July 29, 2014
Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees account for 89.8 percent of employers in the U.S. or roughly 5.1 million employers in all. According to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, “Small firms accounted for 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 (or 14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs).”
Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013) small firms accounted for 60 percent of the net new jobs. Small firms in the 20-499 employee category led job creation.
Small businesses with less than 500 employees employ around 52.6 million people nationwide. Although small businesses provide a significant boost in total employment, the nature of a small business is that every resource is precious and there is little room for error or waste. The recruiting function of a small business is especially important since the wrong hiring decisions can cost a company more than money, but also time, morale and even sales.
Consider the following four stages of hiring at a small company to help your new business thrive and grow.
1. Create the Core Team
Start your talent acquisition effort by identifying the types of people who can quickly take a product or service to market. Your core team should be big-picture, process-oriented thinkers who can prioritize multiple needs. Look for leaders who can answer the following key questions.
- What is our product or service?
- Who wants our product or service?
- How can we monetize our product or service?
Possible key roles could be product managers, finance and product marketing. Remember that production workers (engineers, technical staff and account managers) can be outsourced in the early days while you identify exactly what and how many people are needed in these roles.
2. Produce and Sell
Once you have identified the big questions—what your product does and who it is for—you can begin to operationalize and promote your business. This is the time to hire skilled production workers such as engineers or artists as well as sales and marketing staff.
3. Scale and Grow
As your business gains traction, you may need supporting roles to help you scale and grow. Not only will you need people to manage existing customer relationships and drive production efficiencies, but you may need specialists to expand the business in niche areas such as specific industries or mobile enablement.
4. Look to the Future
Once your company has grown—both in revenue and headcount—an experienced executive team can bring high-level strategic planning and solid people management skills to the organization. Look for executives with good reputations in similar industries and don’t forget to solicit feedback from teams your candidates have managed, as well as from their peers. Strong management skills from the executive team are critical to drive morale through the ups and downs of small company life.
Read Related Articles: