you may take for granted that your business runs smoothly because you know it inside out. However, if you’re not around and there’s nothing in writing, you are the business. That means the only way it succeeds is with you in it. That’s no way to give yourself the freedom that entrepreneurs love.
6. Invest in Management Training
Managing people and cultivating a high-performing team and great team culture is, hands-down, one of the toughest jobs an entrepreneur might ever face. It can make or break you and your business. Take it seriously. Make sure you’ve read some of the best books out there on team management. Enroll in training and see a coach to help you identify your strengths and growth areas, leadership style, and personality. Learn best practices in management. Create your own leadership development plan.
Need help documenting systems and building an onboarding program for your new employee or team? Email us at email@example.com for a consultation and check out The HR Shop, a Sistah-owned firm that can help you get your recruitment and hiring all the way together.
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