5 questions to ask before hiring a manager

January 5, 2017

This post is part of our “5 questions” series, helping merchants ask the right questions before making key business decisions. Read the entire series here on the Clover blog, and explore for more better business tips and tactics.

Being an entrepreneur is more than a full-time job. It’s a passion. And it can easily take over your life. The idea of hiring someone to take some of the day-to-day tasks off your plate may be appealing.

But hiring a manager for your small business is a big step. It’s a new expense, of course, but it also means trusting someone else to be at the front lines of your business. Before you make such a crucial hire, it’s worth stepping back and asking yourself if this is really the right move at the right time.

Here are five questions to ask before you hire a manager:

1. Do we have multiple locations?

If you’ve got several locations, or if you’re thinking of expanding, hiring a manager makes a lot of sense. You can only be in one place at a time, after all. Employees need a consistent leadership presence to guide them, and someone to turn to when they run into problems. You don’t want staff texting you whenever they have a question! Customers also want someone they can talk to if things go wrong. Having an on-site manager gives everyone the reassurance that someone (in the building) is in charge.

2. Am I a good manager?

This business may be your baby, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best person to train and manage employees. Maybe you’re more of a big-picture kind of person. Maybe you’re a creative designer, a great planner, or you have a strong intuitive sense of what customers are looking for, but managing people just isn’t one of your strengths. It’s OK! Not everyone can be a great boss. If you aren’t, you can still hire someone who is.

3. Am I a part-time entrepreneur?

If this business is still your side hustle, it’s worth thinking through when you actually want to go full-time. Do you want to dive right into day-to-day management, or would you rather hire someone to handle the details of keeping the business running and hold onto that outside income stream for a while?

4. Am I needed elsewhere?

As a founder, you may need to spend a lot of your time meeting with potential distributors, vendors, or partners. You’re the visionary here; your time is the most valuable asset you have. Your time may be better spent making those crucial connections than managing employees or even connecting with customers. A manager could help free you up to spend your time more strategically.

5. How does a manager fit into my strategic plan?

A lot of business owners just wait until they can afford more staff—then as soon as they can pay a manager, they hire one. But ideally, a manager should help you grow your income, taking day-to-day responsibilities off your to-do list so that you can focus on the high-priority items that will help you grow. Of course, you can’t hire staff if you can’t pay them. But hiring a manager should be a strategic, as well as financial, decision. Just having the cash in the bank isn’t enough of a reason to hire, and the fact that a new hire would be a financial stretch isn’t necessarily enough of a reason to wait.

The key to making a big new hire work out for your business is always going to be finding the right person. But before you start the work of searching for a new manager, it makes sense to stop and ask yourself how this person fits into your overall plans for your business and for your work-life balance.

[image: Help wanted sign by Andreas Klinke Johannsen on flickr]

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