Getting Good People

Tony has a couple of small businesses and wonders how to expand them without people stealing his ideas. Dave tells him how to avoid the two biggest hiring traps in small business.

QUESTION: Tony in Mississippi has a couple of small businesses and wonders how to expand them without people stealing his ideas. It involves hiring the right people, and Dave tells him how to avoid the two biggest traps in bringing people on to your small business.

ANSWER: I think you do a couple of things. One is to avoid the number- one mistake that most businesses make when hiring, and that’s to not take enough time. You need to interview these people several times before you hire them.

Around my office, we meet with people several times, talk to them, see them in different settings, meet them for coffee, that kind of stuff. We don’t just meet someone for 30 minutes and hire them, ever. We don’t interview someone twice and hire them, ever. They go through the ringer to be on our team, because it hurts too much to bring someone into your family and then have to kick them out because they were twerps.

You can find good people if you’re paying decent and you’re giving them a decent opportunity to make some money, so take your time in hiring. Do do four or five interviews, and the smartest part of that is the last interview where you and your spouse take that person and their spouse (if they are married) out to dinner just to discuss business and get to know their spouse, and let your spouse get to meet this person and know them.

Your wife has the ability to smell a rat a mile away. Let her use that discernment that God gave her to help you decide if you’re about to hire a stinker. Good hiring is going to solve a lot of this.

The second thing you can do is include the hired person in the profitability of their location. If they are going to be on a site separate from you, selling for you, I’ll give them base pay plus a percentage of profits from that area.

You could try stuff like a no-compete clause in the contract, but you’ll spend all your money in court trying to enforce that if they actually do it. I’d put together that document anyway. Spend some money on an attorney to make sure the document says the process you use is business proprietary, meaning you own the rights to this process and they agree to not compete with you or use this process anywhere else. That’s not to say I wouldn’t help someone or bless them to start their own small business, but don’t come in here and be a thief.

The last step is this: Don’t allow them to have a closer relationship with the location and the contacts than you have. Make sure everyone at all times understands that you’re the man. If you are dealing with a lease on that end or a relationship somewhere, you are the one who makes and maintains the contact and negotiates the deal there, then your person goes over there and operates.

But you can eliminate a lot of the junk with a good hiring procedure. Slow down and get good people to work for you.