Learn The Signs It’s Time to Hire

This blog post started as a gratitude post for an amazing employee, and quickly morphed into a lesson in growing a small business. How could I not share a business lesson that someone shared with me?

As a business owner, it can sometimes feel a little scary to hire someone. Will I find the right person? Will the effort to hire be worth it? Will I have enough work for them? Am I picking the right role to hire for? Here’s my story about realizing I needed help in order to grow my business.

May 13, 2023, marked the 10-year anniversary for Apryl Ackley, our Executive Coordinator at JB Consulting Systems, and my assistant. As an employer, it is rare to find this kind of loyalty and longevity these days. We rarely see 7 years at one place let alone 10 years. But that’s a story for another day.

Apryl was the first person I hired after clawing my way out of the Great Recession. I was afraid to hire someone because I wasn’t sure if I had enough hours for them, but as someone told me, I could no longer grow the business because I was spending too much time on non-billable work.

I decided to make the plunge, and I announced at a Professional Women in Building lunch at my local homebuilder’s association that I needed someone to help me with day-to-day tasks so I could free up my time. Melissa Irons with Irons Brothers Construction told me she had someone to refer and sent Apryl to me. I hired her on the first interview.

Hiring New Employees as a Small Business

Juli and her first hire, Apryl Ackley.

Because I made the decision to hire Apryl:

        • Apryl helped me free up my time and took on anything I threw her way.
        • My capacity for client work expanded and I took on more work.
        • I conquered my fear of adding employees and added another employee within 2 months.
        • We continued to add employees one or 2 at a time over the following few years.
        • We now have 10 employees including 5 with 5 or more years with the company and another one very close.
        • I’ve been able to take time away from work and travel with my daughter, son, and husband.
        • I don’t have to think about our social media posts, picking up mail, making deposits, ordering office supplies, handling IT issues, ordering cell phones for new employees or replacement phones, reserving hotel rooms for my business travel, setting up for trade shows, donating items to charity auctions and much, much more.
        • We have fun company parties!
        • We recognize employees’ birthdays, work anniversaries, send sympathy cards or flowers for lost loved ones of employees or clients, send thank you gifts to clients for referrals.

Making that one decision led to so many other great decisions in hiring and growing JB Consulting Systems and starting other companies.

So, how do you know if it’s time to hire? For me, it was the moment I realized I was spending more time on administrative work and less time with my clients. Don’t get me wrong, administrative work is vital to keep any business going, but once it takes away from what the business needs to grow like taking on more billable hours and working with clients – that’s a sign to bring someone in. As business owners we all wear many hats, but when those hats begin to pile up it’s time to place them on someone else.

The Forbes Advisor Article, “When To Hire In Your Small Business” has some additional signs that it might be time to search for some help:

  1. Your current employees are overwhelmed.
  2. You’re turning down clients and new business.
  3. You want to eliminate outside help.
  4. High-value employees are doing low-value work.
  5. Your service is suffering, and clients are complaining.
  6. You’re expanding.
  7. Your products or service quality is declining.

This is what we do for our clients to help them know when to hire, it’s hard to see the need when you are overwhelmed with the little details that keep you thinking strategically about your business. Reach out to schedule a consultation and we can discuss who to hire and when.