Are you on the fence about whether it’s time to hire more employees for your business?
Maybe you’re starting to get more projects on your plate. Or perhaps you’re starting to turn down work or orders because you don’t have enough people to handle all the work.
Whatever the case may be, there are specific signs that it’s time to hire more employees — and they aren’t always as obvious as you think. That’s why I did a little digging to discover the 10 signs you need to start hiring again, straight from other entrepreneurs who’ve been there before (myself included).
Keep in mind that whether this article convinces you to hire more employees or not, make sure your business insurance is keeping up with your changing team. If you’re hiring more team members, cutting your staff, or planning on using more subcontractors, update your workers compensation insurance to cover your business.
Federal law mandates that every business with employees carry this policy, so it’s a good idea to check in to see how your existing policy might be affected by additional employees.
Ready? Let’s get to the good stuff!
You are in a constant state of stress.
There’s no denying that running a business is stressful. So if you feel your adrenaline constantly surging, and you can never seem to escape that sinking feeling of being stressed out, it’s probably time to hire more help.
This might seem like an obvious piece of advice, but you’d be surprised how many business owners just assume that significant stress is a normal part of the entrepreneurial experience. I’ve been there, and I can definitely say that some stress should be expected. But if you’re constantly losing sleep, getting sick, or feeling sick to your stomach when you think about your business, it’s probably a sign that you’re taking on too much by yourself.
Your employees’ morale is at an all-time low.
Even your most productive employees are going to keel over in exhaustion if you’re not providing them with enough support. That’s why, if you’re sensing your employees are at the end of their rope, it might be time to hire more help.
Before you do this, make sure you have an honest conversation with your team about their morale and why they’ve been feeling so burned out. Throwing more people at the problem won’t help if there’s something critically wrong with your business. Ask powerful and nonconfrontational questions to get to the root of the problem, like:
What motivates you to work here? If you ran the business, what would you do? Where do you feel most supported by the business? Where do you feel least supported? What can I do to help you feel better about working here?
The goal with the above questions is to identify the source of the morale problem. If your employees tell you that they don’t have enough resources or support to do their job, that’s a huge red flag that you need to hire more people ASAP.
You have to turn down really good jobs.
Are really good projects landing on your lap, but you keep having to turn them down because you’re already struggling with a full workload? If that’s the case, it’s worth examining if adding another person can open up your business to those projects.
Use a little math to figure out if hiring another full-time or part-time employee can help. Take the hours that you’d estimate it would take to complete a project, then look at if those hours add up to a new-hire. For example, if a project would take about 12 hours to complete — and it’s the only project you can’t take on — it probably doesn’t make sense to hire someone else.
If, however, you’re regularly turning down 12-hour projects, that’s a better case for hiring a full-time person who can help with the workload.
You’re not working realistic hours.
Running your own business means long hours. But if you’re working to the point where you barely see your family or you don’t have a social life, you probably need help.
It’s OK to hire more employees in order to enjoy a healthier work-life balance. After all, you probably started your business to give your family a better life or to be in control of your own schedule. But if you’re letting the business take over every aspect of your life, you’re defeating the very purpose of why you took this leap in the first place.
Your current employees are begging for help.
Is your team constantly reminding you that they need help? Is the lack of support causing them to miss deadlines or deliver less-than-perfect customer service?
Listen to your employees. If they’re burning out and need help, take them at their word that they’re being honest with you. Burned-out employees can pose a flight risk, so if you put off the problem for too long, you could end up with a crisis on your hands.
You want to make more money.
Hiring more employees is expensive. But if you hire the right employees, they have the potential to unlock more revenue streams from tackling more work. The key is to hire the right number of employees; if you hire too many, you could end up losing revenue.
Employees are working a lot of overtime.
If you offer overtime, pay attention to how much of it you’re paying out on a monthly basis. Your employees may be working a lot of overtime just to get their usual workload done, and if you’re finding that’s the case, you may save more money in the long run by hiring another employee.
You have plans for a new product or service.
Ready to launch something new? Make sure your current team is capable of handling the extra work that may inundate your business. If they’re already at capacity, prioritize hiring more employees before your new product or service launch. That way, your business won’t be caught behind the 8-ball should you get more work than initially anticipated.
You want to expand to a new location.
This one seems like basic common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many business owners think they can get away with having their existing workforce accommodate a new location. While that may be a great short-term plan, the truth is that a new location usually requires new employees to manage it. Check to see if that’s the case for you before asking your current employees to figure out how to cover your latest expansion.
You want to play a more strategic role in your business.
You already know that being a small business owner means working on your projects, taking care of admin work, managing your employees, and tackling marketing. It’s definitely a lot, and it’s not sustainable, so if you want to free up more time to focus on one or two aspects of your business, you may need to hire more employees.
Some business owners feel a little odd about moving to a purely strategic role, and that’s OK! But you can’t do everything forever, especially if you want to keep your sanity intact.
Hiring more people gives you the chance to focus on continuing to grow your business’s longevity, while still ensuring that you get the work-life balance that’s critical for your longevity.
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
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