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Juggling Expansion And Hiring: When Is The Right Time To Increase Staff? - Articles Surfing

A major problem that all small to medium sized growing businesses face lies in handling expansion and staffing. To get the most out of your staff, you want to hire at the ideal time * that exact time when you start ramping up and exceed normal capacity. Here, there is no wasted time or money on unnecessary staff. But how do you know when the right time is? There is no way to predict the future. This article describes the few necessary steps that precede a staffing decision and details how to create the best possible timeline for your hiring.

So You Think You Can Staff?

Assess the situation * To go from Point A to Point B, you have to know where Point A really is. Without assessing your current situation, you will have no idea as to how you should proceed. Sit down and look at your current business model. Crunch some numbers to find out how your staff is being utilized. Are you nearing capacity in your normal day-to-day operations? Has there been an increase in the number of your customers? These are good signs that you need to hire more help. But these are also the most obvious tip-offs.

If you plan on expanding your business into other markets by taking on new products or services or by bringing outsourced jobs in-house, then you really need a clear view of how your future business will operate.

Develop a business model * The next step plans the trip you will take from Point A to Point B. Sit down with someone who has an accounting, strategic management, or consulting background and outline the next few quarters or even the next few years of your business under the new model. You can hire someone on an hourly basis or work with someone already in your company. Just make sure this person can help you develop the best possible model possible. Plan everything out to the finest detail. What new tasks will there be? How long will they take? How do these tasks interact with each other? How many people will be needed for each task? How much will you pay each person? Will the pricing in your expanded business be able to cover new salaries and fixed costs associated with ramping up? What are the critical points in the timeline where equipment and staff must be added? And, most importantly, where is the break even?

Keep asking questions even after you*re done with the model. Revisit it as often as you can to get a fresh look at it.

Filling the jobs * Now that you*ve planned out all the new tasks associated with your expansion, you need to think of the jobs that go along with them. Even more questions arise. Do you need multiple people to do one job? Can one person handle multiple jobs? Can the current staff take over some operations for a few months to save money? What kind of strain would this place on the current staff?

Start assessing your business environment and the social aspects of how your business currently runs. Is it very businesslike or is it a more casual environment? Think about the type of person that would have the best fit with your business. Look at the tradeoffs between skills and personality. Is the job this person would be doing so hard that you need to focus more on skills? Or is there some leeway in the position where you could focus on a person who fits your business environment more?

Plan, Prepare, Analyze, Wait, and THEN Hire:

Plan in the long term. This is where developing a business model comes in. Find the most likely outcome of your future growth and plan staff accordingly. Mark critical points in your timeline where you know you will have to take on extra help. But be sure to plan in terms of capacity, not time.

If you are hiring a person to work on a certain task and your business is growing, you'll want to think about how this person will get along with other people. You may eventually have to hire two people to work side-by-side on the same task. And have contingency plans if people want to go on vacation or suddenly quit on you. It's best if you plan coverage where certain people can temporarily fulfill two tasks at the same quality when others are unable to work.

Look at the tradeoffs between their current experience and their ability to learn. Is this person overqualified or under qualified? You can always hire someone who is lacking in skills but has proven his or her ability to learn and adapt quickly. Remember, you*re planning on growing your company and an adaptable person like this can be very beneficial.

Take the time and find the right person. If this employee is going to grow with your company, you need to make the correct choice. NEVER get hasty and offer someone a position right after an interview. Interview all applicants at least once. Meet informally over lunch. Know their history, goals, and deepest desires. This person has to mesh well with your company. Just remember to take it slow.

Submitted by:

Heather Loftiss

Marketing Tips Provided to You by: Heather Loftiss, President of Water Design Studio (http://www.waterdesignstudio.com), Author of the Customer Connection (http://morerepeatsales.com)



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