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Management

When Should I Hire Staff?

Hiring staff is always going to be a risk for any business owner. You need to consider whether the potential hire is going to be worth it and if hiring a new staff member will help your company make larger earnings. You might be a solopreneur, in the midst of considering hiring your first employee. If you have reached this stage, you are probably starting to find that you can’t manage all the jobs in your business yourself anymore. If you want to expand your position on the market, you have to be willing to grow and move forward. That means hiring more staff so you can take on larger contracts and increase your market presence. But when is the right time to hire the first members of your team?

‘Sorry, I Can’t Take On Anymore Work’

If you are constantly saying this to potential new clients, you should definitely consider hiring your first staff member. The fact is that if you’re turning down the chance of more work you are losing revenue. You have more demand than you can meet. By turning down work, your business looks weak, and clients will think twice about using a company who can’t meet all their needs.

Of course, it is possible that you want to keep the business small for personal reasons. Perhaps you don’t have the time to run a larger company. If that’s the case, you may still want to think about hiring the right individuals who can help manage the workload. This could give you more free time outside of your company if you choose the right team of staff. However, your workload isn’t the only factor to take into consideration.

More Money, Less Problems

If you think about hiring staff, you need to take a long hard look at your accounts. You need to think about whether you can afford to take on new staff members. Perhaps you have enough revenue that you will easily be able to afford a new team member. Or, maybe, your business hasn’t grown because right now you can’t afford it. You should not take on new staff unless you have the demand to cover the cost.

To get around the heavy cost of a full team, you can consider hiring part-time staff. This will allow you to provide more services to clients and customers while still keeping costs low. Or you can hire workers on a freelance basis. One of the best advantages of this business model is that you won’t have as many responsibilities for your employees. For instance, the employee will be responsible for managing payment of their own taxes.

Potential For Profits

It’s possible that there’s the potential to increase profits in your business if you hire a new staff member. For instance, you might have assessed your marketing and found with an increased focus on content, you can gain new clients. If that’s the case, it would be beneficial for you to hire a content manager or a content writer. These individuals will grow your marketing campaign and provide you new ways of reaching customers that you could never attract without their help. There are lots of areas where businesses can expand, but usually, it requires specialist staff and knowledge that the business owner might not have themselves.

With the right employees on your team, it is possible to take your company to the next level. But you have to hire at the right time. You shouldn’t hire a staff member with the aim to identify further profit potential. Instead, you should identify the area and then use a new member of staff to make it happen.

The Customer Is Always Right

If customers and clients are complaining about your level of service, then something has to give. Complaints and queries from customers can be tools that you can use to make your business stronger and more competitive. But it might also be a sign that you should be thinking about increasing your staff numbers. It’s possible that clients are constantly complaining about missed deadlines and a low-quality output. If that’s the case, you might need more staff to manage the workload that you’re currently undertaking. Continuing on the same path could lead to the permanent damage of your company profile and reduce the chance of positive word of mouth.

You might find that you just need a staff member behind the scenes, dealing with customer queries. If you have the money to pay them, they could be a valuable asset. They will be able to ensure customer complaints are handled more efficiently and free up your time to focus on other areas of the business.

A Role To Fill

If you are considering hiring staff for your business, you need to make sure that there is a role that exists for them to fill. Some business owners make the mistake of hiring employees because they think it’s a required part of making a business successful. But if you hire staff without a role in mind, they’ll just end up sitting around doing nothing, and you’ll still need to pay them. The trick is finding the role and then filling it with the right team member and this brings us neatly to the next point.

Take The Time

A pitfall new business owners always fall into is filling the office with staff as quickly as possible. The desire to hit the ground running is understandable, but if you hire the wrong individual for a position, you’ll quickly trip over your own feet. Don’t forget, not all the candidates on the job market right now are going be a brilliant new addition to your business. Some will be inept, inferior or simply uneducated and untrained. Hiring people like this by mistake will cripple your business potential. Make sure you are taking your time with hires, searching far and wide. The right employee might not even be in the same country as your company.

Taking on your first hire is a big decision, and it’s one that all business owners must make. While there is a right time to hire, if you leave it too late you will just need to take the risk. No company can grow effectively without a strong team to help steer the ship.

Additional Resources

Are Your Business Operations Falling Apart? It May be Time to Hire Staff
10 Hiring Tips for Your Small Business
Hire Your First Employee

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Management

Is Work-Life Balance Making Us Less Productive and Lazy?

smartphone

Striking the right ‘work-life’ balance is still the talk of the town among workers of all ages and experience.

Job seekers, are no longer afraid to mention they have a home life, and that they won’t be married to the job.

Also there’s the realities of harmful stress on health and relationships, it has been a reality check for many of us over the years and now we value more freedom and flexibility often more than our pay packet.

Businesses have been slow on the uptake however that is changing albeit not through altruism  but from it’s huge cost savings in operations including less office space and technology required.

Startups can engage staff where they reside not necessarily where the business is located.   Still there remains  some doubt as to it’s real value to economy.

Are we losing overall productivity?   Is flexi-time, more holidays and remote working making us lazy?  If you don’t have to go into the office why would you and is this affecting team relationships and the sharing of information?

There are so many questions and no right or wrong answer.

Work-life Conflict

Why is it still a thing some 40 years on?  To find out we need to look at some of it’s drivers; namely technology and women.  The work-life conflict was first mentioned by workers in the UK in late 1970s and a few years later in the US and here we are today nearly 40 years later still flying it’s flag, women probably more so than men.

Women

Positive female role models and more women in the workforce, has kept the movement alive and well and some might argue it has been the driving influence of better employment terms, and pay. Only recently it was reported Canadian women are investing almost as much as men in the market now and that’s due to the shrinking wage gap, and lower unemployment, among other factors.

Technology

The use of systems that allow workers to be monitored while working remotely, has given the power back to the Business. Not only can they keep tabs on their workers and their productivity via software like online chat they can grab the huge savings less office space and services allows.

Hot desks are now the norm in corporate offices. Plus companies can also get away with providing less technology too. Hardware like desktops are less in demand now as workers can use their own computers.

BYODs

Workers in many industries are now encouraged to use their own hardware and software. This means some may use Apple while others use Microsoft and then there’s also the array of smart devices in use too.

BYODs (bring your own devices) can be secure in the workplace with firewalls and other security systems. They access company systems and software as well as their own personal assets. This technology leap is a big win-win for both the user and the business.

Final thoughts

The way we work is forever evolving and technology means we are more connected now than ever before.

Reading emails and texts in the evening or first thing in the morning and on weekends suggests we are probably working more, and we’re more productive with our time now than previously.

What we do know is nothing stands still. Change is inevitable, especially in business, and with technology. Soon everything will be using AI, so you can be sure there’s a lot more transformation in the way we work and where we do it just around the corner.

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Management

Work Times Are Changing For The Better

phone

Leaders in business have always had more leeway with their working hours.  They have never been restrained by the standard business hours most of us are contracted to do every week. You know what I’m referring to, most ‘wage-slaves’ i.e. employees, need to work Monday to Friday between 8am and 6 pm, for 40 hours a week.

Flexi time for workers has crept in, in many industries, over the years, particularly with startups and more forward-thinking organisations keen to get the work-life balance right. Remote working has been popular with these businesses, but any change to the norm has been slow progress particularly with the mainstream majority. Let’s take a quick look at the adoption curve which explains uptake trends.

Adoption Curve

The early and late majority is the big peak in the ‘rate of adoption’ curve aka diffusions of innovation.   This curve presents the way innovation (particularly in technology) is adopted by us – human kind and the curve is an illustration we can view and instantly comprehend.

Work times are changing but arguably it’s yet to become the norm with the ‘majority’, (the peak in the curve). There is some way to go before we see real change the times we work and for it to be part of our employment agreements.

Slow on the uptake

Business owners and their management have not been quick off the mark with remote working or flex time and there’s a perfectly valid reason for their reluctance.

Trust and accountability

A lack of trust and the ability to keep a watchful eye on staff, when they’re not in the office, is the main reason for the slow uptake of more flexible working hours and working away from the office.

Leaders are inherently naturally driven and motivated to put in the hours due to their status within the business, therefore working from their home or holiday is not a constant distraction. Their staff are likely to take more liberty with their new work environment and a lack of personal oversight has deterred many businesses to the leap of faith until now.

Technology

Technology is the game changer and it is empowering businesses, like never before. There are many tools like chat Apps, readily available to assist both staff and management’s trust issues.

Chat App

Staff can be hired in different locations and remote workers can be part of team meetings via conference calls.  Plus there’s the use chat bot software so the power and control is there for the business to watch over their staff.

More Flexibility

The natural progression of work is more flexible work times, as jobs also change.  The earlier risers can get their work done when they’re most productive, in much the same way as the night owls among us can log on and be equally as productive during the dark hours of the day. Rising early though has gotten a lot of attention lately.

Just look at the rising times of some well known Entrepreneurs.  BBC has recently done a story on the unorthodox waking hours of successful business owners, celebrities and famous people and questioned if rising early meant more success.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is up at 03.45am and Actor, Entrepreneur, Mark Wahlberg really uses the 24 hours in day to work for him.  Rising at 02.30am and going to bed at 7.30 pm.

No longer does it need to be daylight before we rise and get to work and it’s likely this way of living where we elect when we work during 24 hours of the day, will extend to the rest of us non super stars, as evidence suggests, when productivity goes up so to does the revenue and profit.

So as for the early bird does get the worm idiom, yes it’s real but for everyone and that’s why work times are changing as businesses need to be more competitive.  The desire to make more money will keep pushing the envelope in all areas of business and with the enabler of technology to track and measure us, it won’t be long before there’s no such thing as standard work times.

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Management

Giving Your Travel Business An Edge Through A Call Handling Service

people, calls

It is clear that the telephone plays a vital role in the day-to-day running of businesses, especially for a travel agency. With the development of digital technology, the telephone can now be carried by anyone in the form of a small hand-held device wherein you can call, chat or video chat with someone located on the other side of the world in real time, and seek and find information on just about anything through the internet, all at the touch of a button or a click of the mouse. This technological breakthrough has made being connected not only easy and convenient but also a must. But what happens when the calls continue to come even after work hours and even during holidays?

If you take a close look at a business such as a travel agency, this is exactly the type of organisation that can really benefit from a call handling service.

Taking Bookings

The primary role of a travel agency is to make airline ticket bookings, which is a role that a virtual receptionist can carry out from a remote location. Remote bookings are now made easier because of the Internet. The digital platform provided by the Internet makes it possible for a professional receptionist who is remotely located to book flights for clients. Because all travel businesses have to use a cloud-based online booking system, the call centre can easily access this, allowing the receptionist to have up-to-date information on bookings.

By having someone to answer phones for the travel business round-the-clock, none of its clients are left ignored. With just a call at any time of night or day, clients will be confident that a travel business personnel will always be around to book their flights once they decide on the schedule.

When you’re running your business remotely a virtual receptionist service can made a fundamental difference to your customer service.

Providing Information

A virtual receptionist would be able to answer queries about flight availability or enquiries on working out a connection to somewhere on the other side of the world, just as anyone would if they were actually in the travel agency office. This is a skilled job for anyone, yet it does not mean that the person must be located within the premises. In fact, many travel agents use call handling services as this is the most cost-effective way to offer a professional service to their clients.

Booking Holidays

While some travellers like to book their flight and accommodation separately, there are many who take advantage of the package tours on offer and by using a virtual receptionist who is fully-briefed on all available packages, they can make bookings on your behalf and the customer would assume the receptionist is located at the agency premises.

Busy Periods

Holiday season and other festivals are definitely busy periods for travel agencies and if your receptionist is stretched at this time, why not let a call handling provider deal with any extra calls? We all want to get away in the winter months and during the peak holiday season, you can use a call handling service and when things get quiet down again, you can put a hold on the service.

Holiday Cover

Even people who work in the holiday industry need a holiday sometimes and losing your receptionist for a couple of weeks could really put a spanner in the works. With an established call handling company at your beck and call, you are always assured that your customers will be greeted professionally and your business will not suffer.

Customer Satisfaction

If your main goal is to ensure that questions and requests by clients are paid enough attention, then hiring a virtual receptionist will be beneficial for you. A virtual receptionist is trained to handle calls courteously and professionally, so you are rest assured your clients are talking with well-trained people round-the-clock.

Profit Increases

With the top-notch quality of service virtual receptionists are giving your clients, you can increase your profit while saving on labour costs. Satisfied clients can bring in new clients through word of mouth. Plus, calls by those who are only available after work hours are also paid attention to.

Unlike in-house receptionists, virtual receptionists are paid only with the service they provide and once they provide it. They can answer large volumes of calls with unwavering amount of attention to every call.

If you run a travel agency, talk to an established call handling provider and they are sure to have a package that is ideal for your business, and if used as a back up to your directly employed staff, this service is an essential requirement for all businesses.

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