As your company gains momentum, an extra pair of hands can seem vital. And it might be. But if you still don't have full funding or are relying on clients to keep your cash flowing at the right clip, moving too quickly on a hire can mean weighting yourself down unnecessarily.
The truth is, even when you're sure you need a new project manager, you may really not. It's at times like this when it's important to step back and examine your plan in cold light. Before you add to your staff, ask yourself these three questions.
1. How will you pay for the new hire? If you can't draw a straight line between the hire and an increase in your margin, don't do it. Too often, entrepreneurs justify new staff by pointing to their financial pipeline -- the sales they're about to close or the investment round that's soon to come through. To be sure, it's a hopeful time when you're preparing to sign a deal. But hope isn't a reason to add expense.
2. Are you hiring for the right role? Say you've been hunting for a project manager but haven't found anyone who fits the bill. Then you meet a developer who's got a stellar resume along with experience as a team lead. She's looking to make a change and thinks working for you would be a gas. A better-than-hoped for solution? No.There are specific holes in your operation that need to be plugged, but this person’s skills lie in other areas. This hire doesn’t address your core needs which will remain unaddressed after the hire.
3. How does your team feel about it? In some cases, team members may be clamoring for a new hire to help them keep things going and retain their sanity. If that's the case, your job is to ask them about how a new person will streamline their work, help them accomplish more and strengthen the business's finances. In other cases, you may have decided on your own that the team needs help which it might not. Talk to staffers about what they need since their problems could be solved a number of ways that don’t involve new staff, including by adding technology or even getting other departments to pitch in during rare busy times. By surveying your staff, you’ll get a fuller picture of your team’s needs.
And don't forget hiring’s personal dimension. Bringing in a developer may get your existing developer's nose out of joint if he believes he's got everything under control. While his feelings may or may not change your mind, consulting with all involved will help you identify any challenges you'll have to address to keep everyone happy and productive.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Mark Feffer is the Managing Editor of Dice News, which provides news and advice for job seekers on the technology career site Dice.com. As a journalist he has written for Dow Jones and Bloomberg, and ran his own startup, Tramp Steamer Media, which provided editorial services to small business and corporate clients including AT&T, Marsh & McLennan, KPMG and Thomas Edison State College. The views he expresses here are his own.