We teach a class on entrepreneurship for wounded veterans in the hospital. A recent class speaker told us that she decided to start her second (successful) company when she met the perfect employee. Then she knew. “When you have the perfect employee, you have to start a company,” she said. Why? Because they’re so hard to find!
What makes a perfect employee for a small business? Based on interviews with more than 100 entrepreneurs there are two ways to think about the ‘perfect employee.’
First, you can recruit someone who already has all the skills, education, and experience for the job. This employee can immediately make your business more successful by closing more sales, building top-notch products, or streamlining your operations. You can quickly turn over many of the most critical functions of the business to the expert and focus your time and energy on other key aspects. You will spend more money to hire this talented person, but you will spend less money and time on training, and faster growth can ultimately help you fund their cost.
Second, entrepreneurs with severely limited budgets have had great success hiring someone who is inexperienced, however, who is also smart, energetic and willing to learn the business. These ‘perfect employees’ will cost the small business less. In addition, as one entrepreneur said, the entrepreneur can train the inexperienced employee to perform the function in a way that is complimentary to their values, processes and perspective. Retraining an expert can become a tough battle of wills. The inexperienced employee has no preconceived notions of how to perform the job.
Whichever way you go, best of luck finding and recruiting the perfect employees!
All the best,