(Editor's Note: WeddingIQ is proud to endorse Sage Wedding Pros' business planning workshop, The Simple Plan! Kelly Simants and Michelle Loretta will be offering this two-day event in Chicago on June 16-17, and in Washington, DC on July 6-7. Visit them online at www.thesimpleplan.biz for more info and registration, and check out Kelly's guest post below!)
In my previous life prior to the wedding industry, I was in Human Resources Management. People always ask me how they should go from being a solo entrepreneur to growing their team. My response is usually “5 hours a week." Usually it’s not realistic to hire a full-time employee right off the bat, or even after several years of being in business. So, in my opinion the best way to start growing your team is by doing so with a part-time, 5 hour a week position. Yes, that’s possible! There are so many people itching to get their foot in the door, and this is a great way for them to learn, gain exposure, and help you and your business at the same time.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Identify the pain points in your business. What is causing you the most headaches…is it the pile of paperwork, inquiries that you are having trouble keeping up with, or writing proposals in a timely manner?
2. Create your position. Once you identify the tasks you’re struggling with the most, you can then begin to create your “5 hour a week” position. This position could look something like the following:
Position: Office Assistant
- Responding to new client inquires and setting up initial consultations.
- Creating new client binders/fil
- Drafting proposals and/or contracts
- Managing social media – writing blog posts, monitoring social media accounts, etc
Schedule: You could have them work 3 days a week, for 1.5-2 hours/day so that you have enough interaction throughout the week and not just one day for 5 hours.
Contractor vs. Employee: You’ll need to determine if this role is truly a contract position or an employee (be VERY clear on this before you bring the person on board – please consult with your CPA or Attorney to understand what’s best for your business and what needs to be in place for either scenario. Even if you’re only hiring someone for five hours a week, they could legally be classified as a part-time employee). Here’s a link from the IRS with helpful information on determining the difference between a contractor vs. employee.
3. Recruit. Once you have created your position, it’s time to hire the right person for the job! Here are some ways to find people:
- Local networking groups
- Career centers at local colleges: this is prime time for finding great candidates who are fresh out of school and eager to work and learn, as graduation is happening as we speak.
- Share with other colleagues: do you know other colleagues of yours who also need help? Maybe they already have a part-time assistant but they could use more hours? You can share that person’s time.
- Facebook forums: most cities have wedding professional forums where you can post the job opening and ask for any qualified applicants to contact you.Word-of-mouth is usually the best tried and true way to find great candidates.
4. Create a training plan. Once you have hired the individual for this role, be sure that you have the following in place:
- Job description with clearly outlined responsibilities you are asking of this person.
- "Onboarding plan" – a checklist of things you’ll need to make sure you have in place or cover with your new hire…things like setting up their email, providing them with business cards,reviewing your company history/goals/mission statement with them.
- Spend at least 2 hours/week initially to train them. This is critical so that they are given direction, feel supported, and learn. Remember that you have a lot of what you do in your head and comes naturally to you, so you’re transferring your knowledge to this new hire and that takes time.
- Trust them and delegate – if you can begin to let go of your "baby" you will be successful at growing your team! If you truly want to grow your business and team, you need to learn how to delegate and give up some responsibilities. This isn’t easy at first, but once you see how someone else can do your job, you’ll master the art of delegation.
Want to learn more? I work with wedding businesses to walk them through this process in detail and help them to grow their teams. Contact me at email@example.com to set up a complimentary consultation via phone or Skype to discuss your business needs.
Also, we offer a product called The People Plan, which is a Human Resources toolbox for small businesses that includes templates and resources you can use as you grow your team. Visit www.thepeopleplan.biz for more information!
Sage Wedding Pros is committed to creating financially and operationally sustainable businesses in the wedding and event industries. Kelly Simants joined Sage Wedding Pros in 2009 and partnered with Michelle Loretta to develop The Simple Plan, an easy-peasy approach to writing business plans for the wedding industry. Kelly’s background in training and development, as well as her 13 years experience in the wedding industry enabled her to lead the charge for taking The Simple Plan on a national tour for the last 5 years. Her expertise lies in the people components of an organization’s training, organizational design, leadership development, employee relations, staffing and strategic planning. In 2008, she also co-founded the wedding industry not-for-profit, Get Hitched Give Hope.
Outside of Sage Wedding Pros, Kelly is also the owner of Sweet Pea Events, a wedding and event planning business with offices in Dallas, Seattle, and NYC. She also has created two separate businesses under the Sweet Pea Events umbrella: Planning for Dudes, a proposal planning service for guys, and Parties on the Porch, a décor rental business. Before starting her event planning businesses, Kelly worked for Starbucks as a Director of Human Resources for their Supply Chain Operations, as well as Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a Human Resources Analyst.