Moving past the ‘I can do it all’ philosophy
Growing up Peter saw first-hand what it took to run a business. His dad was a successful entrepreneur who was an efficient hands-on person who sometimes experienced the frustration that came along with owning a business and managing staff who were sometimes not as experienced and skilled in his trade as he was.
But it’s literally impossible to grow a digital marketing business by yourself unless your goal is to of course have a one-person business, but that’s not our goal in our business. We needed staff and Peter was aware of this fact quite early on. Christina on the other hand needed a little bit more persuasion to hire staff as she is naturally independent. It took her a while to realize that she was now running a business, a business that was growing and it was something that needed to be done – we needed staff who we could depend on.
The first time we started interviewing people, we felt proud that so many people wanted to join our company but for Christina, it was also challenging to internalize the process as she still felt unsure as to what it was she was actually looking for (which looking back was probably not the right approach to start with).
We now we have a better framework when it comes to hiring, what position we need, and when we need to hire, etc. but in the beginning, it was a different story where we felt we had to rush to get someone on board to help us when we felt we were just too busy.
Looking for the right person
The interview process is interesting because everyone talks a great game in their interview – and who wouldn’t? People usually will tell you things that they think you would want to hear. Peter is a trusting person and is a people’s person and wants to like everyone, but there has to be a point of differentiation between one candidate and the next, and that’s the really tough part.
So, for our communications, marketing, and public relations company, we’re about people at the end of the day. We ended up hiring two people after looking for only one, but that was definitely the right move. We had enough revenue and work to sustain two people.
What we would have done differently
Our advice to you is to start earlier. When do you hire, there are two ways to do it: at the last possible minute to maximize revenue and profit or proactively so that you can continue to provide the service that your clients expect and it gives you time to do the proper training.
Think carefully about what your business needs in terms of skillset; you could even create a picture prior to the interview of your ideal candidate and then test people in an interview against the example of your ideal candidate. You’re never going to ever get a perfect match but it’s good preparation in terms of establishing what you need – simply being too busy and needing help is not good enough.
As a service company hiring late is a really dangerous thing to do because you end up getting too busy as you’re trying to keep clients happy and at the same time train staff and it ends up being a recipe for disaster. The benefits of hiring faster or from part-time to full time will be worth it in the long run because it helps you accelerate faster in terms of growth.
It’s also important to take note of the growth of your business and hire before your business starts to grow too quickly. If you have an HR process that is streamlined it makes the interview process flow almost seamlessly. Take your time and don’t jump the gun and hire too quickly. From our experience having recently hired someone, it took a couple of interviews before we could say we knew for certain that we had found the perfect match to manage our digital marketing. The timing was perfect, there was a similar cultural fit and she had enough time to grow into the role rather than just throwing her into the deep end and hoping she could swim. If you hire too late, you’re setting up your new hires for failure which is not good for you or your clients and not good for your staff.
As challenging as it can be at times, your staff are a valuable part of your business and is a necessary step if you want your business to keep growing.