2.0 Defining Your Needs

Employees and Staffing >> Each section contains key Action Items located within the downloadable Action Guide >> Click to Download Action Guide.

2.1   Defining the tasks, goals, projects and milestones that need to be accomplished.

So what is it you need done? Don’t worry about a title.  There are more important answers to document.  Take time to answer these right now:

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

LIST five things that need to get done in your business now:

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Why does the job exist? For instance as a receptionist: is it to answer phones; greet incoming  customers? Sell from the counter? All of the above?  Write your answers down.

What is the working environment? In a home office?  A building?

What is the attitude you want them to have? This is not just writing positive.  Do they need to be cheerful, inquisitive?  Do they need to believe in your business?  You might think, “Of course!“ yet I see business owners every day hire people who think:  “This is your business, not mine—I have a life!”

If it is a sales person then ask yourself:  What do I want them to sell? To whom?  Is there an established base to sell to or are these new sales?

Do you want special skills with accounting, computer programs, certifications, or languages? You can list those that are absolutely required and then you can note the ones preferred or a desired skill or ability.

Do you want a degree’d person? Sometimes a business likes to say, “all degreed or all certified technicians.”

It is important to do this now.  When resumes or applications show up, you will find yourself settling for what is being offered rather than what you want and need to grow your business.  Also, as you put your request out to solicit inquiries, you will want to receive pre-qualified applicants.  A job description or specification is key.

At this same time determine if it is a full time person you need? Is it just for a busy season?  Would you rather have someone from 9-3? Or weekends?

Pick out the most important item in the “get it done” list above and list the three most important elements of the task or position.

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2.2 Evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely.  This is not a reason to hire someone who agrees with you all the time or someone just like you.  You already have a “you” so it is key to find someone who complements what you bring to the business.  Are you very creative and hate getting messed up in details?  Then hire a detail-oriented person.  He/She will love doing that work and you will be thrilled to hand it over.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

What are your strengths?  What do people tell you that you are really good at?  What do you want to do to be working on your business?

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What are your weaknesses or things you don’t want to do or have the time to do that the business needs?

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2.3  What are you missing?

What skill are you missing completely?  Do you need someone who loves cold calls?  Someone who knows Excel?  A polished spokesperson to represent you to a particular market? A person who understands the impact that social networks are having?  Someone strong in sales?

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

What came to your mind first?  What are you missing?

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2.4   Defining the roles you need?

Most often the first role entrepreneurs need is someone to handle many things such as the phone, the mail, billing, invoicing, reception.  Here’s a list that seems to be a common list of job tasks for general clerical or secretarial support:

o        Answer telephone, screen and direct calls

o        Take and relay messages

o        Provide information to callers

o        Greet persons entering organization

o        Direct persons to correct destination

o        Deal with queries from the public and customers

o        Ensures knowledge of staff movements in and out of organization

o        General administrative and clerical support

o        Prepare letters and documents

o        Receive and sort mail and deliveries

o        Schedule appointments

o        Maintain appointment diary either manually or electronically

o        Organize meetings

o        Tidy and maintain the reception area

o        Prepare and manage correspondence, reports and documents

o        Organize and coordinate meetings, conferences, travel arrangements

o        Take, type and distribute minutes of meetings

o        Implement and maintain office systems

o        Maintain schedules and calendars

o        Arrange and confirm appointments

o        Organize internal and external events

o        Handle incoming mail and other material

o        Set up and maintain filing systems

o        Set up work procedures

o        Collate information

o        Maintain databases

o        Communicate verbally and in writing to answer inquiries and provide information

o        Liaison with internal and external contacts

o        Coordinate the flow of information both internally and externally

o        Operate office equipment

o        Manage office space

For the office manager or another administrative level here are some common requirements:

o        Knowledge and experience of relevant software applications – spreadsheets, word processing, and database management

o        Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures

o        Knowledge of business principles

o        Proficient in spelling, punctuation, grammar and other English language skills

o        Proven experience of producing correspondence and documents

o        Proven experience in information and communication management

o        Required typing speed

Sometimes abilities are listed as competencies.  These are things you want someone to come with.  You can teach them a piece of software but time management may be something that you don’t have time to teach–especially for one of your first hires.  Here are some examples:

o        Verbal and written communication skills

o        Attention to detail

o        Confidentiality

o        Planning and organizing

o        Time management

o        Interpersonal skills

o        Customer-service orientation

o        Initiative

o        Reliability

o        Stress tolerance

Here are some examples of tasks for someone in sales:

o        Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service.

o        Oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs.

o        Plan and direct staffing, training, and performance evaluations to develop and control sales and service programs.

o        Determine price schedules and discount rates.

o        Review operational records and reports to project sales and determine profitability.

o        Monitor customer preferences to determine focus of sales efforts.

o        Prepare budgets and approve budget expenditures.

o        Confer or consult with department heads to plan advertising services and to secure information on equipment and customer specifications.

o        Direct and coordinate activities involving sales of manufactured products, services, commodities, real estate or other subjects of sale.

o        Confer with potential customers regarding equipment needs and advise customers on types of equipment to purchase.

As a specific example, here are characteristics needed for a calibration technician:

o        Calibrate electronics (accelerometer sensors / optical encoders)

o        Read schematics and test procedures

o        Remain versed in the use of general test equipment for testing, troubleshooting, and evaluation of product

o        Perform a variety of routine tasks to ensure production quality standards are met

o        Perform the set-up, calibration, testing, and troubleshooting of circuits, components, instruments, and mechanical assemblies

o        Perform hand set-ups for digital tests

o        Recognize failures and set-up problems and determine need for appropriate verification

o        Operate programmable auto-testers, samplers, real-time oscilloscopes, pulse generators, meters, power supplies, and special test fixtures

Requirements:  Good communication skills (written and oral) are required. This person must be capable of being Certified to MIL-STD-2000 and NASA workmanship standards. Basic qualifications are an Associate’s degree in Electronics or Military Electronics Training and experience in using quality test equipment.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

List five of the most important roles you need handled first:

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2.5   Competitive Research

Read your competitor’s web sites.  What words do they use?  Google the words around your business such as a Calibration business might search, “Tampa FL Calibration.”  Read the ads on monster.com and careerbuilder.com.  Do any of those fit your needs?  Google companies you admire.  What do they say?  I BEG you not to take another job description and just copy it.  Why would you settle for being anyone else?

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

Copy and paste some of the examples you found while conducting your research.

What stands out? What terminology suites your needs?

Next — 3.0 Staffing Your Needs »