Not every business is a huge corporation with funds to spare. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, firms with 20 or fewer employees make up nearly 90% of American businesses. Small businesses need to be careful with every dollar they earn—so special consideration should be given to their budgets, including labor costs. But at what point does frugality become a problem? Is a too-small team causing you to lose out on productivity—and profits?
Here are five signs that it may be time to add to your team:
1. Your employees are overloaded—and facing burnout:
A solid work ethic is great, and you’re doing a good job if you’re motivating your team to give it their all. But if your employees seem to be falling behind, it might be time to bring on more people. Have you noticed an increase in the number of projects that aren’t getting done on time—or at all? Do your people seem more stressed and irritable than normal? These are signs of burnout and if you don’t deal with it, some employees could decide to leave—which will make things even more stressful for those who remain.
2. You’re missing opportunities:
Have you had to say no to opportunities—a new client or exciting new project—because you simply didn’t have the time? A larger, more qualified staff can easily solve that problem and get you back in the game.
3. Your current employees don’t have the right skills:
As your business grows, so does its needs. Maybe when you started, your team was meeting those needs, but now it’s possible that it’s no longer the case. If your growing business’s needs require more specialized skills, you need to step up and make a decision. Do you have the ability and the resources to train your current team? Or will it be a better choice to expand—or completely—replace that team?
4. Customer Service is Slipping:
An adequate staff is especially important for customer service-based businesses. Have you seen an increase in customer complaints? Are orders going out incorrect or late? If no one’s picking up the phone when customers call, or clients aren’t getting their projects completed on time, there might be a problem—and it will only get worse if not corrected.
5. Saving money is actually costing you money:
Being understaffed pretty much always backfires. You might be saving money by having a smaller staff, but are you really? If you need extra manpower to finish a project, do you often end up paying someone overtime? Overtime is not an efficient long-time solution. It can get costly and has been shown to lead to burnout—and employees heading for the door. What if someone needs to take a sick day? Do you have to scramble to find someone to cover—or do the work yourself?
When you lose those employees, you not only lose the investment you put into training them, you’re losing time and energy looking for a replacement. That’s time and energy you could be using to find the additional help you need—instead of filling a role you had already filled. Without an adequate staff, it’s difficult to grow your business.
When you’re a small business owner, it’s critical to create a realistic budget and stick to it. But if that budget doesn’t allow for hiring and maintaining a qualified team, it doesn’t do you much good. If any of these scenarios hit a little too close to home, it might be time to focus your money and energy on making sure your venture is supported by the best team you can build.
Want more advice from our team of talent management experts? Check out our blog! And if you ever need help with recruiting, we hope you’ll get in touch with TalentBridge.