Whether you’re hiring for the first time or expanding your force, you might not be sure when it’s the right time for your business to expand. You might be put off by the prospect of greater overhead, but growth can't only apply to your revenue. Growing your business from a small, sole proprietorship into a larger operation requires hiring.

Signs That You Should Hire

One way to figure out if you should hire or not is to look for these signs of expansion:

  • There is more work than you or your current employees can handle.
  • Business receipts have picked up markedly and you’re wondering how you’re going to be able to handle the new business.
  • You find yourself wasting a lot of time with administrative and clerical duties rather than tending to the operation of your business.
  • Your business is moving into new areas that require your attention. You can hire someone to do what you used to do while you work on the new, expanded areas of your business.
  • Your business and work area aren’t as organized as you would like to be and you want to bring someone else in.
  • The economy is on an upswing and you expect your increased levels of business to continue for the foreseeable future.
  • You’re debuting a new product line or service.

Just because all of these signs are in place doesn't mean you are required to hire. The decision is ultimately up to you, based on whether you have the money and the business climate seems conducive to growth.

Signs That You Shouldn’t Hire

Here are some signs indicating that now just isn’t the time for your business to expand its payroll:

  • The broader economy is in a period of contraction.
  • You often find yourself searching for things to do, despite an increase in revenues or business.
  • You have new tasks to do, and you have the time and expertise to complete them yourself.
  • The money just isn’t in the budget, no matter how you look at it.
  • You have more work than you can currently handle but you aren’t sure who would be able to take a significant portion of it off of your hands.
  • You’ve just gotten through a seasonal boom (for example, Christmas retail sales) and may be entering a slower period for your business.
  • You can handle the extra work on your plate through better organization and time management.

When To Hire, When Not To Hire

Knowing when to hire and when not to hire is crucial for the proper growth of your business. Choose to grow at the wrong time and you’ve got increased overhead with little to show for it. Choose to grow at the right time and your investment in your business will quickly pay for itself with greater productivity and efficiency.

Consider making two lists of the signs that you should hire, and the signs that you shouldn't, then weigh them against each other. Remember that knowing when to grow is an art, not a science. By paying attention to the signs you can create a balance sheet that will tell you what the right move is for your business at this time.

Photo courtesy of deVos via Flickr