Whether you’re starting a small business or taking your talents to one, you know this is the place where your dream to create change and more directly impact your customer can really take off.
Of course, a small business means lots of hard work — don’t be surprised if you have to take on several roles at once. In the end, you want to work with people who are invigorated by the challenge and share your vision. Where do you start, and is there an elevator pitch — a short list of, say, nine things to keep in mind?
Yes, there is!
The 9 Essentials of Small Business
1. Strengthen your talent pipeline
Unemployment is at its lowest point in years. This means job seekers have the upper hand — and can choose a new job or even switch careers without risking joblessness for too long. For you, this makes finding a steady stream of highly-qualified workers Priority Number One. Network, join LinkedIn, invest in other social media and talk to your top employees. Talent usually surrounds other talent.
2. Streamline your hiring process
Selecting your next employee/co-worker can take up a lot of time and resources — things you don’t always have in abundance in a small business setting. Work on a selection process to engage applicants and help you learn more about them quickly. Keep top candidates at the top of the list and create a positive experience for your candidates with clear, timely communication and information. Leverage technology to your advantage.
3. Select the best
Companies are known for the people they keep. In the end, the best billboard for your business is, well, your business. Top talent needs to know their strengths will be put to use in an environment that values hard work, innovation and puts your clients first. Throughout your selection process, the experience you give a top candidate can make the difference in their decision to accept your job offer — or someone else’s.
4. Who does the best look like?
You need like-minded employees who see your vision to join you. Think of the best people you’ve ever worked with — what qualities did they have that separated them from the rest? Hard work, resourcefulness, customer-oriented and multi-taskers — these are all natural talents that aren’t gained through skills. Look for these in your prospects; after all, you can teach anyone how to use a cash register, but you can’t teach everyone how to be nice when they do.
5. Retain the best
You hired the best worker you’ve ever had. How do you keep them from leaving you for a pay raise somewhere else? Build loyalty in your employees and co-workers by giving them a sense of ownership and purpose in the organization. Allow your people to innovate and have a say in decisions. Place them in situations where they will flourish, doing things they do well and love to do. Most importantly, invest in them through time and mentorship, providing them with the resources they need to do their job well and grow.
6. Technology is your best friend
In a small business, people very often perform several roles. Delegate some of these roles to technology. Recruiting, assessing, interviewing, hiring, payroll — there are powerful tools accessible to businesses of any size that improve all of these processes. In addition, you will free up time to focus on growing your business when you let technology do the heavy lifting.
7. Focus coaching on areas of strength
Everyone has talent. Because of the way humans are wired, no two people have exactly the same strengths, and that is a good thing. Investing in your people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses will guarantee you will get the very best of their work every time. In addition, you will see your employees feel recognized and invested in. Their work is something they can be proud of, and your attention is on improving on positive performance, not failure.
8. Start planning for the long-term future now
Think about what your business will look like in a few years. How do you move to your future state quickly, with your mission, vision and values intact? Your people will make all the difference. Even if you don’t have plans to retire until you reach the ripe old age of 108, stacking your talent bench with people who can carry your business into the future now will only pay dividends. Use potential, not performance, as the key indicator of who fills the bench. A great worker does not always have what it takes to be a manager, but all managers are great workers.
9. Go beyond what you see as possible
The White Queen in Through the Looking Glass makes it a point to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. While we’re not advocating looking into opening a branch on the Moon, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish when you select for talent, develop talents in your people, project goals based on that talent and plan your future state based on talent.
Talent Always Makes the Difference
In 30 years of experience, Talent Plus ® has been in the business of helping people unleash the talent in their organization to transform your culture. Powered by science, you are in the driver’s seat with intuitive, accessible technology to manage and grow talent.
Want to learn more about how selecting for talent can transform your organization? Send us a line! We like to chat about the Talent Plus difference. Contact us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.talentplus.com/small-business.
—Jason Chambers and Zach Mutchie are senior business consultants at Talent Plus.