Many small business owners in Ventura County start off on a very small scale. As the owner, maybe you are also your only employee as well. Other times, you may have a small staff of one or two family members. Some small business owners may not want to grow any bigger than where they started, and that is perfectly okay. Other business owners start small with the dream of becoming larger and eventually growing. If that is the case, you will probably reach the point where you will need to hire outside employees. A family owned and operated business may work just fine, but even that may not be able to sustain itself for the long haul. If you are thinking about hiring team members to help grow your business, either soon or in the not-so-distant future, below are some tips that you may find useful.
Hire great employees
If you want to become the best business that you can become, you are going to want to hire great employees. Notice that we didn’t say “good” employees, we said “great” employees. One of author Jim Collins’ famous quotes is “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.” Good employees may be able to help you sustain your business at its current level, but great employees can help you become more efficient and help grow your business. Of course, finding great employees does not come easy and may take some trial and error. One of the first steps for finding great employees is to make sure that the person wants to be in the industry that you are in and fully understands and wants to be in the position that you are hiring for. You may think that you are doing the right thing by hiring a relative or the kid of one of your best friends, but if they have no motivation to be there other than to collect a paycheck, their heart will not be into doing the best job they possibly can.
Be Willing and Prepared to Fire Bad Employees
Hopefully your search for great employees will be successful and you will be fortunate enough to only hire the best. The realty of things is that sooner or later you are likely to come across a bad employee or two. Even if you hire the “right” employee at the time, situations change in people’s lives and a great employee can become a poor performer over the course of time. Once you hire your first employee, you must have it in the back of your mind that there may come a time where you have to fire this person. Unless you are Donald Trump or Vince McMahon, firing someone is probably not something you look forward to. Just know that a bad employee will only end up hurting your business in the long run. Furthermore, if you have other employees that are performing well, the bad employee can bring down morale and even cause the other employees’ work to suffer. This is not an article about leadership and I am not suggesting that you fire someone the first time they do something wrong. In fact, I’m a big advocate of communicating with employees to discover what their motivations are and helping them reach their goals. What I am saying is that even if it is a last resort, firing someone may be an inevitable part of growing your business (especially if you are working with General Contractors).
Ask For Referrals
One of the best ways to find great employees is asking for referrals. This is especially true in the real estate business where everyone we have worked with (although not our direct employees) has been a referral. If you know that you will be hiring an office assistant or any other position in the near future, it may be best to start asking for referrals before the position is available. That way, you have a chance for the word to spread that you are looking for someone to fill a position you have coming available. You must be aware that you will inevitably get referrals for people’s family members and friends. Again, you want to avoid hiring someone out of the goodness of your heart. Ideally, the person referring the applicant to you should have worked with them in the past and be able to tell you what makes them a great candidate.
Hiring General Contractors
In an earlier blog post, we wrote about 7 tips for hiring a contractor in Ventura County. This post was mainly for homeowners who are looking for a contractor to do a one-time job. For any real estate investors who are looking to find a General Contractor (GC) to work with on multiple future projects, we have a couple of other tips to add to that. First and most important, you want to make sure that the GC responds to you in a timely fashion and gets you the information you are looking for when he promises. On a project we completed, we asked several GCs to give us updated bids by a certain deadline. All of them acknowledged this deadline but only one of them returned us their bid on time. One of them even asked us nine days after the deadline if they could still give us their updated bid. At that point in time, we had already chosen a GC and finished demo. I understand that we are all busy and have other things to do, but if a GC is too busy to give us a bid, what would make us think that they will not be too busy to finish our job in time. In addition to asking the GC for referrals from previous jobs, you can also ask to visit any job sites that they are currently working on. We were able to view a complete remodel that our GC had recently finished work on. This gave us confidence that he would be able to do our project up to our standards. While every GC may not have a completed project that you are able to view, even a current work site may give you some insight into the quality in which they do their work.