There is one problem that nearly every entrepreneur overlooks when they dream about growing their startup or small business into a big business. They overlook the fact that when your business grows, you have to get bigger. Bigger means letting go of power, hiring employees, bigger infrastructure and bigger problems. One of the terms that you as a business owner have to get used to when you are growing is human resources.
Delegating power, employees and infrastructure all come with their own sub-issues that can cause you more than just headaches. Having a plan, policies, and hierarchy can be vital. Some business owners are able to stumble into the right hire and get a human resource (commonly referred to as HR) person on their team. Others learn the hard way that they need to take an active role in the HR aspect of their business.
Grand Rapids human resources professional Beth Kelly has written a new book, “The EE Gap: Human Resources for Small Business Success,” which provides an HR plan for growing small businesses. It is Kelly’s belief that small businesses can be just as competitive as big business by being flexible and being creative and using their resources in creative ways.
Your West Michigan business needs to have ways that entice talent to join but also be able to protect the businesses interest. Having flexible hours and alternative schedules needs to be laid out in a policy manual along with clauses that protect the businesses proprietary interests (i.e. noncompete agreements, nonsolicitation agreements, nondisclosure agreements, etc.)
Being able to know how to hire the right talent for the right job and then knowing how to leverage that talent is important. Everything from knowing what you need to being able to identify candidates that fill that spot to even the setup of your office can influence putting together a team that works efficiently.
Even giving up power needs to be considered and weighed. When your business is small (or even just you) you can control most or every aspect of it. But as your business grows you can’t exhibit that same kind of control. You might be an entrepreneur with a startup. You have developed a product and it has hit the market. Are you qualified to run a business? Will you enjoy that? Or would you rather be in a position that you develop new products or refine your product while someone else runs the business? This does not mean you give up ownership of your business or not have any influence over the business. It’s relinquishing control of day-to-day decisions on some aspects of the business.
The HR decisions and polices are important and are more complicated than we can get into here. But the most important thing is to have all of these decisions and policies reflected in writing. Employees knowing their positions, roles, and duties; having a written policy how certain situations are handled; and having those protections for your business in writing where there is no question in anyone’s mind what those decisions and policies are can not only help keep employees happy but also help your business avoid potential issues that could develop into litigation issues.
Strategizing with a small business attorney and a HR resource can get you started on the right foot with the growth of your Grand Rapids business.
Source: “HR Collaborative owner authors employee blueprint for small businesses” by Charlsie Dewey of the Grand Rapids Business Journal