There is a saying in business, “Grow or Die”.
At some point you will be faced with the dilemma of expanding your business. Very few business’ come into existence, stay that size and make a profit (I can’t think of one but I’m sure there is one out there). As a small business, at various times, you will find you need to expand, whether it is more employees, more equipment, more production or combinations of the above. This brings in the ever present problem of more money to do the expansion. More money can come from your ever increasing sales, a loan, investors or other ways.
We chose to hire more people (as we were not near our production capacity) and, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford to pay them (not quite true). But the idea is that a new employee is going to generate their own paycheck from increased sales. Of course if they or their job doesn’t increase sales then you have a whole other set of problems to deal with.
So the first thing we did was to ask ourselves, “1: What position do we need filled and 2: Do we know anyone, personally, who can fill that niche?”
If the answer is yes, to part 2, then we talk to the respective person and see if there is a fit with the company. One particularly awkward situation with hiring a “friend” is if they don’t work or are problematic. Now you are faced with the difficult choice of possibly having to fire said “friend”.
If the answer is no, to part 2, then we fly an advertisement for the position and we get to start the process of interviews (see our previous post on hiring new employees).
Once we have talked to everyone the hard part comes in, choosing who to hire. This can be made a tad easier if you are filling more than one position or if one of the candidates is a slam dunk. Sometimes the obvious choice really isn’t the best fit for the company, especially for a small company. For us, it comes down to the person’s qualifications, how they came across in the interview and our gut reactions to them. Once they are hired we integrate them into the company.
We choose to have all our employees become familiar with our products and to help in the various processes in making the various Spirits. That way when they talk to people about what they are tasting they can make statements like “We do it this way” or “I did this and that” instead of “They do something but I have been told that…” Being intimately familiar with the products and processes is important to us and to our customers.
We will keep hiring people until we can’t keep up with production and then we will start buying new equipment. The reasoning behind this is 1: we don’t have the money to burn and 2: we have heard too many stories of business’ investing heavily in equipment first, straining their resources, and then searching for customers to fill the gap only to find out that there are none or only a few and they end up closing their doors. That is definitely not my idea of how to run a business. Our philosophy has always been “Slow and steady (growth) wins the race”. I guess I should add being frugal to the quote but you get my drift.