There’s something that every good businessman needs to understand: employees are a resource. This is why we have entire departments titled as “Human Resources.” And – just like any other resource – you can have too many or too few people hanging about. But unlike many resources – such as coal or printer ink – you are paying a regular check to these individuals that you might not need. Or, more so, that you might not need yet. How can you fire anyone when you might need them tomorrow? Simple: avoid the situation be just learning how to hire the right resource at the right time.
Now, that might not sound simple to you. It could even seem impossible, and yet here we are. The truth of the matter is that the only way to make sure that you don’t over hire or under hire is to have a good grasp of the future, which in turn must sound even more impossible. But it isn’t impossible, it just requires you to do the one thing that we all hate: hard work.
To get a good grasp of your future you’re going to need a long term plan. It can’t be a general thing either. You need to know what the start date of each project is, where the money is going to come from, and who will be working on it. You need to get decent sales/revenue estimates as often as possible and when those estimates don’t match the outcomes then you need to adjust everything to match that. You need to have such a close understanding of your resources – of all of your resources, not just your employees – that you can see everything mapped out in your head whenever you close your eyes.
When you know all of this then it becomes much easier, doesn’t it? You know that your business will be starting a big project next month, you know that you have a small budget for temp workers, and you know that you need a graphic artist. If you don’t have one you need to start looking for one now and you need to lowball his/her pay. Otherwise you’ll be left blowing in the wind.
Likewise, you might have just finished a huge project with a lot of temporary employees attached to it. Should you keep any of them? Perhaps. Think of what projects are coming up and which of them might make themselves useful. Were any of them so talented that you feel compelled to hire them? Just make sure they’re going to have a consistently busy workload if you put them on the payroll full time.
Is your head starting to spin yet? Good. That’s because you shouldn’t be doing this alone. There’s a good reason that the aforementioned “Human Resources” department exists. If you don’t have one, then you probably need one. Work closely with them, but let them do all of the dirty work. You’re the boss, after all—or you should be.
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