In this video from Entrepreneur, Jason Balin and Chris Haddon of Hard Money Bankers talk about how good it feels to hand off responsibilities and replace your name with others on your startup’s organizational chart. But how do you know when it’s time to do start doing that? At what point do things stop becoming a one-person show and start becoming a team operation? Obviously, funding is a crucial factor that ultimately allows you to hire more people. But beyond that critical piece, watch out for these 5 signs that indicate it’s time to hire more people:
1. Your Product/Service Quality Is Slacking
A clear sign of resources being spread too thin is when quality starts going down. If you’re a tech startup, this could mean that features are breaking or improvements aren’t happening. In a non-tech startup, quality can decrease anywhere along the production line or service cycle – maybe you see a spike in warranty claims or refunds. Even if you already have another person dedicated to managing your product, they may be swamped as well. And without a quality product, you’ll have a hard time attracting and maintaining customers. At first sight of deterioration, start looking for a new product-focused team member.
2. You're Selling All Day & All Night (and not doing anything else)
When you’re the entire company, you spend a great deal of time working to close deals. But if you’re spending all your time generating sales, other crucial areas of the business are going to crumble. Hey – maybe your strengths really lie in making sales, and that’s good. You should do more of that. But if that’s really the case, you should look at filling gaps elsewhere. For example, what happens to those customers after the sale is made? How can you support them when you have to work on closing the next deal? And if selling isn't really what you want to be doing all day, every day, then maybe it's time to hire a full-time salesperson.
3. Your Customer Support Requests Are Piling Up
Which brings me to my next point. If your customer requests or complaints are backing up, it’s a good indication that you need some help. Recurring revenue is the blood of your business and open support tickets create major blockages in your arteries. Your business won’t survive a severe heart attack in the startup phase so you need to put a stent in before it’s too late.
4. Your Marketing Content Is Going Stale
Your website looks great, you’ve got some good eBooks and videos, but maybe you haven’t published a new blog post in a month. What about your social channels? Are your followers seeing updates from you each day? There’s a reason why companies have dedicated people to developing and distributing content: it takes time. Time that you’re currently spending on things like managing product development, selling, or answering support requests! Without fresh content, you probably won’t be seeing too many fresh leads.
5. People Processes Need To Be Developed Last Month
Okay, so you recognize you need to hire some people. How do you go about doing that? And once you’ve hired them, how do you get them up to speed when you’re being pulled in all directions with other priority tasks? Surprise, surprise – it’s time to hire someone to help you hire other people. It’s this little department called HR (maybe you’ve heard of it) and it’s important to get right. You want your company to be known for being awesome, and poor hiring practices are not awesome. They can affect everything from product quality to customer service to lead generation – so it’s critical to have someone in an HR role who can improve your hiring processes and maintain a high level of quality on all people-related fronts.
So – see anything in here that rings a bell? If you do, stop ignoring the signs! You don’t have to hire each of these startup roles right away, but you should be keeping an eye out for what’s most pressing at your company. Bringing people on board to fill each of these key startup positions can take loads of work off your plate and position the business for future growth. Figure out which areas are in the red at your company and start from there – over time, you’ll have created a diverse team of people who are all dedicated to seeing the organization grow. Now that’s what I call a scalable startup structure.