A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with Sarah, who with her partner runs a small Surveying business in a country town near Perth. Sarah thought Human Resource Management (HR) was an unnecessary concept in the first two years of the life of a micro or small enterprise. The primary concerns that keep the owners awake at night are cash flow and marketing. If they can get over these hurdles, only then they think of scaling up, hiring people and considering HR.
That got me thinking that probably in the minds of most small business owners HR is only about hiring and firing people, a corporate function that starts when the owner is ready to recruit an employee.
Actually, there is nothing to stop even a solo entrepreneur to use simple HR functions to improve their own productivity. Here are some examples.
Set up your performance review system
1. Make a list of your ‘must achieve’ goals for the next three/six/twelve months. Ideally they shouldn’t be less than three and more than six
2. Make a list of tasks that need to be done to achieve each of these goals
3. Set firm timelines by which every task needs to be done
4. Set up a monitoring method. At regular intervals you will review the tasks and check whether they are driving you towards your goals and adjust accordingly
Improve your skill sets
1 .Ensure that you not only have technical skills but also business management skills required for a business owner
2. The spectrum of skills can stretch from simple (such as presentation) to highly complex (budgeting for next financial year)
3. Determine which skills you ‘must obtain’ in the next twelve months
4. Invest in yourself and learn those skills
Set up business systems and processes
1. Start building up standard practices for performing regular tasks
2. Rigorously follow these practices and watch how they gradually minimise your time to do them
3. If you are delegating a task to someone else (even a temporary employee), it will be easy for you to explain the process and them to pick up the workflow