Every small company experiences times when they are short of staff because of seasonal demand or large special projects. Let’s face it—there is really no way for a small business to staff correctly 100 percent of the time.
So how do you know that it really is time to hire, and not just a temporary problem? Here are five signs that it’s probably time to hire:
- Overtime is normal. Having your staff consistently work overtime in order to meet your promises to your customers is a good signal that it is time to hire.
- The quality of the work and the customer service is deteriorating below past levels. If you are receiving an unusual number of complaints from your customers (you are tracking customer complaints, right?), your staff may be feeling overloaded and may be rushing to complete jobs. Failing to fix this quickly will result in your reputation being damaged, possibly forever.
- If it isn’t a fire, it never seems to get done. If low-priority projects never seem to get done and promised customer deadlines are often missed, you probably need to hire help.
- The owner always has to step in to handle normal everyday tasks. If you are always helping out to deliver work in a timely manner, you probably should hire. Remember that 80 percent of the owner’s time should be spent getting new customers, cross-selling and upselling to current customers, and looking for ways to increase sales and profits.
- When your business has to turn down new business and opportunities, it is most likely time to hire. You should never be so busy that you don’t have time to recognize and take advantage of changes that would give your company a competitive advantage. Dropping the ball in this area can put your company’s future at risk (Don’t believe me? Just ask Blockbuster how they let Netflix and Redbox beat them to a logical market for them).