If you own or manage a growing small business one of the dilemmas for many small business professionals is who should you hire next? And not only who should you hire next but when should they be hired. Should your next hire be a sales manager, CFO, or Marketing Director, and should you bring them aboard when the business has risen to a new level or add them to the roster before you get to that point? Good questions and ones that I can’t entirely answer because it depends on your business, the position to be filled, and the circumstances. What I can do is share a piece of sage advice a past head of Kelley Business School shared with me at a seminar many years ago
The presentation was at IUPUI in Indianapolis. The venue was standing room only and filled with local business leaders – owners, managers, and leaders. The presenter was an academician and a businessperson. He not only taught business he owned businesses. He shared more than one example of his business successes and failures that could be lessons for everyone in the room, but one stood out for me.
Should You Replace Yourself?
Near the end of his talk, he asked the group this question, “If your business is growing and it’s time to hire a new position do you hire someone that has expertise outside of your knowledge or someone who does what you’re doing now?” The majority of the room said to hire an expert outside of your knowledge. The Presenter answered that sometimes you have to hire someone outside of your skill set such as an attorney, engineer, or accountant. However, he went on to say that whenever possible hire someone who does what you do. His reasoning was as follows:
- It will force you to manage your business rather than do it yourself. Learning to work on the business promotes growth. Working in the business stunts growth.
- When you know what to do, how to do it, and why, then you can competently manage, train, and mentor. You can make an impact.
- It allows you to learn other aspects of your business and continue your growth as a leader.
So, Who Should You Hire Next?
As the speaker said you can’t always hire your replacement, but when you do, it can make a positive impact. It forces you to lead rather than do the work, it opens up growth opportunities for you and your new hire, and it puts you in a position to train someone your way. So, who are you hiring next?
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