“I hear you knocking, but you can’t come in”

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Michael Bradshaw ready to paddle out into the waves at Longbeach, Kommetjie. (Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)
Michael Bradshaw ready to paddle out into the waves at Longbeach, Kommetjie. (Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

I was talking to a small business owner some weeks ago when out of the blue he mentioned a subject that he believes strongly about. He said he didn’t admire the celebrity entrepreneurs who will only hire people who already have all the qualifications and skills. But he said he did admire one celebrity entrepreneur who is prepared to take on someone who doesn’t have the qualifications and skills and develop them in his or her business.

What is your approach to hiring new staff? What qualities and experience do you look for? Are you prepared to take on someone who has potential but doesn’t yet have the necessary qualifications, skills and experience?

For a start-up just getting off the ground it may be a risky proposition to start hiring full-time staff. It’s probably better to take on part timers or freelancers while you are trying to develop and hone your business model and manage your fragile cash flow. The drawback is that you won’t have the same loyalty and productivity as people who are full-time but you can keep an eye out for someone who you may want to employ later on.

Small business owners can’t do things alone. They need to build a team of people to help make their business competitive and appealing to customers. It’s a difficult call hiring new people for your small business because in the back of your mind you know that they will use the experience they receive in your business and leverage it to work for some larger outfit. But whatever way you look at it, you still need excellent people to provide your product or service to customers.

If you look back on your working life, how many people opened doors for you? Many people during a lifetime heard you knocking, had faith in you, and let you in. You wouldn’t have been able to go ahead in your working life without others opening the door for you.

How many doors have you opened for others?

By opening doors for others, you enable them to get a foothold into a job or another rung in their careers. The small business owner plays a key role in developing people, providing them with opportunities for growth and all-round experience that they often are not able to obtain in the giant conglomerates where people are pigeonholed.

But let’s not get too overwhelmed by the goodness of it all and understand that not everyone you hire is going to be a performer. Some people, once they are in, think that they can slack off and just be a passenger along for the ride. The values and ethics of hard work, commitment, contribution, determination and perseverance are not always there.

If you sit down with people you have hired and help them define clear and definite goals and objectives, you will help to increase their motivation. These goals and objectives will help them improve their career prospects for better paid positions. Help them map a career course with your business as they meet the goals and objectives.

Even though your small business may only offer limited career prospects the exposure and experience that staff get from working for a small business is invaluable.

Though it’s some years ago, I still am grateful for those small business owners who opened the door for me. I never have forgotten this and have tried all my working life to open doors for others.

How many doors are you opening?

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