Exclusive article for wcareachamber.org
Written by Alicia Morris
Hiring for your small business can be daunting, but it's an important task to get right. This means a few things: You'll want to hire talented candidates of course, and as was emphasized in a recent piece by Built In, you should also hire people who fit the company culture you're trying to build. In the early going though, it's also particularly important that you're hiring for the right positions. You may have limited staffing capability while you're getting started, and allocating resources to key positions is vital.
Here, we’ll outline a few positions that you should prioritize to make sure your company is on the road to success.
Chief Operations Officer (COO)
Chances are, your business already has a "big picture" –– your mission and vision for the company. While you (or your chosen CEO) are busy working towards those goals, the COO focuses more on the day-to-day tasks that keep your business up and running. Normally, C-suite executives are hired internally, which is to say someone among the founders or earliest contributors assumes the role. It may even be a role you consider for yourself if you've hired someone else as CEO. But you do have the option to hire someone outside the company, especially at the beginning.
It is also worth noting that it's not uncommon for the COO to double as the CFO. In fact, a joint study by the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma found that the dual role may be more effective when it comes to financial reporting.
HR Manager or Lead Recruiter
There are more than 10 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., and as sophisticated as some talent search programs have become, companies still miss plenty of candidates (or in the cases of some minority groups or veterans, entire pools of candidates). As we indicated in our post on ‘4 Ways Employers Can Improve Recruiting and Retention’ though, a qualified HR manager or recruiter will take advantage of this pool of unemployed workers and implement diverse hiring practices.
At the same time, recruiters can ensure that every employee, regardless of background, is properly trained and receives the reskilling or upskilling required for the position at hand. They will also be able to plan and execute successful strategies for employee retention and satisfaction so as to not add to the Great Resignation of 2021.
While some basic budgeting and accounting practices can be automated today, the small business world is more competitive than ever, and having more comprehensive financial analysis is one of the keys to remaining competitive. Expanding on this notion, Maryville University’s look at accounting degree programs lists computer concepts, communication skills, financial management and accounting, and micro- and macro-economics among the subjects that a trained Financial Analyst will have knowledge in. Someone with this breadth of education and experience in business-related financial matters will go well beyond what a basic bookkeeping software program will do for you, and help to put you in a position to make the most efficient possible use of your assets.
Sales / Business Development Manager
In order to improve your top-line revenue, sales and business development are a must. These are key components of the team that will ultimately help your business scale sustainably without growing out of control. Investopedia's overview of business development points out that business developers also come in handy when it comes to assessment and strategy through thinks like SWOT analyses or the creation of ideal customer profiles. These efforts in turn help to drive sales and marketing efforts such that they are better targeted and more effective.
Content and Copywriter
Copywriters and content writers work together with your sales and marketing team to ensure that your outbound sales material –– emails (mass-blasted or personalized), cold-call templates, social media activity, and even editorial contributions –– is effective. It’s relatively easy to write an email, but writing a compelling email requires some craft and experience. Hiring someone who knows the ins and outs of content production, and how to write material that resonates with your audience, is a move that will pay off continually.
Customer Service Manager
Happy customers tend to be repeat customers, and they’re also more likely to recommend your service or product to others. As Business2community’s write up on referrals puts it, word of mouth is a powerful tool; it’s highly trusted by consumers, it’s basically free, and it gets you more high-quality customers. The key to happy customers, however, is the customer service behind the product or service you offer. By making sure your customer service department is the best it can be, you’re also ensuring customer satisfaction, which can spread and become a cornerstone of any successful business.
Hiring highly qualified professionals may seem like a serious expense or effort, but it’s what can make or break your business. Quality will go a long way here, so make sure the hiring process is easy, and focus on employee retention.
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