One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is when to hire in your small business. And as you likely know already, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
Hire too early, and you risk wasting budget on staff you don’t need. Too late, and you risk losing projects you don’t have the resources to follow through with—or worse, burning your existing employees out as they each take on the work of several people.
Thankfully, there’s a few telltale signs that mean it may be time to staff up. Here are six signals that it’s the right time to hire another employee.
1. When customer service slips
Perhaps the most obvious sign it’s time to beef up your team is when customer service starts to falter. If missed deadlines, incomplete tasks, and disgruntled clients start to become the norm, don’t ignore the red flags. Bring in some extra help as soon as you can.
2. When your workload outgrows your existing resources
If you find yourself in a position where you’re turning down new business simply because you don’t have the people to get it done, then you’re in a great position to hire. If you’ve got a solid foundation, then hiring new employees to take on fresh business opportunities is a big win, even if there are upfront costs associated with recruiting and onboarding.
3. When there are never enough hours in the day
We’ve all got 24 hours in a day and you need to make them count. As a small business leader, you probably make good use of every last one. But no matter how you divide them up, there are still only 24, and you can’t make them last any longer than they do. If you’re stretching yourself too thin, and even the best productivity tools and resources aren’t giving you enough time back, then it’s probably time to add another employee to your roster.
4. When high-value employees have to do low-value work
As your business starts to grow, you might find that you or other senior staff are caught up doing a high volume of manual tasks—like chasing signatures, form-filling, and document filing. If they’re spending the majority of their time doing these administrative tasks, then you should either hire and delegate them to a lower-level employee or use technology to lessen the burden.
5. When you need a different set of skills
There comes a point along the road where you’ll likely identify a skills gap. You might start to notice patterns in the features or services your customers ask for and realize it requires specialty in a certain discipline. If you need a certain set of skills and experience, then hiring someone to plug the gap is a great way to fuel future growth.
6. When it’s well within budget
If you’re just starting out then your profit margins might be slim and you’d be better holding off for a while. But if you can afford hiring a new employee, then adding an extra team member lets you broaden your service offering, better delegate work, and focus on expanding your business and exploring different avenues for growth.
Is now the right time to hire?
If you identify with one or more of the above, it might be time to bring another team member on board.
With a clear business case for hiring, and an idea of what kind of thing they’ll be doing on a regular basis, now it’s time to decide exactly who that person should be.