Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal recently explained why most start-ups should forget much buzzed about big data and focus on plain, old data instead.Pardon the pun, but this past year big data was huge.Nearly every media outlet ran something on the promise of crunching vast amounts of data, including Inc. Small business owners have taken notice. A survey from Harris Interactive a few months back found that 76% of firms polled believe big data is an opportunity for their business.The only problem: these companies can't even agree on what "big data" means." For 28% it means "massive growth of transaction data." But 24% think it refers to new technologies for managing massive data, and 19% define it as the 'requirement to store and archive data for regulatory compliance,'" according to the survey.What does that boil down to? Big data holds lots of promise, sure, but for small businesses, realizing the benefits of this trend may still be pretty far out of reach. So should the average founder simply throw up their hands and click along to the next article whenever they read yet another headline about how they need to be using more data to run their business
Stories about giant companies with deep pockets make for fun reading. But the truth is that not every firm can afford to provide employees with profit sharing options or on-site child care.
Most employers live in a different reality: one where every dollar counts and the name of the game is making the biggest impact possible with the most economical use of resources.
Being lean isn’t just a virtue—it’s central to success. This applies to head count, too.
But there can come a point when you can get a bit too lean. Sure, investing in extra staff is expensive, but sometimes not investing in new staff can be even more costly because doing too much with too little can damage your business.
Here are five signs to help you identify when it’s time to invest in people.
1. Beware the signs of burnout
Working hard is great. But be careful that you’re not pushing people past their limits.
If team members keep telling you that it’s difficult (or impossible) to get all their work done, that’s a warning sign of too many responsibilities and not enough people to complete them.
Pay attention to nonverbal cues, too.
Have you noticed an uptick in the number of projects that aren’t getting finished? Are too many of them taking too long to execute? Is it tough for your team to set—and stick to—goals? Do ordinarily cheerful people seem stressed and irritable?
All these could be signs of burnout. If it’s not dealt with, your employees might leave, increasing the pressure on those who remain and making your staffing situation even more problematic.
2. In a management vacuum, no one can hear you scream
Do you feel like you’re constantly fielding questions and approving requests on matters both big and small? You know you’ve hired good people, so why do they keep asking you about every little thing?
Well, they probably need more oversight, training and support than you alone have time to provide. And if you can’t do it all, then it could be time to hire.
A strategic management hire can make a team function better. By putting someone in place to keep an eye on processes and handle all those day-to-day questions and decisions, your team will be freed up to contribute more.
They’re not the only ones who will benefit. Filling the vacuum will mean less stress for you and more time to focus on the crucial strategic tasks related to running your business. You’ll free yourself up to concentrate on the big picture.
3. Saving money is costing you money
Sometimes you can pinch a few too many pennies; and sometimes waiting too long to hire (or not hiring at all) can wind up costing you money.
Let’s say you’re seeing an increase in overtime pay, or you have scheduling gaps and rely on the same few people to fill shifts—those are signs of an under-resourced team.
Overtime can get costly, and it’s definitely not a long-term solution. In fact, it can increase the risk of burnout among overextended employees, who might seek a better work-life balance elsewhere.
Losing an employee doesn’t just mean that you’re out the investment you put into…