When you're running a small business, it can be hard to put together the perfect mix of skills and people for the work you have now, let alone for challenges of the future. These five industry pros explain how to get the balance just right.
"Identify what your employees are good at and build on this"
James Burkitt MRICS is founder of chartered environmental surveyor Aviron Associates, Oxfordshire
Because raising headcount is a risk, many small business owners will be familiar with just getting by – riding out peaks and troughs. The danger is that people get so busy, they do everything rather than what they're best at, or want to do more of.
We hit this position recently, so I decided to bring in someone specifically to provide administrative support. This simple change will free people up to have honest conversations about what they're really good at, what new skills they want or need to acquire, and how we as a business can support them. Now, we can create a skills audit of everyone, and build the business case for training them according to how we see our market developing.
Our business provides land insights to civil and structural engineers, so it may well be that we next hire someone in this field, to grow our business by offering more services to existing clients. This way, we won't trample on our existing employees' current skillsets. We'll train from the bottom up, and in doing so people will see where they fit, and what skills they need to progress.
This is also a good way to protect our uninterrupted growth. We haven't lost any staff since launching in 2008, but it's bound to happen at some point. At least this way, we'll have created a formal skills structure that new recruits will be able to slip into.