During his visit to the Gulf two years ago, the founder of YouTube, Chad Hurley, said that the key factor for the success of his startup multimedia business was finding the right people who were ready to follow him along his journey. Identifying and recruiting talent is a challenge for large businesses, and even more of an issue for small businesses, where a future employee needs to demonstrate a high level of resilience and entrepreneurial spirit in order to develop with the business and adapt to unexpected. This is something that is common for each and every entrepreneurial endeavor.
When you set up your own business, one of the first questions you ask yourself is: “What kind of people do I want to recruit?” Those who are simply brilliant at what they do, regardless of their social skills? Those who are delivering great results? Or those who have been proven ready to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes for the business to win and develop? For entrepreneurs, the latter would be ideal. Small businesses have small resources and big ambitions- and hence people must be ready to grow quickly or step aside. As the business owner or manager, you can never underestimate the power of people development. Genuine commitment to people development creates loyal teams, and loyal teams are motivated to drive your business from good to great.
Explore the option of untried talent
Many small businesses are reluctant to hire fresh graduates. Investing in training and development falls at the bottom of the priority list while you are setting up your own business. However, it is one of the key pillars of success and that is exactly why young and inexperienced talent can be the best fit. You are in a unique position to shape their skills, cultivate a positive attitude, and build up their ambitions. Make sure you take them on a journey and explain where it leads and how painful it might be at times. If they still decide to come on board, that means that you have the right caliber of young, success-hungry people around you. Of course, it is essential that you create a good balance between youth and experience; small businesses always benefit from staff that have some good professional mileage behind them, and on top of that, trust one another.
Remember that continuing to provide a learning experience is key
The next step after hiring is a continuous people development. Investing in skills from subject matter expertise all the way through to digital up-skilling, to additional foreign languages or business know-how courses. One issue that probably immediately makes you raise your eyebrows is the cost- but it doesn’t have to be expensive. One of the best ways to develop skills is to transfer your own knowledge to your associates– give them a piece of your own know-how and watch them use it for the benefit of the business. It takes only a few hours per month and a tailored teaching approach. Trainings such as time management, presentation skills or specific sales trainings are best done one-on-one as this method will eliminate embarrassment, and it will help your trainee focus solely on the tasks at hand. In some fields, group trainings can be very beneficial for enhancing team spirit and developing a sense of camaraderie among staff. These are also occasions where great work memories are created.
Remember that leadership is a transferable skill
Empowering teams to represent the business is also crucial for self-confidence and professional development. Pass the leadership role at an important meeting to one of your team that has demonstrated potential, ask this rising star to speak on your behalf at a conference, and give them an opportunity to lead an important client presentation. Do all of this with the candidate knowing that you will always have their back. As small businesses built on the spirit of entrepreneurship grow fast -and by the nature of their set up do experience some rocky times- it’s very important to develop a dialogue and constantly seek feedback.
The success of new ventures is everyone’s responsibility, and as a business owner you are driving that dialogue. This means that you, the entrepreneur, are ready to carefully listen and team ideas into consideration. It’s very important to remember that we live and work in a multicultural environment where respecting cultural or religious differences can also make all the difference in motivating staff.
Some businesses produce palpable products, others sell ideas and services. A common factor for all of us who have ever run a startup? We want to win. And we can only win with the people who are motivated and who are eager to join the journey, even if it sometimes means taking a running leap into uncharted territory.