Small business owners are used to wearing many hats. In addition to running your business, you’re often juggling the responsibilities of an accountant, an HR professional, and a social media manager — not to mention, you’re also taking the initial lead on all of the marketing efforts for your studio.
Of course, once things are up and running, it opens you up to hire on professionals in each of these areas to help manage your business. But when exactly is the right time to hire a dedicated marketing pro to help your studio grow and expand?
We asked a few experts for their take on when to hire someone on full-time — and how to find the right fit for your small business. Read on for what they had to say.
WHEN YOU HAVE THE FINANCIAL CAPABILITY
While most experts agree that there’s never a bad time to bring in a marketing professional to help grow your business, one key factor to keep in mind is whether or not you have the necessary funds to sustain the marketing efforts you’re seeking. And it’s not just the salary of a full time marketing pro that you’re looking at. “Small business owners often don’t grasp the full spectrum of costs that are associated with digital marketing,” explains Dave Rohrer, Online Marketing Expert and founder of Northside Metrics. “Digital marketing includes a web developer to make changes to their site, a writer to produce content, emails and social media posts, plus the initial setup costs and time for all the software and tools needed,” he explains. “While I don’t believe there is a wrong or right time to start looking at a hiring an internal or external marketing resource, the additional costs for tools, software, and online and offline marketing spend need to be included on top of the salary(ies) when planning out the budget. So if you’re thinking of hiring someone, make sure you have the budget for them to fully execute on all the projects they will be working on.”
WHEN YOUR GOAL IS MORE REVENUE
Of course, there are a lot of other goals that a marketing professional can help you achieve. But as Jeff Kear, marketing expert and owner of Planning Pod points out, small businesses don’t often have the luxury of spending money on efforts that aren’t immediately tied to an increase in revenue. “Small businesses have less room for failure than larger ones, so any goals should be directly tied to revenue,” he says. “As such, any marketing hire’s first objective should be to increase revenues through direct sales and leads. Also, within the first 12-18 months, the marketer needs to at least replace their income with the additional revenues they bring in.”
WHEN YOU’RE ABLE TO IDENTIFY WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
The more history you have of marketing efforts you’ve tried on your own that you’re able to draw insights from, the better positioned the professional you bring on to take over will be. “I would recommend that you look back at the history of your company and document what you have tried, what has worked, what has failed, and then give some details around the how, who, why and when for those projects,” says Rohrer. “Doing this will help give direction on what skill set you will need in your marketing person, and the types of projects they are likely to start with.” As for the most important things to cover, Rohrer recommends covering what you currently do in order to retain customers, as well as in terms of attracting new leads and business. “Document as much as you can and then focus in on where you will see the most ROI with an additional person working with a budget,” he says.
WHEN YOU CAN IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU’RE LOOKING TO HIRE
The specific needs you’ll want met when hiring a marketing professional will vary from studio to studio. But Rohrer does have some insightful suggestions to keep in mind when searching for the right fit. “For a startup or a small business that is looking to hire that first marketing team member, I would highly recommend they find someone with the ability to do the strategic stuff, but also the implementation as they likely will be wearing all of the hats,” he says. “If the goal is to offload the marketing task onto someone to free up the owner, make sure that the person you hire is able to take a goal and run with it. That means the owner will need to trust them and not micromanage but that person also needs to be able to quickly take goals and projects and bring them to life.”