The last few years have seen an incredibly tight labor market, the tightest that most founders today have ever seen. This unfortunately has led to higher wages for B and C (or worse) players and many businesses settling on a hire, or afraid to hire at all. While the economic signals are still confusing overall, we have seen the available talent pool for small businesses increase, largely due to large company layoffs, slowing growth and an element of fear in the market. Perhaps it is time for you to revisit your team and hiring plans.
Is It Time to Uplevel? We see far too often businesses that grow rapidly and outgrow the capabilities of their team as well. The individual that got you from point A may not be able to get you to point B. If that next level talent could be available, what kind of growth capacity could it provide in operations, sales, HR or finance? It might be the key to sustainable growth. This requires a step back as a leader and a focused assessment on where the business is headed, not just where it is today. Don’t settle.
Is everyone operating at their HBU? What is the highest and best use of each function? Perhaps it is a question of bandwidth. When businesses start out, the team has to wear a lot of hats, but over time, more and more focus and specialization is needed. Could your sales leader benefit from a sales coordinator to free up time to drive strategic relationships? Would it make sense to add a staff accountant could free up the accounting manager or controller to focus on growing compliance needs.
Can You Upgrade? Maybe you are at a point where you had a hire that B minus player. There could be PTSD out there from an inability to find a warm body in the past. You could surely benefit from an improved level of execution out of the function. And there are ways to do a quiet search if needed. Are you getting what you need from the role? If not, better candidates are more readily available. Again, don’t settle.
Is Outsourcing the Answer? Maybe through your assessment of the team, an upgrade or uplevel in execution is needed. That doesn’t have to mean it is a full time hire. Companies have perfected the art of outsourced services across multiple business functions – revenue, operations, HR, finance, IT and marketing. Recently, we saw a growing business have tremendous success hiring a marketing agency replacing full time hires internally that had reached a ceiling. This greatly improved the depth and breadth of services under one roof, when in part the need was less than an FTE. And the results have generated a higher ROI. Just keep in mind, when outsourcing, it is equally as critical to ensure fit as with an internal hire.
As we talk all the time in working with so many small businesses, every one is unique and so are its people needs. What makes sense for your business and its evolution? People choices are about ROI too, every role contributes to the overall success of the business. We like to look at the faceless organization. What does that picture say in terms of current capability, and business need? The options are greater than they were even a year ago. Keep your eyes open. It could be the perfect time to invest. Don’t be afraid to take that next step. Grow boldly.