When you first start out as an entrepreneur, you're probably running things more or less on your own. Then, as your business begins to gain momentum, you get to hire an employee or two. This is a fantastic step. Even when banks say no, entrepreneurs are willing to take a mortgage loan to finance their dream projects.
Early on, your finances, your kids and family well being are all affected by the pressures of running a business. When you start to bring on employees, you get the benefit of delegating some of your workload, which can feel like more freedom than you've had in years.
But how do you manage that freedom and make sure you're an excellent boss, even though you're still really busy?
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Everyone has had a job where they have a boss who constantly watches over their shoulder and offers constant corrections and comments. Being micromanaged is incredibly frustrating.
When you've been the sole employee of your business for a length of time, bringing on people to do the work you've been doing can be confusing and frustrating. You may feel distant from your business because you don't have the same intimate knowledge of the business ins and outs that you're accustomed to.
These are normal feelings as your business grows. What's important is not to punish your new employees for your feelings of distance. You want to make sure that they feel trusted and engaged in the business. If you can't trust them to do right by your company, then you shouldn't have hired them in the first place. As an entrepreneur, you should know the values that you will get and what you will give.
There are really two scenarios when you bring on employees early in your business. Either you're hiring someone on to take over a job that you've been doing, or you're bringing someone on to handle a job that you can't do. Either way, no matter how much they know about the theory of what they're doing, remember that they will still need training as to how your particular business functions.
If you're hiring a marketing team, for example, they may know everything there is to know about SEO, editorial calendars, and branding strategies. What you need to train them on, however, is your brand, your company, and whatever has been done so far to establish your ideal customer. It's possible they'll want to take that in a different direction, but in order to make any changes nimble and positive, they need to understand where your business has been already.
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When you're busy, it can be easy to go to the flip side of micromanagement and just trust that your employees will be able to take care of everything themselves. Ultimately, this can be as damaging to your company as watching every single move they make. Scheduling check ins with your employees can help you make sure that they're staying on target with goals and projections as well as ensuring that they feel supported by you.
Remember That Employees Have Lives
If you've been steadily over committed to your business, when you start hiring employees, it can feel very strange to have them put in their 40 hours and then go home. Even if you're hiring them as salaried employees, you need to remember that people have lives outside of work, even if you perhaps do not. People rarely remain satisfied at jobs that expect them to give up everything other than work. Just like you may struggle to find a work/life balance, you should work to support that balance for your employees.
Hiring your first few employees might be an even more difficult transition than going from working for someone else to working for yourself. As an entrepreneur, it can be very easy to run your own business, especially if you're fairly good at learning new things on the fly. If you've been able to pick up the basics of accounting, marketing, or IT, then suddenly having a new employee who is doing things differently can feel frustratingly critical.
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Remember that you hired your employees for a reason. Make sure that they're doing what they're supposed to, doing a section of the business's operations work better than you can, and make sure to support their efforts. After all, just like you may not have hit on the perfect strategy the first time you tried, they may need to experiment to find the right way to manage their section.
By supporting them, even when you're busy, you'll make their top boss list in no-time.