Flying Solo: 5 Simple Steps to Grow Your Team

If you’re ready to hire employees and are unsure where to start, here are five simple steps to help you get started.

Have you been running your business single-handedly? The full responsibility for running a thriving business can become overwhelming. If it gradually turns into too much for you to handle on your own, congratulations — it’s a great challenge to have.

It’s time for team expansion. If you’re ready to hire employees and are unsure where to start, here are five simple steps to help you get started.


1. Real Needs

It’s easy to become overwhelmed as you maintain daily operations. Nonetheless, it’s important to set aside time to truly understand your needs.  Before you move forward with team expansion, you’ve got to get real about what your business needs truly are.

Break out your notepad each week and jot down every single thing you do during your day and approximately how much time it takes – keep it quick and simple, you’re busy enough.

After one week, take a look at your notes and it will become very clear how your time is actually spent. For many of us, this is an opportunity to increase efficiency and decipher what tasks should be delegated.  Also, get clarity about the type of support you need. Do you need a personal assistant, a marketing coordinator, administrative support, etc.?


2. Show Me the Money

Now that you have a handle on your needs, it’s time to crunch the numbers. Develop a budget and determine how to meet them, such as: should you start with an intern, hire an employee on a project basis; do you need a part-time or full-time employee, an experienced contracted professional or entry level staff? Can you offer benefits or bump up the base salary? Take these things into account.

Great tools are available with the click of a button to get an idea of competitive salaries in your city by job function, including salary.com and careerbliss.com. If you find yourself in a budget crunch, don’t fail to consider utilizing interns for college credit, and keep yourself above water until budgets allows greater expansion.

Now that you know what you need and can afford – let’s move on!


3. Describe and Post

Revisit the task list you created in Step 1.  From that list compile a job description, that will later be posted in the appropriate online job boards. Compare your list to job descriptions available online at simplyhired.com, indeed.com, snagajob.com or careerbuilder.com.

As you select a template or similar posting for reference, keep in mind different formats are better for different target audiences.  For example, if you are targeting an entry level employee, someone with 0-3 years of experience, keep your description short, sweet and sexy.  You are competing for the attention of a generation of new employees that grew up communicating via text and 140 characters; you need to catch their attention, and hold it.  On the other hand, if you are searching for a more seasoned employee, 7+ years of experience, dive into greater depth in the description and description of required experience.

Note: Set a ‘last day to apply’ date on the job description and stick to it.  This creates structure and expectations for candidates.

Next, post your polished job description on “niche job boards.” Meaning, find popular job boards (websites) for the industry with which you would like to hire from.  A few personal favorites are marketingjobs.com, salesgravy.com and indeed.comt.

Luckily for you, the job market favors the employer right now.  Expect resumes to flow in. To reduce the chaos of being inundated with resumes, set up a separate email address specifically for applicants to email their cover letter & resume (plus any additional requirements you may request in the job description).  Set aside time every week to devote to resume review.  If you review resumes one at a time as they come in, it’s easy to become overloaded and overwhelmed.

Within 3-5 days following the ‘last day to apply’ deadline, make your selection and get ready to roll onto Step 4, the Interview.


4. The Interview

Choose no more than 5 top candidates to invite for interviews, more than that and you’ll encounter endless scheduling and interviewing.

Choose the interview location carefully.  Steer clear of overpopulated coffee shops.  You can’t guarantee seating, there is no confidentiality, it’s noisy and doesn’t work.  If you don’t have your own office space, check with your local library. Most have meeting and/or conference rooms that you can reserve at no cost which is a great option!

If you are flying solo in business, consider asking trusted advisors, peers and colleagues to join in the interview process.  Having a second or third opinion is often very helpful.

Recommended Questions

“What sparked your last professional high?”

Review the candidates motivation, culture fit, work style and team building skills.

“Tell me about two memorable projects, one success and one failure and what do you attribute to each?”

Learn values, confidence level , self-awareness, personal motivators and professional development expectations.

“Based on what we’ve discussed about this opportunity, tell me the first 5 things you’d do in the job.”

Assess strategic thinking, prioritization skills and execution style.


5. You’re Hired

Have you found the perfect candidate? If so, it’s time to seal the deal with the following steps:

Request and check 2-3 professional references; personal references aren’t worth your time.

Depending on your business, it may be appropriate to request a background check.  Many services exist online to support you in the process, including providing a candidate consent form.  You CANNOT run background or credit checks without consent! Once you’ve settled on the candidate and performed your due diligence, compile your final offer. Make a verbal offer and follow it up immediately with a written offer (a document outlining the details on company letterhead). Take a deep breath. It seems like a lot, but remember the first time may be daunting perhaps, but by the second and third time, you’ll be a pro!


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