The Advisor

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MAKING THE LEAP! 4 things to consider when building the business beyond you

By Jess Chapman, ethree Consulting Inc.



Congratulations! You think you need to hire someone! Now what?


Whether it’s deliberate business strategy or happy circumstance, there comes a point for many business owners when the business needs to grow beyond the founder. At ethree we work with lots of growing organizations and have seen first-hand the successes and challenges our clients face at that stage (as well as having been there ourselves!). So here are four things to think about when you start to build your team.


  1. Count your money. It may sound evident, but make sure you can actually afford what you’re planning. The second reason that start-ups fail is they run out of cash and the third is that they have the wrong team. You need to hire the right people and be able to afford the talent you’re bringing in. It’s not just about salary: you need to consider benefits, pensions, vacation, equipment, training, and so on. Look at your numbers and determine what type of hire makes most sense for where you are, and make sure that you have a plan to ensure you can cover the bases.

  2. Know who you are bringing in and how. It’s one thing to know you need help, but often harder to figure out what you need. It can be easy to leap in and hire someone because a wave of work has hit, but taking the time to plan what you need can save you lots of heartache (and tough conversations) later. Map out the tasks that need to be done and look at grouping them into a sensible position. Determine the values your hire has to model in order to represent your brand. When you know all that, then go through a proper, robust recruitment process to find the right person. If you don’t have time to do that yourself, then outsource.

  3. You’re now leading, not just doing. It’s easy to think life will miraculously get easier once you hire someone. Eventually it will, but usually there are adjustments to make first. As a solopreneur, it’s all you, and while that is challenging at times, it’s also somewhat easier. Now you’re adding people, you’ll need to carve out time to be a leader alongside the “doing” work. Make sure you consider how and when you will communicate to the team, how you will allocate responsibility, how you will track and manage performance, and how you will structure work to give people the time they need with you. Make sure you create space in your day (as best you can) to put on the leadership hat.

  4. Consider “later” now. We sometimes find entrepreneurs hire people without thinking further ahead and then have to unpick decisions when they want to hire again. How do you determine what someone’s pay should be? How are you going to handle vacation requests and sick leave? Think now about what HR and people practices you will need when you have 5 or 10 people and plan accordingly. It will save you from setting precedents that you can’t sustain as your team grows.

With a bit of prior planning, you can prevent a whole lot of problems as you build your team, so take the time to think about it all now—before you hit the hire button—and save yourself the stress later.


For more help with the people side of growth planning, give us a call. We’d love to help you avoid the pitfalls.


Visit ethree.ca.


Jess Chapman, ethree Consulting Inc.

At ethree we believe that successful business is all about people and relationships, and so the better you and your people perform, the better your business performs. We help organizations build their people and handle the “tough people stuff” so that they can drive profitable growth and create amazing work environments where people are engaged, enabled, and empowered (hence our name!). We provide training, coaching, and advisory services to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from solopreneurs looking to grow their businesses to multinational corporations driving large-scale change. We pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our expertise and our collaborative approach. Our clients will tell you that we are their trusted go-to experts and we feel like part of their team. Get in touch to see how we can help you.