Tim Erlach began Erlach Computer Consulting (ECC) in 1998. The company provides a full suite of IT services to small and medium-sized businesses. After more than a decade, Tim reached a point where his company’s growing pains were negatively impacting the bottom line. Transitioning from a sole proprietorship to a bigger enterprise meant he needed to share the sales responsibility while focusing on managing the broader business. But by attempting to do both, each task suffered.
As a sole proprietor, Tim always handled the sales. Understandably, he had no process for hiring or developing a sales person. “It’s hard as a small business owner,” explains Erlach. “I didn’t have a procedural manual for new hires. Really, I didn’t know what to expect from a candidate or how to get them started. I’d only hired technicians to work in the field. Growing the company had been my responsibility, but I plateaued. I needed direction.”
Erlach met Alice Heiman through local networking events. “Alice appealed to me because she herself is a small business owner and knows what it takes to have multiple roles in the company,” Erlach said. “Her energy and enthusiasm inspired me. She instilled in me the confidence that I could successfully grow my company provided I had some proactive guidance.” Alice evaluated Erlach Computer Consulting and determined he lacked two major components to achieve his desired results:
Alice developed an interview process that established a clear job description and outlined expectations for the candidates. Once they found the right person for the job, she customized a two-week plan that included a daily calendar for the new hire. The procedure clearly outlined meaningful tasks for the employee so they weren’t left wondering what to do if Tim or their supervisor was absent. “Alice stepped in as manager and created an accountability procedure,” said Erlach. The process indicated who the person should shadow during which time slot of the day and what should be accomplished. Ultimately, the new hire spent time with every department which fostered a deep understanding of the company culture. “At the end of every business day for the first two weeks, the new employee called Alice to give a daily report. This helped them know for sure they were staying on track.”
Next, Alice established the clearly defined “Success Factors” tool kit. Success Factors are measurement tools that establish what the new person should expect to accomplish from day one to day 90. This direction created a metric of tangible, concrete goals. Tim says the Success Factors kept both he and his employee from “spinning their wheels.”
“Alice’s input prevented me from over-thinking the sales training. I could regularly check in with my team member and see how well he was meeting pre-determined expectations.”
Morale at Erlach Computer Consulting immediately increased. Tim reports that his team appreciates the specific direction. To date, ECC has implemented Alice’s program with two employees and is continuing its implementation to further build momentum. The process is enabling everyone to self-start more easily and better acclimate to one another. Just as importantly: It gives Tim the time to focus on growing his business.
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