April 29, 2019

4 Signs It's Time to Hire More Staff for Your Startup

Aaron Vick

Aaron Vick
CSO/cicayda

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One of the challenges startups face is scaling up, or expanding the customer base. This involves some risks, and one of them is adding staff and still managing to make the budget work.

You have the huge challenge ahead of knowing exactly when you can afford it and when you have time to train someone. With enough forethought, you can pick the precise time for your startup.

Get the most advantage from the timing of your onboarding project. Here are four glaring signs it's time to hire more staff for your startup.

1. You Can't Fulfill Promises

If there is so much work you are working all the time without any breaks or time for yourself, it's time to hire help. When the work piles up too much, you start losing customers because they aren't willing to wait for the delays that happen when you're overbooked.

Knowing when there is enough work for someone else is tough. You don't want to hire employees and then pay them to do nothing because there aren't as many jobs as you thought.

One way to get around that is to hire a little at a time. Hire one person and spend the time training them when you have a few lulls.

When they are ready, pass off one of your tasks to the new hire. This leaves you free to work on other things. Then go back to training them to do another task when you are both caught up on the current projects.

Sooner or later you'll be able to have the new hire train the newer hire to do what they have been working on. You can keep working on other things in the meantime. When the newest hire is doing those jobs, hand off another task to the first employee.

It's a bit like Tetris, or a clown juggling too many bowling pins. But if you move the pieces around the right way, you'll keep afloat and the customers will get their products on time without hiccups.

When you can't fulfill promises to your customers, it's a sign that you might be ready for some help.

2. Current Employees Aren't Happy

Are your current employees unhappy? Or worse, are your current employees are quitting? The worst thing you can do for employees you already have it give them a reason to leave the company. If you're overworking the employees you do have, they won't stick around for very long.

Spend time letting them know they're valued, especially when they've put in extra time or extra effort to complete a big project. They'll know that the hard work they are doing doesn't go unappreciated.

Communicate about when you'll be bringing on new people, too. Introducing a new personality to the social climate of the company is a big step, and it will affect their everyday work environment. Making sure that no one feels left out goes a long way toward generating loyalty, and preparing them for a fresh face helps.

Office culture and personalities are an important part of the company dynamics, and current employees may be nervous about new ones, even if they're overworked.

If current employees seem disgruntled or even more tired than usual, it may be time to hire a new employee.

3. You Can't Outsource

Before you hire an employee in-house, do some research to see whether you can outsource the work. If you can hire someone else to get the task done, you may be able to spend less money than if you hired someone new.

If you're monitoring your online reputation, you may have some ideas for improving your social media presence or SEO tactics. You can outsource these types of jobs and many others.

Some of the tasks you could outsource are a good opportunity to use technology. Is there a machine or software you could try? The initial investment may be hard to swallow, but chances are the profits outweigh the fundamental setback.

Do a cost-benefit analysis to find out if it would be worth it to have another company help with the tasks you can let go of-instead of another employee.

If you can't outsource a task, then you know it's time to hire.

4. Most Important Sign It's Time to Hire

Can your business take the hit?

There is always a cost to bring on a new employee. Expect the P&L to take a hit at the beginning. How long it will be before you start seeing profits from the expanded staff depends on the company. It may be a month, or it may be three.

There are costs associated with advertising for the position, along with recruiting and interviewing. You'll also lose money to pay the employee during training, while they won't be doing any work or producing anything. And you'll lose money on the person training the new hire, because they will get pulled away from their work, too.

Not only that, but while the new employee is getting the hang of their job, there will be mistakes that can be expensive. They won't be as fast at their job as others who have had more practice. Most often, these things work themselves out and you begin to make money.

Consider the cost if an employee doesn't work out, though. You lose twice the money for only half the eventual benefit.

If you're sure that your business is ready to lose a little to gain a little, then it's definitely time to bring on a new employee.

Grow Your Business

When you can't fulfill promises, your current employees aren't happy, and you can't outsource the job, you may be ready to hire a new employee (or a few). Knowing when it's time to hire means you have a careful balance of time and resources.

Managing your workforce helps keep things running well. You can continue to be successful, even as you take this big step.

Read more new business tips from startup mentor Aaron Vick on the blog.

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