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 reasons 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 challenging 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 extension of ourselves 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 an excellent job. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in a position of searching for staff. If you are good at something, what point is there to get someone else who is not as good as you to take over your job, doing what you’re doing now?
Besides 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 altogether canceling the advantage of getting other people involved. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it is!
Let’s roll back and chuck it up to the point where we identify why we want someone else involved in the first place. I believe the most crucial 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 help to grow the business?
The reason why many start-ups don’t like that is that 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 sure what they need
Let me explain.
The best working environments are where everyone can be free to create, grow and develop. For that to work, everybody must have a keen interest to bring the business forward, and it requires excellent leadership. Good leaders provide direction, support and create precisely 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 transition means that you step back to make space for someone else to grow and develop as you did.
You stop doing the job. I know you’re good at it. You wouldn’t be where 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 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 an impact and consequences. It provides some purpose.
For you, as the owner of the business, this is clear. It’s 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’re not born 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 made 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. Your 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?