How to Hire for your Small Business

By Ingrid Vaughan, MySmart HR & Leadership

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the workload in your growing business but paralyzed by the thought of hiring someone to help? It’s one of the most common small business dilemmas. Expanding your team can be scary, but when you recognize you can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all, finding the right person to step into your weaknesses and free you up to work on your strengths is the best business strategy you can employ for growth.

My first hire as a solopreneur was an admin support person. I knew I needed help, but the thought of bringing someone on was terrifying. What if I hired someone and then didn’t actually have enough work for them? What if I hired the wrong person and it made things worse? What would happen if I let go of the details and control of every aspect of my business? If you’re on the cusp of growth, here are some tips for knowing who, how and when to hire.

Be patient – it doesn’t always work the first time.

My first two hires didn’t turn out because I lacked clarity about what I needed. It wasn’t until I got very clear about the skills I needed, the hours I had to offer, the specific tasks that needed doing and the type of person I needed who would complement my personality, that I found the perfect person to help me grow.

How do you know when you’re ready?

  1. When your business or clients suffer because your weaknesses are overtaking your strengths.
  2. When your workload no longer becomes manageable.
  3. When you’re feeling stagnant and in a holding pattern in your business.

Contractors or employees?

Initially, I could only offer 5-7 hours a week so hiring a contractor was the best choice for me. I only had to pay for the hours they worked, didn’t have to pay source deductions and had the freedom to end the relationship based on the contract if things didn’t work out. I still love collaborating with other professionals at a really high level.

This works well for consultants, but what if you have a storefront, retail, restaurant or other business that requires “boots on the ground”? According to Revenue Canada, you can’t hire contractors if they are required to work on your premises, use all your equipment and supplies, and work according to a schedule you set. If that’s you, employee status is necessary, so be sure you factor this into your decision. If you do hire employees, make sure you enlist the support of an accountant or bookkeeper who can ensure you’re complying with employment standards.

If you feel the push to expand, it means you’re rocking it in your business and most importantly, you’re moving towards working in the place where you’re at your best and offering your clients the highest value. When everyone else on your team is also in their zone, you have an unstoppable force that will propel you and your business forward.