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Strategic Hiring: When Should Small Business Owners Expand Their Team?

As a people operations-focused company, we're often asked, "When is a good time to hire for a small business?" While we'd love to provide a generic answer that’s applicable to any and every small business, the reality involves so much more.

Understanding Your Business Seasons

First and foremost, it's important to understand the seasons of your business. Knowing when your busy periods end and slow periods begin is essential. This insight allows you to piece together a long-term hiring plan that aligns with your business cycles.

Identifying the Need to Hire

Next, consider why you need to hire. Are you experiencing rapid growth? Are you looking to delegate tasks to focus on core business activities? What specific role are you aiming to fill? Ideally, we would suggest small businesses hire in this order: 1. sales, 2. installers, 3. admin. However, every business is unique, and your needs may vary. Clarifying your reasons beforehand will benefit you significantly in the long run. 

Financial Preparedness

Ensure you have at least three months' salary saved for the position you're hiring for. Consider location when determining salary levels and aim to attract top talent by offering competitive compensation. 

Timing Your Hiring Process

Contrary to what you might expect, the best time to hire isn't during periods of rapid growth. Ironically, it's during downtime or slow periods. Here’s why:

After having saved for at least 3 months of salary, you’ll need at least 90 days to:

  • Create an eye catching job ad

  • Interview candidates

  • Select the ideal candidate

  • Make an offer

  • Wait for the candidate's decision to accept said offer

  • Onboard new hire

  • Train new hire

You'll manage this alongside your regular responsibilities, so having a clear schedule is vital. The hiring process isn’t to be rushed. Take your time to ensure level headed, decision making. Oftentimes, we see small businesses struggle due to a knee jerk reaction the owner had, causing a domino effect on employees. You want to make sure you have dedicated time to prevent avoidable mistakes

The Importance of Planning

The ideal time to hire depends on where you are in your business journey and your reasons for hiring. You can't focus on finding the right fit while managing sudden growth. You need undivided attention to dedicate time to the hiring process.

Avoiding the Cost of a Mismatch

The cost of a mis-hire can be upwards of $55,000. That's a significant mistake that small businesses can avoid with thorough planning, sufficient savings, and a dedicated approach to hiring.

In summary, the best time to hire is when you can give the process your full attention and plan carefully for your business's unique needs.

Unsure where to get started? Behind the Design can help. Head over to and level up with a group of professionals excited to see your small business shine. 

Are you following Behind the Design on social media? Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for more tips and tricks of the trade!

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