Ashley Cox with SproutHR is back on the blog today talking about planning for a team for your business. A lot of us are solo-preneurs, but often hire other people to work alongside us — assistants, second photographers, editors, interns, etc. Ashley tells why planning is so important and great ways to implement new team members into your business model.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote by Benjamin Franklin a time or two. Maybe you’ve even used it yourself! But it’s one that doesn’t get a lot of merit… until something goes awry and, well, hindsight is 20/20 for a reason. So today I’d like to chat with you about planning!
It’s easy to dream big and get caught up in all the fun parts of running your own business. Like creating products or services, helping your clients, and getting to know other business owners. Even though planning ahead might not seem like a whole lot of fun right now, I promise you it’ll be fun later on when you’re not struggling to play catch up!
Planning for the future of your business is more than just having a social media plan, a goal to create a course or group program, or exciting financial goals. Although these are all important, it also includes planning for your future team!
Avoiding “pants on fire” syndrome
I’ve spoken to so many creatives and entrepreneurs who’ve never even considered planning ahead for their team. Usually, they find themselves chatting with me after trying to figure it all out on their own. They’re frustrated, overwhelmed and running around with their pants on fire from doing #allthethings! Which is obviously not an ideal situation.
Before you get to the point where you realize you actually needed to hire someone last month (eek!), let’s chat about how we can help you avoid overwhelm (and charred pants!) by planning for your team now.
3 Easy Steps to Start Planning for Your Team
#1 – Think about your big goals and what you’ll need in order to achieve them.
The first thing you should do is take some time to think about your big goals and what you’re going to need in order to achieve them. Ask yourself the following questions for each goal:
- Will I need certain tools or programs to reach this goal?
- Am I going to have to invest in a specific product or service?
- What kind of support am I going to need in order to reach this goal?
- Is there a specific skill set that I or someone on my future team will need to have?
This is where we start to build the basic foundation of your People Plan! A People Plan is simply a plan that outlines who you’re going to need for your team, when you’re going to need them and how you’re going to attract, hire and keep those team members. Easy peasy mac-n-cheesy, right?
You want to make sure you have the right people, in the right jobs, doing the right things, at the right times.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as finding someone with the right skill set. Other times, it’s identifying someone with the right attitude and training them to do the things you need for your business. In either case, you first need to know WHAT you need, before you can determine WHO you should be hiring. But this is a step I see so many folks skipping! You shouldn’t hire your Biz Bestie’s VA just because it was a great match for her. You need to hire the right person for your needs – and that takes a bit of prep work.
It’s equally as important to think about your team needs as it is your big dreams and goals. And it’s best to do this before you ever need to hire the first person!
Why? Because when you’re able to take time to think about who you need before you need them, you’ll have a much clearer vision of who will be the best match for your team. You’ll be in a place where you can be more strategic and proactive versus acting willy-nilly and reactive because you’re overwhelmed and frazzled. It means you’ll make smarter decisions and your business will thrive as a result.
#2 – Your People Plan must align with your Business Plan.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that your People Plan must align with your Business Plan. You should design them to work together to help you reach your goals. If you neglect either one, you’ll definitely feel the stress and struggle that comes along with that and your biz (and sanity) will suffer. When this happens, your quality of work may suffer, projects may become delayed, and your customer experience may be less than stellar. All of which are detrimental to small business success.
After thinking about your big goals and what you’re going to need in a team in order to reach them, you’ll want to take some time to figure out what team member will you need to hire first and how much you’ll need to budget in order to bring this person onboard.
#3 – Start cultivating your company culture.
Lastly, you’ll want to start thinking about what kind of culture you’re going to cultivate for your team. I’ve chatted about culture many times before, in this post, this post and on the All Up in Your Lady Business Podcast and the Leaders Love Company Podcast. Yes, it’s that important!
Developing an intentional company culture now, even if you’re just a team of one, will help you guide your business and your team with more clarity and purpose in the future. It will also make leading a happy, productive and profitable team more achievable.
By planning for your future team now, you’ll be able to take a more thoughtful and strategic approach to the process. Will the plan change? Perhaps. But you’ll at least have an idea of what you’ll need in the future and can start taking steps now to reach those big goals you have – and attracting your rockstar team. The more you prepare on the front end, the more you can enjoy the ride as your business and team grow!