Question: What's your single best tip for transitioning from solo entrepreneur to managing employees?
Partner with Outsourcing Firms
"If you prefer a more streamlined and hands-off approach, hire industry specific outsourcing firms to tackle various job functions. Leave employee management to each respective firm and let them deliver what is most important -- the final deliverable. "
"If you want to transition from a solo entrepreneur to managing employees, you need to figure out all the tasks that you don't have time to do and then divide them among the amount of employees you're hiring. Make sure that each task plays to each employee's strength."
Identify Your Management Style
"Knowing what kind of manager you are will help in your quest for the right kind of employees. You may be a hands-on kind of manager, preferring regular updates and status reports from employees, or maybe you're happy to let them take the lead. Understanding your management style and how much control you're able to let go of will help you identify the right kind of people to hire."
Get Your Employees as Involved as Possible
"The more ownership your employees can take of the business, the harder they are going to work. Tell them when big sales happen. Let them know about major changes in the company, and solicit their feedback on a regular basis. The more they feel like they matter, the better job they will do."
Set Expectations and Document Critical Tasks
"Build an operations manual that documents best business practices and crucial steps that employees need to follow in order to maintain consistency and quality control. Based on this manual, determine what type of characteristics are needed in an employee in order to fulfill those tasks. Now you just have to find the employee."
Be Willing to Pass on Responsibility
"Solo entrepreneurs are tasked with handling all facets of their business. Because of this, many entrepreneurs have a hard time letting go and delegating tasks once they start hiring. It's important to get past this immediately, to trust in your hires and let them shine."
Find People Better Than You
"There is an old adage that you should hire people more talented than you. That's exactly what I tried to look for when I was hiring. I knew what my skills and strengths were and I wanted to find people who were better than me. Be transparent and honest with them, it goes a long way."
Passion Over Skills
"It is wise to hire smart people with super skills and big brains, but the important question is do they have the passion? Passion always wins over skill. You can teach them how to do their job, but you can't teach them to want to do the job. Do they have the passion to be the best employee in your company?"
"Solo entrepreneurs are used to doing everything by themselves so they must avoid micromanaging when they hire employees. List the employee’s daily and weekly responsibilities, as well as incentive based goals. Now, instead of checking up on the employee every day, you can meet once a week to recap. Extreme micromanaging will only stifle your work and growth."
Test Before You Hire
"Run through a test project (paid!) with every potential new hire before you actually sign any paperwork. You can't really tell what someone is going to be like before you actually see them work and there's no point signing a contract without know whether they can do the work."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth.