If you’re serious about growing your business, it’s highly likely, at some point, you’ll need to hire or contract with others. It might be when you land a large contract or expand from a home office to a storefront or warehouse. Maybe you just want to be free to do the aspects of your business you enjoy and leave routine chores to others. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for help to run your business:
- Know the difference between a contractor and an employee. Sometimes it makes sense to contract with a bookkeeper or a payroll company to relieve the business owner of these chores. It is tempting to avoid paying payroll taxes, workman’s compensation insurance, and other employee costs, by designating an employee a “contractor.” The IRS has strict rules about this issue so research is in order.
- Create a job description. By now, you’ve identified what you would like your employee to do for you. Find good models for job descriptions by going to the employer section of job search sites. Your trade association may have good resources for hiring or they could connect you with other businesses like yours who are willing to share their job descriptions and salary range information.
- Invest in a payroll service. Payroll services do the complicated and time-consuming work of paying your employees, collecting payroll taxes and other deductions, and filing reports. They can also point you to good human resources sites that will help you make sure you’re marketing the position and conducting interviews according to the law. They will also make sure you have the required legal postings for your site. They’re a good investment.
- Use common sense when conducting interviews and checking references. Ask open-ended questions that will get a job candidate to give examples of how they work with others and operate on the job. If you’ve identified your candidate, be forewarned that some former employers will only confirm that the prospective employee worked there in the past. Regulations about what is permissible to ask a former employer change frequently. Ideally, a former employer will confirm that the prospect left on good terms and is eligible for re-hire if he or she wanted to come back.
- Improve your management skills. One of the toughest things business owners must learn to do is delegate. You can’t get to the critical aspects of managing your business if you’re unable to let people learn their job and make the occasional mistake. Be sure to give your new employee written instructions for their routine work and are clear with your expectations. This means writing down the procedures that you have in your head. Once you take the time to write down your procedures and train someone, it will be easier to train others in the future. Check your own management style and consider investing in a management course that helps you communicate more effectively and motivate others to do their best.