Hiring employees at a start-up is probably the most important step of any business’s growth. The people you hire are the eyes, ears, hands, and mouth of the company. They will create the products and perform the services, listen for feedback and customer complaints, respond to problems and more. They’re the people who sell, and everyone from the receptionist to the stock clerk has the potential to connect with your customers in a positive or negative way.
In addition to thinking about employees as the key parts of a company, it is important to think about team dynamics. Make sure that you hire people you want to work with, and who believe in the vision of your company. There’s an old saying that “A people hire A people, and B people hire C people.” If you hire the best people, when it’s their job to hire, they’ll also hire great people. Dennis Crowley of Foursquare recently spoke on the challenges of being a CEO. He spoke about hiring a programmer, and eventually promoting him. The programmer then had to realize that he could spend a week fixing a problem, or spend a few days and hire people who were better at the problem to code for him. If you teach employees to hire for great skills and not to be afraid to hire people better than them, you’ll constantly improve your company with each hire.
The legal aspects of hiring are many and varied. It’s important to know the restricted information you can’t ask in a job interview (things like race, height, weight, and more.) This piece called “Don’t ask an applicant these questions” does a good job of summarizing, but a chat with your attorney is a good idea. These issues should be discussed with other employees, board members, or advisors if they’re helping you vet candidates since anyone acting on your behalf could open you to a legal issue.
That brings up another point – don’t “improv” in a job interview. You should know the questions you want to ask, and how you want to ask them, before a candidate arrives. If you’re being deliberate and have a list of qualifications, qualities, and skills you want in an employee, writing them down first is critical. Have a mentor, advisor, lawyer or other trusted person look over your list.
Do you feel overwhelmed by technology? You’re not alone. A new study from SiteApps, conducted by the Incyte Group, found more than half (54 percent) of small and midsized businesses are concerned with technology outpacing their abilities to compete and worry that they’re falling behind the curve.
While small business owners in the study understand the importance of their websites, the study also found many of them have a long way to go in bringing their sites up to par. Small business owners say improving and overhauling their sites is a major priority for 2013. If they were given a blank check, 34 percent would choose a new website over all other marketing investments—more than double the response to the second-ranking (at 15 percent) paid search campaigns.
This year, two-thirds of small business owners plan to improve their websites. Specifically:
However, SiteApps reports many small business owners aren’t setting their websites up for success:
I’m glad small business owners are recognizing the importance of business websites, but I’m concerned that so many of them feel stymied in making the most of their website. Fortunately, there’s a place you can turn for help: SCORE. If you don’t already have a SCORE mentor who can help you make sense of the Web, visit www.score.org to get matched with one—and get started making your business website the best it can be.