line-of-people

Since it’s rare in the startup world to work at one company for more than two or three years, entrepreneurs must prepare for the inevitable turnover of their employees and contractors. I’ve learned that having a pipeline of people is as important as having a pipeline of sales.

How to Build the Pipeline

Company leaders should always be on the lookout for talented people. Once you find a potential future hire, get to know them, even if they are not looking for a job. Importantly, keep in touch with them. Take them out for coffee.

A month ago I met a talented young designer named Joaquin Jutt at a Brooklyn concert’s after party. We had coffee later that week but left with no specific plans to work together. However, just this week I reached a mild crisis when both of my designers disappeared for different reasons,  so I called Joaquin. He’s now on board with the Power 20 project. The process was easy because of our personal connection. Instead of enduring a painful hiring process, I recruited this new designer by text message.

Inconsistent Work Leads To Inconsistent Relationships

Freelancers and employees are less likely to stay with you if your momentum (measured by the amount of work you expect of them) wanes or becomes inconsistent. This isn’t because they don’t like you, but because pauses in work are poison to the freelancer’s business model. Meanwhile, to the full time employee, dead time at the office signals a loss of business momentum, and no one wants to work on a sinking ship.

Manage Relationships by Managing Expectations

Giving employees and freelancers advanced warning about the schedule and pauses in work can help them plan. Doing so also builds the trust needed when work does eventually slow or halt. Without that trust, once you lose an employee or contractor, you’ll never get them back.

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