The timing of hiring in a small business is one of the most difficult things a growing company will deal with. With most hires, it is a simple math problem where you can look at the revenue production against the cost of an employee, and then make your decision. Hiring a manager of people is a different type of hire that is a bit of a leap of faith.
Nobody has poured more into the growth of your business than you have. Your employees can shut it off at night and go home with a clear mind, but not you. You are the Visionary, the Sales Staff, the HR Department, the Customer Service Department, the Manager, and the Technician as well. In his book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber simplifies this with three different roles; the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician. When you start a company, you are all three.
The question that comes up time and again is; when do you hire? And more importantly, when do you hire a manager? Any growing company must have consistent leadership that can be trusted and counted on. A business owner once told me, “when my employees leave, that is when my work begins”. He was working in his business, not on his business. He was ready to hire a manager. When your entrepreneur work is taking place outside of normal business hours, this may be your first sign that you are ready to hire a manager. When you spend most of your day leading, managing, and holding your employees accountable for their work, you may be ready to hire.
You may have an employee with management potential, but no one who is ready to take on responsibility today. This is what makes the timing so important, it must be planned for. If you try to play all three of Gerber’s roles at once, something will have to give and change will need to happen.
You have a couple of options at this point: 1) Work more 2) Get Help. Each will be uncomfortable, but getting help is the only long-term plan that will change the future. You need to find a manager who can take leadership and responsibility off your plate. They will be able to focus on and develop specific parts of your business. Your level of freedom will increase, allowing for you to spend more of your peak hours working on the business, instead of in it.
But deciding when to hire this manager is going to take some real planning. Here are three things to jump start you;
1. Evaluate Your Time
- You need some real data on how you spend your time. You may think you are spending 6 hours a day on management activities and it is really 3…..or it may be 10! You need to track it so that you have accurate data that will help you make a decision.
2. Consider the Value
- What is the value of the time you are spending as a manager? Is it creating the results you want it to? Are you increasing the effectiveness of your employees as their manager? This will help you confirm if a manager is the correct hire at this time.
3. Make a Decision
- Decide when you are going to begin working towards filling this position. Once your decision is made, we can move on to thinking about WHO you will hire, and HOW you will hire them.
These are the decisions that entrepreneurs need to make. You need to spend your peak time thinking about employee development, hiring, and healthy growth. There is a strategy to how you think about these things and how you make decisions. The answers to these questions will help you determine if you are going to hire a manager, and when you will hire them. Invest in your company now, think about these things. Your future self will thank you for all the time you saved.