I know that most start-ups come to a point where they’re thinking about getting more people involved in the business. This could be as a partner or as an employee. There are many reason for this, but the ones I hear most are “Not enough time to get the job done” and “Too much work”. I also know that this is one of the most difficult tasks new entrepreneurs have to master.
If you’ve read my blog about the different roles a start-up requires, you will probably already see the problem most start-ups face. In most cases we’re thinking about finding someone to help us do the things we can’t get done. We are looking for some sort of an extension of ourself and for that to work they have to fit perfectly to the way we work and think. We’re pretty much looking for someone like us.
Let’s be real, what are the chances that you will find that person?
So far you’ve done most of the work yourself and I guess you’ve done a good job. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in a position of searching for staff. If you are really good at something, what point is there to get someone else who is not as good as you to take over your job, doing exactly what you’re doing now? Beside the fact that you will have to spend a lot of time to train that new person, you will also need to implement a structure that allows for some form of quality control. Adding more work to yourself and completely canceling the advantage of getting other people involved. Sounds crazy right? Well it is!
Lets role back and chunk it up to the point where we identify why we want someone else involved in the first place. I believe the most important reason would be to further the business. To be able to serve more customers, provide more and better service or improve production. Would it not make more sense to find someone who can add to the process in ways you can’t? To find someone who can open new avenues, bring in new skills and really help to grow the business?
The reason why many start-ups don’t like that is because they can’t control that. They are worried that this might go in the wrong direction.
And I will say, yes it can, but….
The real reasons why start-ups struggle to find the right staff or partners are:
- Can’t inspire people
- Can’t communicate the requirements
- Very high (too high) expectations
- Looking for a copy of themselves
- Looking for a gap filler
- Not actually sure what they really need
Let me explain.
The best working environments are where everyone can be free to create, grow and develop. For this to work everybody must have a strong interest to bring the business forward and it requires very good leadership. Good leaders provide direction, support and create exactly this environment.
That means to take on staff your role has to change and you need to become a good leader. This is the hardest part. This transitions means that you step back to make space for someone else to grow and develop like you did. You stop doing the job. I know you’re really good at it. You wouldn’t be were you are if you wouldn’t have mastered the process. But now it is time to help others to grow. That means to allow for the space for it to happen. It also means to be able to communicate the expectations of this role and what it does to the overall business. People need to feel that what they do is important and has impact and consequences. It provides purpose.
For you as the owner of the business this is clear. Its your business. You know why you started it. For another person this is not the same. This does not mean they don’t want to feel the same. If you allow for this space you will discover new opportunities because they are not bread to become you. But they develop on their own into something incredible that will add value in a way you could never do yourself. This is what leadership is about.
Your job must be to create an environment where people can grow towards the success of the company. Sometimes this means that people make mistakes. I am sure you did a lot of mistakes on the way. You hopefully learned from your own mistakes and kept developing yourself. Allow the same process for the people in your care.
Taking on staff requires you to become a leader. You job will change and this change is what will make your business successful.
If you want to find the right people, learn to be a leader. Understand that only together can you grow the business. Create an environment that allows that growth and provides purpose to everyone involved.
Learn to communicate this to others and they will come to you. That’s how you find the right people.
What is your working environment like?