Any business that you start comes with inherent risk. Although you might have enjoyed year upon year of profits, the markets can result in a sudden streak of bad luck for you and your company. Maybe a major client ended their contract, your top salesperson left, or a new competitor has led to tighter margins of profit. Whatever the reason, you can’t always predict an economic setback. With that said, there are plenty of ways to rebound and reach your old levels of success and even expand beyond them.
Reduce risk during the hiring process
When your business has taken a hit financially, it’s important to reduce your risk everywhere you can, such as during the hiring process. Hiring the wrong person in a bigger business might not have much of an impact if other people on your team are pulling their weight. But, the business still won’t run as efficiently if you don’t hire the right people.
On the flip side, a new employee that fits into the culture and increases the efficiency of your organization can mean better company morale and more impressive profits. It’s in your best interest to make sure your hiring process is well structured.
To hire amazing employees, consider implementing these tips during your hiring:
- Use referrals: Ask your top talent to mine their social circles for potential employees. You might even want to consider a paid employee referral program, which can reduce a new hire’s overall risk. Your employees have a vested interest in bringing someone on that will provide value to the company.
- Interview thoroughly: Interviewing takes a ton of time but conducting this screening process properly helps ensure both you and the interviewee have a good understanding of the role and each other’s aims. Consider adding in 3-4 employees outside of the hiring department to interview the applicant to get a more well-rounded view of him or her. It’s also a good idea to ask situation-based questions instead of just asking outright yes or no questions. Situation-based questions invite a conversation, while a series of yes/no questions can feel like an interrogation.
- Use background checks: Once a potential employee has been vetted with several interviews, it’s a good idea to run a background check. Background screenings have multiple benefits but ultimately, their purpose is to give you peace-of-mind that the people you’re hiring are who they say they are. Since mid-April, small business background checks have decreased by 65%. If your business isn’t running checks on potential employees, you could be subject to making a bad hire. Not only do background checks verify information like required certifications and identities, but they also show any red flags like past felonies and other criminal activities.
- Call references: Following up after an interview with references is another good way to vet candidates. Make sure to call all the references listed in order to get thorough feedback on an applicant.
- Institute a trial period for new employees: Consider adding a 90-day probationary period for new employees when they’re first hired. This allows both you and the new team member to see how well they fit within the company and how well they perform the job. A trial period provides business owners with an easy way to assess fit and mitigate long-term risk.
Consider a merger
If the opportunity arises to merge your products or services with a similar company in your industry, it might make sense to go through with that business decision. Successful businesses often merge to reduce competition while building up a larger customer base. The benefits are even greater if your company is on the edge of bankruptcy or otherwise in dire financial straits. Although considering a merger isn’t always the answer in every situation, it can offer struggling businesses a life vest.
Review your target customer
Stability is nice, but if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you’re not going to see any positive growth with your business. As times change and the economy falters, your target customer may change as well. To mitigate this risk, broaden your service or product to reach customers who normally wouldn’t be your target or consider tweaking your marketing strategy to appeal to a different audience.
Build a presence
It’s a good idea to build your presence in two ways: in-person and online. As a business owner, make sure that you’re active on LinkedIn and connected to other industry leaders. Consider connecting with more people on LinkedIn – but don’t cold message people. Only connect with people who you feel you have a legitimate reason to connect with and send a warm message along with your invitation.
Another great way to build a physical presence in your local business community is by joining local marketing and industry groups. Getting facetime with other industry leaders can help open doors and allow you to meet new potential customers.
Meetup.com also offers entrepreneurs with ways to connect face-to-face over coffee, on hikes, and during local happy hours.
It’s also a good idea to take a good, hard look at your social media presence if you’re facing financial problems. Leveraging your social networks and engaging with potential customers or current customers helps to keep your company relevant. If you haven’t already, it might make sense to hire a professional social media manager who can help you make the most of your social accounts. A few paid ads on Instagram and Facebook could increase your exposure and reach to people who would be interested in your business’s offerings.
Summary: Building back to success
When your company isn’t doing well, it might feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But if you’ve been dealing with financial issues, there are many ways to reduce your spending and increase your profits simultaneously. First, it’s a good idea to bolster your online and physical presence where other industry leaders exist. It’s also a smart strategy to carefully adjust your hiring strategy to ensure you’re not taking on an undue risk with a new hire. Remember, as a business owner, it’s important to be flexible and be ready to take on anything that comes your way – good or bad.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.