"I closed the big deal, then I took out the trash."
We've all heard variations of this sentiment from small business professionals. The point these entrepreneurs are making, of course, is that in their businesses' earliest stages, they are truly one-man (or woman) bands, doing literally every task themselves -- product development, marketing, sales, customer service, accounting and, yes, even taking out the office garbage.
But do these entrepreneurs enjoy flying solo or running small teams that still leave them handling most of the key tasks? Or would they rather delegate more to a trusted staff if they could? According to research done recently with small business owners, the answer is the latter. Indeed, a top New Year's Resolution among SMBs is to hire better in the coming year.
Two recent j2 Global small-business surveys -- the Mid-Year Small Business Report Card and Year-End SMB Survey -- both point to a clear theme for 2014. Although they plan to continue working extremely hard -- entrepreneurs are simply wired that way -- small business professionals do plan to hire and delegate a bit more in the year ahead.
A few interesting highlights from the research:
• More than 77 percent of small businesses plan to staff up in 2014 (by bringing on employees, paid interns or unpaid interns).
• Many small businesses will be looking for the energy and enthusiasm of youth -- with 43 percent hoping to find millennial new-hires, and another 30 percent looking for Generation-X employees.
• Of the many roles entrepreneurs handle themselves when getting their businesses up and running, the least popular is that of HR manager -- interviewing, processing paperwork, managing personnel issues. Just two percent cited this mission-critical function as their favorite part of the job, so get help and advice where you can.
• Another reason entrepreneurs plan to hire in 2014 is that many have set as a goal for this year to find better work-life balance. Indeed, 43 percent cited exercising more as their top New Year's Resolution.
And if you're an entrepreneur or considering starting your own business in 2014, here is the number one piece of advice from survey respondents: Don't hire friends or family.
How to hire intelligently in the New Year.
Here are a few additional suggestions for staffing up your small business with the best people you can find.
1. Create a more flexible work policy to attract and retain better talent.
The best employees obviously have more choices in where they work than do mediocre workers. And with today's mobile technologies and cloud services, smart businesses can attract these employees by offering them greater flexibility in when and where they work -- without sacrificing productivity. Indeed, 36 percent of SMBs surveyed plan to offer a more flexible working environment to find better employees.
2. Carefully define the position so you know your needs -- and who can best meet them.
A Bankrate.com article on small-business hiring offers this great tip: Take your time to fully define the role; don't simply hope to figure it out along the way. The more detailed a job description you can craft, the better fit your potential candidates will be -- and the better your chances of matching the right person with the role.
3) Take your time to find the right candidate -- don't rush the process.
According to an article in Business News Daily, you have a higher chance of hiring the wrong person for a role if you're desperate to fill the position and rush the process. If you really need help right away, the article suggests, bring in temporary help while you carefully search for the right permanent candidate.