Over the past two years, more people than ever before have decided to start their own business. In 2020 alone there were 4.4 million new small businesses across the country. Now, as we approach a few years into operation, many of these new businesses are coming to a crossroads. Some businesses are ready to grow but need more help to get to the next step. Some businesses may be failing but could be saved by some additional aid. Either way, these startup owners are going to realize they cannot run a business without help.
If you’re in one of these situations, or if you’re just looking to add additional help, then you’re in the right place. When hiring, choosing the right people and opening the right positions is extremely important. After creating a hiring plan, there are five positions you need to consider adding to your startup.
The Hiring Plan
Job hunters and prospective employees get their first impression of your business during the recruiting and interview process. If they feel you’re lacking in any way, they could cross your business off their list of potential places to work. So, what trends are people interested in seeing? What should you make sure to include in your interview process?
Over the past few years, the most important thing to prospective employees has been flexibility. When COVID-19 hit and the world went awry, remote work and extreme flexibility were ushered into almost every industry. Now, experts predict that some elements of remote work are here to stay, including the virtual hiring process. Depending on the industry you’re in, you may be able to conduct the entire recruiting and interview process online. Certain industries, like retail or something more customer-based, may require a final in-person interview to get a better feeling for a candidate, but the early steps can all be handled entirely virtual. Using available tech, such as a virtual interviewing platform allows you to effectively connect with any candidate from anywhere across the country. Virtually meeting is often better for both you and the candidate. The video call will also add more of a personal touch than an old-school phone call.
Besides a video-supported interview platform, we recommend putting a budget towards investing in other recruiting technology. Software offerings such as an assessment tool, job aggregators, and applicant tracking systems help your hiring process in the long run. If you’re worried about depleting whatever earnings you’ve saved from your business’s first few years of operation, you can use something like a personal loan to offset the costs of hiring. Experts estimate that it costs around $5,000 just to hire and train an employee, and that doesn’t even account for salary, benefits, and more.
Now that you have a hiring plan laid out, we can dive into the types of employees you should look to add.
1. Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Up until now, you’ve likely been handling almost every task across your business. As a solopreneur, you get exposed to so many different areas of the business, which is great but can quickly become too much for one person.
Bringing in a C-suite-level employee should be the first priority of your hiring process. A Chief Operating Officer is often seen as the owner or CEO’s right-hand. The CEO and COO work off one another to ensure the business is running smoothly and headed in the right direction.
As the owner, it will still be on you to make the big picture decisions that guide the future and culture of the company. The COO is there to help handle the day-to-day operations of the business. Some common tasks a COO may carry out include: meeting with other department heads, building relationships with outside businesses, reporting to the CEO, and implementing new methods of improving productivity.
When it comes to hiring a COO, make sure you do all the due diligence you can ahead of time. This will be one of the most costly and important employees to bring on, so you’ll want to make sure they fit in perfectly with you and the company. If you’re worried about finding the right person yourself, you can use a C-level recruiting service to help with the process.
- Marketing “Jack of All Trades”
After bringing on a COO, you can start off-loading more of your tasks by hiring specialized employees for specific departments. One of the first departments you’ll want to establish is your marketing department.
In these early stages of your business, it would be better to bring on more of a “spark plug” marketer rather than someone who is dedicated to one type of marketing. As your business grows, so too will certain departments, including marketing.
When looking for this “jack of all trades” type of marketer, look for someone who is skilled in these areas:
- Graphic Design
- Web Development
- Video Production
- Social Media Marketing
- Print Marketing
- Ad Copy
Remember, this person will not be an expert in all of these fields, as nobody truly can be. You want to find a candidate that is skilled enough across each of these marketing pillars to run the department until more help is added.
- Chief Technology Officer
As you begin to build out departments, you’ll soon realize that each department will need specific tools and technology offerings to best carry out their day-to-day tasks. Since you’re not an expert in each of these departments, it can be hard to suss out which tools are necessary and which ones aren’t.
This is where having a technology officer in place can help. A technology officer is a professional who is well versed in both technology and everyday business practices. They’re employees who identify and choose what type of technology platforms the company will use.
Again, this is a C-level employee, which means they will be a costly hire, and that should be given extra thought. The average salary of a CTO is over $150,000, so make sure you choose wisely when hiring for this position. To help make the interview process easier, here are 12 questions to ask any CTO candidate who interviews with your company.
- Sales/Service People
Just about every type of business needs customer-facing employees or generalized employees to keep the company ticking. While you and the rest of upper-management matter, the lifeblood of every company is the greater workforce.
These entry-level employees will look different depending on the industry you work in. If you own a restaurant, for example, the more general employees would be waiters, chefs, dishwashers, hosts, etc. On the other hand, if you own a small business based on a product you invented, then the salespeople would be where you want to focus your general hiring efforts.
Filling in these positions will be less costly per person, but the turnover is much higher the lower in an organization you go. The interview process is when you will be able to tell if a prospective employee will be a good fit or not. In the interview, pay attention to some of the top performance indicators. Things like curiosity, body language, and engagement can be indicators of a solid candidate.
When hiring the frontline employees that will represent your company, you should try to identify a candidate that is management material, as this department will need leadership as well.
- Human Resources Manager
Now that you have started to hire other employees, you should make an attempt to establish a human resources department. Since before you were the only employee there was no need, but now, having a person who is knowledgeable about benefits, payroll, employee culture, and more will be necessary.
An HR manager should be an excellent communicator, be able to solve complex problems, and handle difficult situations with employees.
Establishing a human resources department is one of the final steps to taking your business to the next level. Without an HR department, it’s extremely difficult to attract, keep, and maintain any employee. Some common tasks an HR manager will be able to help you with are:
- Workplace Conduct
- Performance Reviews
As your business grows, it’ll be necessary to have an HR department. A well-run HR department helps reduce turnover and attract new employees due to having an excellent employee culture.
Now you can set out on your hiring journey, you’ll have the key elements to continue building your company for success.