Grow Your Business In A Bad Economy

Grow Your Business In A Bad Economy

According to a recent survey, small business earnings are at their lowest level since 1992. Nine out of 10 owners surveyed expect the economy to continue its decline for at least the next six months. But Laura Harris, author of Surrender to Win, says that during hard economic times, success and growth can only come when you hire and retain the right staff. She offers these five hiring tips:

  • Take enough time to get to know your prospective team member rather than hiring on a gut reaction. Part of the interview process should include introducing the potential employee to key staff members so you'll know how the team members will interact.

  • Don't hire a prospective employee with an unprofessional voice or sloppy appearance. The first impression you have of a potential employee is the same first impression a customer will have.

  • Hire an inexperienced person you can train to mesh with your style of leadership. Personnel with experience often come with old habits and preconceived notions. Training someone from scratch means you can mold them to perform the way you prefer.

  • Steal good employees from other industries. Someone who goes above and beyond for their current company has a good enough work ethic to work hard for yours.

  • Hire someone with different strengths and weaknesses than your exiting team rather than hiring someone just based on how much you like them. Adding staff should expand what your business has to offer.

Harris also has five tips to retain and develop employees who think like you:

  • Every company needs a foundation of uniformly enforced rules and guidelines on which to agree. Create a detailed employee handbook and stick to the guidelines so everyone (including you) knows the company policy. Having rules in writing helps employees understand what is expected of them so they can succeed as a group member.

  • Invest in your employees' education by paying for courses and offering time off to take classes. Rather than worry that your team members will get so smart that they'll leave or want a raise, worry that your business will remain stagnant if you don't invest in employee education and they don't grow their current level of expertise.

  • Help your employees put their families first. Allow time off for children and parents when it's needed. Putting families first doesn't detract from the job — it creates a well-balanced work environment for you and your employees.

  • Hire responsible people, take the time to train them well and give them room to work. Micromanaging stifles creativity, creates second-guessing and leads to stress for both the owner and the employee.

  • Be loyal to your staff and they will be loyal to you. Spend time investing in the right person so they stay with you. A resignation or firing is disruptive to the flow of business and bad for the morale of everyone remaining on the team.

In good times or bad, these tips will make you and your business stronger and better.