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The Importance of Hiring Rockstars for Your Small Business

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/10/2015 Colleen Mook
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I've been in business for 13 years and started my business when my oldest child was just shy of one. I now have four children (14, 12, 9 and 5) and have managed to build my business, Baby Be Hip, while raising those kids. Let me tell you, it has not been easy, but it is doable. As you all know, you're going to get curveballs thrown at you, both in business and in life. But I have found one tool that enabled me to survive and even thrive. The power of a good team is critical to success.

My first criteria when hiring is finding someone I can trust. As a sometimes "absentee" boss, it is crucial that I can trust my employees to do the right thing and treat the business as their own. There have been times when I have been in the hospital with a sick kid for a month at a time (one of my children has significant special needs) and trusting my employees allows me to be fully present with my daughter. To me, this is the most important trait in an employee.
The next key piece is my ability to transfer the company's values (which I have hanging in the shop) and standard operating procedures. This means that the company is able to operate as though I am there even when I am not. When I started the business, I knew I had to build it around my life because I wouldn't be able to be there all the time. I also knew that I shouldn't be spending my time on day-to-day order fulfillment, as my time is better spent working on the business rather than in the business. Having employees that understand and execute the values and processes is huge, as it eliminates a lot of questions and gives my employees the autonomy to make decisions without me.
Finally, I have learned the power in hiring domain experts versus jacks-of-all-trades. I'm still a work in process on this. I understand for many small businesses--including my own--the only option is to have a jack-of-all-trades, especially in the beginning. And even today, my employees--including me--have to pitch in and do it all at times. But once you start hiring or sub-contracting experts, it puts you on a different playing field. For years, my ads asked for a "jack-of-all-trades", and it wasn't until a mentor, Amy Larrimore, told me my business has a hiring issue that I realized this. Now that I've hired domain experts, our execution has improved and we're getting results. What a difference.
Of course, there are lots of other things that matter in finding the winning team but these are three things that really matter to me. I think we all need to figure out what works best for us and our businesses as well as our lifestyle. Let me know your thoughts as well as what is critical to your success in finding the right team.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.

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