Building a Workforce

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

You’ve done all the grunt work and you’re finally ready to hire people and get your business up and running. But how are you going to distribute your workforce appropriately without any prior experience to determine where employees are needed most? Here are a few tips to help you efficiently staff your business and get started on the right foot:

  • Identify your business’s needs.

Before you can decide how many people to hire, you need to figure out exactly what your business needs. This may involve some trial and error, but try starting off with the skills you know you’ll need. In a wholesale business, your needs will depend on how much of the process you handle personally. If your goods are manufactured on site, you’ll obviously need to hire people to fabricate your goods and assure that they are up to your quality standards. If you plan to outsource your manufacturing, you can focus instead on hiring competent back office support.

  • Do some research.

If you have no idea where to begin, research similar businesses and find out how they started. Better yet, seek out entrepreneurs in a similar field and ask them who they hired first and how they managed their staff back when they were starting out. It can be difficult to prioritize positions without context, so don’t be afraid to inquire about someone else’s experience and use that information to your advantage.

  • Act as quickly as possible.

Hiring new people at a budding business is daunting, but just one or two more people on your team can have a remarkable effect on your productivity. Obviously, your hiring capacity will be limited for financial reasons, but usually the profit-boost that comes with bringing in new people will more than offset the cost of their salaries.

  • When in doubt, go lean.

If you’re still not sure how to arrange your employees, boil your needs down to the basics and go from there. If you can hire a small number of competent people, you’ll have a great foundation on which to build your company as it grows. It’s always better to have a small group of capable professionals and supplement as needed than to hire a large group of new employees who need more guidance than you have the time or resources to provide.

  • Consider Potential.

Regardless of the initial size of your team, it is wise to consider a prospective employee’s potential as well as their previous experience. Most employees respond well to challenges, so while you should manage your expectations, you’d be surprised how much the average employee can accomplish with a bit of a challenge and the right support.

  • Create a team-driven culture.

In any employment situation, it is crucial to establish a workplace culture that rewards teamwork and collaboration. Since an employee’s potential is generally well beyond the responsibilities required of them at the onset, invite them to get as involved as they are willing and able to be. In any workplace, but particularly a new one, it is important to encourage and allow employees to take ownership of their work and the business as a whole. This dynamic will not only get employees more invested in their work, it will build a stronger foundation for your business as a whole.

At the end of the day, there will be a learning curve involved in the process, but if you hire carefully and conservatively at the beginning, chances are you’ll learn a lot about how to manage your hiring process as your business grows.

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