On Thursday, November 14th, Rosewood Founder & CEO, Deanna Simone spoke at the annual Entrepreneurs in Residence by the Aurora Public Library. The event invites 4 local entrepreneurs/small business owners to share their personal stories of entrepreneurship and then form a panel to answer attendees’ questions and share tips for growing your team.
Question #1: What Would You Tell Your Past Self About Your Business?
The questions were great! Deanna’s personal favourite was, “If you could go back in time and tell your entrepreneurial self something about your business, what would it be?” What a great question!
Deanna’s answer was, “I would go back and tell myself that you don’t have to do this alone. Asking for help and support is NOT a weakness. That being said, I would have encouraged myself to hire staff/subcontractors sooner. I waited 3 years into my business to hire someone, and I wish I had done it sooner!”.
She went on to say that “growing your business can be a daunting concept. Not only are you giving up control of your “baby”, but you have to spend time to find the right people. Practice your interviewing skills and know what values you are looking for in potential teammates”.
Question #2: How Did You Know It Was Time to Hire Someone?
One question was directed specifically at Deanna, “How did you know it was time to hire someone?”. My response was firstly, there were many signs and I wish I had done it sooner! I was overworked, overwhelmed and making way too many sacrifices. I remember pulling out my laptop after Thanksgiving dinner and working while eating pumpkin pie, or working until 1am Christmas morning so that I could have a few hours off the next day for Christmas dinner. There was a time I was wanting to quit because it was too much.
And then I read the book, Clockwork – How to Make Your Business Run Itself by Mike Michalowitz. It changed my life. It helped me realize that my time was better spent on certain areas. When I broke down the different tasks and responsibilities, it became clear where my time was best spent and what items could be delegated to someone else. It also taught me about delegation, which is such a skill (but I’ll keep this for another time).
Since then, I’ve never looked back and we continue on with managed growth!
Tips for Growing Your Team
Since then Rosewood now has a solid team of three internal members, and a looser structure built up of several subcontractors who specialize in their individual areas. While there have certainly been setbacks, we wouldn’t trade it for anything. The team members we have now are the “A” team, and set the bar for attracting future talent with shared values.
Setting Your Organizational Values
My favourite saying is, “You can’t teach personality”. It’s so true! So instead of focusing on a set skill-set, I look for candidates who have the following traits:
- Eagerness to improve the skills they already possess
- Willingness to learn
- Exceptional communication skills (as this is the Queen Bee Role of Rosewood as an organization)
- Aptitude for technology (while not a personality trait, they should have a solid foundation in technical aptitude in order to build their skills)
As you can see from the list above, only one item has to do with technical skills. While this may sound bizarre coming from a technical business, if they have a solid technical foundation and an aptitude for learning – I can teach them anything. This is partially because one of my strengths (and favourite things to do) is teach!
The Rosewood team now is exceptional. They bring in such an array of skills and foster a supportive environment. Although we’re subcontractor-based, we work as a team and foster a company culture together.
If you weren’t able to make it to the event, we’ve got you covered! Click here to watch Deanna’s presentation.