Small business owners wear countless professional hats — especially during the startup stage and first few years of business. They routinely end up juggling everything from client work to marketing tasks to clerical duties. While many startup entrepreneurs consider this initial push a labor of love, it can also lead to stress and even burn-out. There are critical hires your small business needs to get to the next stage in growth.
If you’re ready to delegate some of what’s on your plate but aren’t quite financially prepared to invest in full-time, permanent employees, consider adding part-time independent contractors or consultants to your team. Here are the three most essential roles to fill during your first few years of business:
- Tech or software specialist: According to the National Small Business Association, 74% of business owners say that technology (and keeping up with new technology) is very important to the success of their company. However, 48% of small business owners handle tech support themselves. A skilled part-time tech or software specialist can take the burden of independently researching, selecting, and implementing tech solutions off your shoulders. This should be one of the first critical hires your small business needs. This person will fill a key infrastructure role at your growing business, providing ongoing tech support and helping to inform which storage software and cybersecurity solutions are best for your business.
You can use Upwork to find a part-time freelancer to support your business’s tech needs. This popular freelancing platform offers a free basic plan, with other pricing options available depending on your business’s needs. To find the best talent, Upwork recommends looking for freelancers with certain badges on their profiles, like “Top Rated,” “90% Job Success,” and “Rising Talent.”
- Bookkeeper: Solopreneurs and microbusinesses rarely need to hire a full-time certified accountant. Instead, SCORE, a U.S. Small Business Administration resource partner, recommends hiring a part-time bookkeeper “to help set up [your] accounting system and enter all the transactions, until business growth justifies a full-time position.” A part-time bookkeeper can oversee payroll, manage accounts payable and accounts receivable, prepare tax records, and more. Having a bookkeeper on-hand ensures fewer data entry mistakes, an easier tax season, and all-around less hunting for answers when a number seems out-of-place, says staffing firm Robert Half. You can hire for this role via freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr, or you can post your opening on the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers’ job board.
- Project manager: With so many moving pieces behind the scenes at your business, it’s critical to have a project manager on board to ensure the success of high-stakes initiatives and campaigns. More than two-thirds of businesses surveyed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 2018 reported using outsourced or contract project managers (68%). Project managers are able to take a step back, analyze what boxes need to be checked off in order for project goals to be met, identify potential limitations and risks, and set realistic timelines. They also help allocate resources effectively and keep projects within budget. (A project can be any initiative with a defined beginning and end that has a predetermined scope and resources.) You might not think of a PM as one of the critical hires your small business needs, but according to the same PMI survey, organizations that prioritize effective project management achieve significantly higher project success rates than those that do not (92%, versus 32%).
CoApt Projects provides temporary project management support on a project-by-project basis to guide your most important initiatives over the finish line. Our team consists of highly skilled and experienced project managers — all certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs). If this is your first time hiring a part-time or contract project manager and you’re feeling a little uncertain, we offer a no-risk trial period and a 100% quality guarantee. Request a CoApt project manager here.
We wish you the best of luck building out your small business dream team — and hope to be a part of your journey! We can help you find the critical hires your small business needs most! Like us on Facebook for more business resources and project management tips.