If you’re going to grow a business, you must be able to hire and fire people – and the timing needs to be absolutely spot on.
In this post, I’m busting taboos and talking about firing. Yes, there will be times in your business’ future where you’ll have to pull the plug on someone’s time in the business. But once you’ve done it, you’ll never look back.
There’s a right time for hiring…
Timing can be everything in business. Hire too late, and the momentum and compounding effect of an increase in demand can seriously kick you in the backside. You’re suddenly chasing your tail, your clients are getting frustrated and they’ve started looking elsewhere. Hire too early, and that’s money gushing out of your business that won’t be coming back any time soon. Before you know it, you’re all sat around waiting for the next job to come in.
…and for firing
We’re human. We’re emotional beings and most of us have a heart. So, the last thing we want to do is push someone into unemployment. However, some people do deserve to be removed from the business. If you don’t remove them, they will influence the rest of the business in a less than positive manner and suck the life out of what you are trying to achieve.
I’m not saying you fire someone for a little mistake – absolutely not. There’s the benefit of the doubt, training, coaching and nurturing for that. However, you just know instinctively when someone’s not quite right for your business. Therefore, you have a responsibility to the rest of your team to make the right decisions, get rid of the rot and replace it with someone who’s going to come in with more enthusiasm, energy, skills, knowledge and experience. Someone who is going to help you move the needle for the business.
When you’re trying to build and achieve something and you’ve got people pulling it back in the opposite direction, they’ve got to go. It’s as simple as that. You give them opportunities to grow – you don’t just fire on the first mistake. At the same time, it should be three strikes and you’re out.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda…
We all have an instinct for who is right and wrong for our business. The art is moving quickly to remove the bad apples. I’ve been guilty in the past of being too slow to fire people – including myself! I should have fired myself so many times from so many things over the years. If I had done that, I guarantee we would have been a lot further down the line than we are right now.
Hiring very talented people to look after certain parts of the business has had a hugely positive impact. It’s enabled us to learn and grow much quicker than ever before.
Again, a reminder: as the business owner, you are responsible and accountable to yourself and to the people you’re working with.
Your clients are investing in you, helping you pay the bills and grow the business. So, if you become the big, successful business you may want to be in the future, your clients and team are going to be the core reason that that’s happened. Albeit with your guidance – you’ve been leading the operation and it’s been your vision. However, those other people are going to be the main reason you actually make it. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with the right talent.
Redundancies will always be worse than firing people
Talking of firing people, I’ve only had to do that a couple of times throughout my entire time in business. A couple of years ago, we had a bad patch with redundancies, and for me, that was worse than having to fire someone.
When you’re firing someone, it’s because they’re not a good person to have in your business and they’re not performing well. Redundancies are completely the opposite. These people have lives and families of their own, but you just can’t afford to keep them on otherwise the whole business will go down. For me, it’s the toughest decision you will ever have to make in business and – touch wood – I hope we don’t have to do that ever again.
Before you fire someone, you should give them 3-5 months of fresh opportunities to make good and improve. However, the people I’ve fired in the past just haven’t listened, and they had to go. It was tough, but trust me, once the plaster was ripped off, it felt good and the business grew massively. And I mean massively.
Thank you for reading this chapter of the Diary of an Entrepreneur. I must stress, I’m not trying to teach you anything. I’m just sharing my journey, and if it motivates you, then great – job done!
If you want to hear more about my entrepreneurial journey, check out the Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast on all available platforms – I talk all things business in terms of my OWN journey and experience. It’s not one to miss!