‘Business is easy, people are difficult’

On ‘Dragon’s Den’ Duncan Bannatyne once said ‘Business is easy, people are difficult’ and I’ve never heard a truer sentence said. Running a business is about strategy, processes, implementation and measuring performance but once you understand how to do all of that it’s straight forward like anything else you’ve learnt in life.

However, the biggest problem that affects businesses is people. People create and make up your company’s culture, create and implement your strategies, sell your product and services, develop relationships with your customers, manage your finances so business as far as I’m concerned is about people. Look at your business in a different way, as people instead of products, services, selling, tactics etc.  

At objectsource, all too often we’ve seen too many companies focus on the product instead of the team. Investing too much on developing your products or services can mean what is produced is not the desired outcome because they may have lacked the expertise and experience in certain areas of the team. Or we’ve seen companies waste money on marketing initiatives which perform badly because there is a lack of understanding of who their customer is and where they can market to them and this boils down to people employing the wrong people to manage marketing.

Successful businesses always have one thing in common, a well thought out recruitment strategy. We want to share some tips and advice for ensuring you have the right balance of skill sets and experience to achieve business success.  

Can you achieve your business objectives with the team you have?

My nan always used to say to me ‘think big, be big’ and there is a lot of truth in this because without vision you can’t set clear objectives.  However, too many businesses think too big too fast and they don’t have the resources to achieve these big objectives.

Tip: To find out where the problem areas are in your business you can carry out the following steps:

  1. Review your 1-2 year milestones plan of business objectives
  2. Collate all the job descriptions for each team member within your business
  3. Look at what areas require significant resource in the time plan
  4. Review how much work/time is needed
  5. Review the relevant roles in the business that are part of the processes within this area
  6. Evaluate whether additional resource is needed or/and if the required expertise and experience is available to deliver the business objectives
  7. Evaluate if more resource should be added or if business objectives should be reviewed

Are you employing people that fit in with your culture and share the same core values?

We can’t stress the importance when employing an additional member of staff that they fit into your company’s culture and share the same values as you. These values should be detailed in your brand strategy.  Your brand’s core values should underpin all business decisions especially when employing a new team member.

Tip: In order to find the best employee for your business you need to be asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Does the candidate have the experience, skills and education to carry out the role’s duties to the level you require?
  2. Do you feel the candidate will be committed to your company for the long haul?  A good indication of their commitment is to see how long they’ve been at previous companies.  If they’ve moved on every few years it might mean they have their own personal agenda which might not be to work for one company and help build it.  You want a team member who buys into your vision and that has an interest in what you do.
  3. Will this person get on with your existing team members? Will they clash with anyone including yourself? Can you see yourself getting on with them?
  4. Do you feel this person has potential for growth within the company? Could they cope with more responsibility?
  5. Do they have values that align with yours? Are they a team player? Are they honest?

There are specific indirect questions that can be asked during an interview that can provide you with answers to the above questions.

Build your network of ideal candidates

Having a well thought out recruitment strategy means you are able to be proactive when it comes to employing new members of staff.  It will allow you to know over a defined period of time who you will be hiring and by when.  Obviously, the natural ebb and flow of running a business means you will not be hiring someone exactly when the strategy details but it still provides you with which person you need and in what order.

Tip:  To ensure you have a strong pool of qualified leads before starting the hiring process you can:

  • Develop relationships with the ideal candidates in advance before you need them by finding the perfect candidates in terms of experience, education and skills on LinkedIn.  
  • Connect and message on LinkedIn saying something like ‘Hello…I like your experience and skills and being in the same industry as each other I thought it might be worth igniting a relationship and connecting with you’
  • Depending on the response you get you can go a step further and meet up with these qualified candidates.  This will allow you to get a feeling for whether they will fit in with your company’s culture and if they share the same values as you.

You don’t have to wait until the last minute to fill a position.  When you leave it to the last minute your normally under time constraints which can sometimes have a detrimental effect on your decision-making when employing someone.

Team diversity is key to any successful business

Having diversity in your team’s skills and experience is an integral ingredient of successful businesses.  Don’t always wait until you think you can afford someone as most often the person you need is too expensive and getting someone cheaper often leads to a whole host of problems. You can still acquire the skills and experience you need to move your business forward without having to heavily invest in a permanent member of staff.  This value can be added through some of the following examples:

  • An experienced and highly skilled financial consultant who can work for one day per week.  They can give you the expertise you might lack in managing cash flow and forecasting effectively as well as attend the monthly performance meetings. There is no point getting a bookkeeper in as this can be done by yourself.  It’s better to pay for the more experienced and highly skilled person who can help you make better decisions and mitigate any risk.  They can also provide that financial control and insight that so many businesses lack in the early years of business growth to help drive the business forward.
  • Having a non-executive director can be a priceless addition to a company.  These are normally entrepreneurs or will have years of experience in growing businesses as well as having a strong network you can tap into. They will attend monthly or quarterly board meetings, providing valuable insights and guidance to help develop successful strategies as well as help mitigate any risks.

Finding the right balance of expertise and experience at certain stages of your company’s growth stages is something that can’t be ignored and should be regularly reviewed to ensure you are on course to achieve your business’ objectives.

Remember having a proactive recruitment strategy in place is core to your company’s success. You can have the best idea in the world, the strongest business strategy but all this means nothing if you haven’t got People right in your company and making them the focus of everything you do.  Build a team around your weaknesses.


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