Hiring a manager is one of the most important things for a business owner.
A manager takes some of the responsibility from you. Because of that, you're able to handle more tasks and hopefully grow the business.
It seems like it should be an easy thing, hiring a manager. And it is pretty basic. But there are nuances to the process.
Here are some things I've experienced and observed in how to find the right person to bring on as your manager.
1. Document Tasks & Processes
This is a big one. You want to do it before you even start looking for a manager. Well, I guess you could hire someone and kind of go with the flow and figure it out as you go. That can probably work.
But it'll be much easier if you document what you do everyday. It will be helpful for you to better understand your business, for one. But it will also allow you to better communicate what you need the manager to do each day, week, etc.
Then document how you do things. This can be a guideline for how the manager does things. But it's also a good idea to give them autonomy after trust has been established to discover better ways for doing the same tasks.
2. Ask Your Network for Referrals
This is the biggest tip.
You can write up a job ad. You can have people apply. You can interview them. But no matter how good you are at that process it's still a toss up.
Obviously anything is a toss up, but you're looking to put the odds as much in your favor as possible. Especially if you're a small business or startup. The cost of failure could be so high that you need to close up shop.
Ask your network for recommendations on someone to hire. Start calling or emailing people you know. Especially those in business. Tell them you're hiring a manager. Ask them if they know anybody that might be a good fit.
When you get a recommendation, you're taking advantage of the relationship that your connection has already built with the potential candidate.
For example, when I needed a manager, I asked someone I knew. Another manager that I had worked with as a client. They recommended a friend of theirs. Another manager. Someone they had known for many years.
You can't gather that kind of trust from an interview process.
3. Employee vs. Contractor
The nature of your small business will determine if you need to hire a contractor or an employee. If you can work remotely, you might be able to hire a contractor. If you don't need a full-time manager you might be looking for a contractor. Someone that may have a couple clients that they work for in management. Handling the same types of tasks.
4. Performance Measurement
Having a specific and simple way to measure the success of your business is good for you as the owner. It gives you something to shoot for. And it's also good to have this for your manager and really for your entire team.
For example, you've probably seen the message on McDonald's used to post the number of hamburgers sold on their signs. Essentially, the measurement for success at the company was the number of hamburgers sold. If any employee, from the CEO to the cashier, knew that they were doing a good thing if they sold more hamburgers.
Another example, mechanic shops often measure their success by profit per square foot. Their shop can obviously only be so big so they maximize how much that space can earn them. And if they want to move to a bigger space they know what to expect in terms of profit increase.
Figure out what your measurement is and make sure your manager knows it. This will allow them to be able to make decisions and it will allow you and them to measure performance.
The final decision is compensation. It'll depend on employee vs. contractor. It'll depend on your industry. It'll sometimes depend on your location. If it's a contractor situation it could also depend on the manager's location. They may be able to work remotely and their standard of living may require more or less than yours.
The only thing you can do is figure out what you can afford and what seems to be the going rate for your situation. You can usually google and find some info. You can also chat with your business network.
Then after the person has worked for you for awhile it's also important to understand the value of the manager to your business. What would happen if they left. The work required to find someone else.
This helps you determine future compensation.
Bonus: You work for them
One final little tip. Take the approach that you work for your manager. It's your job to facilitate their success. The way to look at it is that when they are successful that you are successful.
Schedule regular times to check-in to see what is going on with them. Really dig to see if they have any frustrations. If they do, work to figure out a way to make it better.
It's easy for a manager to get into habits of doing things that frustrate them because they don't want to complain to the boss. But it's your job to make sure that they're comfortable coming to you when things need to change.