Build a Supportive Ecommerce Team

When it comes time to create a team for your business, how do you go about it? How do you hire people who are going to build the business and support you and each other in the process? These are just a few of the many questions I often hear business owners have when they are getting ready to grow. In this article, let’s answer some questions about the hiring process and some guidelines to follow to build a supportive Ecommerce Team!


How do you know you need more people?

As an ecommerce entrepreneur, I’m sure you made the decision to go into business with your lifestyle in mind. Are you living that lifestyle? In some cases, hiring help, whether a virtual contractor or employee, can move you toward that lifestyle. Sometimes, you can contract out certain services to a provider, like hiring a bookkeeping firm. The key is to understand what you love to do and excel at, and focus on those activities. You can then look for help with the things that you hate to do and don’t do well or those things that you can do but you don’t particularly enjoy. To me it always comes back to living the life you want to create.

When can you afford to hire more people?

Whether you are ready to hire your first or your twenty-first employee, the process is the same. Do you have the income to afford the new employee or contractor? We have a very simple process in the Profit First Cash Flow system to plan for new hires. First determine how much you expect to pay for this person each month. You may need to talk with other businesses to learn what they pay for similar types of duties. Once you know that monthly amount, you will move that amount into a dedicated bank account called New Hires. If your income comes in twice a month from Amazon, move ½ of the anticipated salary into the new hire account each time you receive a payout. By dedicating money for this “new employee” before they even are hired, you are demonstrating that you can afford a new employee. I recommend that you continue this process for three months.  If you have not had to pull money out, then you are in a good position to hire. You also have set aside a small fund to help cover the cost of training that employee because we all know that they don’t typically contribute 100 percent on their first day or week or even month. Remember too that part-time employees are a great way to start. You may find that you need two different skillsets, so look for two part-time employees that can do each job well. Then as you grow, they can grow in their time and duties along with your business.

What should you look for when hiring new people?

First how would the person fit into the culture of your organization. If it’s your first hire, then before you do interviews, consider your values for the business and important cultural norms you would like to build into your business. The way a person fits into your values and culture is always the first thing to consider. Next make sure you have a list of skills and tasks. Look at the experience a person has and how relevant it is to what you need. Consider if there are skill tests you can have the candidate take. We also like to get on a zoom call and watch the candidate manipulate a spreadsheet to demonstrate their proficiency since that is a critical skill in our work.

Why is hiring new people important? What can it add to the team and company?

As you grow your business, you will add additional functions that you may not be able to handle based on your available time, skills, or interests. Adding employees allows you to grow beyond your constraints. It also adds complexity, so consider your ultimate goal before taking that step.


How do you train team members to be leaders?

If your business is hiring its first few employees, you may not need them to be leaders. You are looking for them to be engaged and take ownership of their tasks and perform them well. They are really going to be extensions of you and the tasks you have performed. Leadership in the sense of managing key processes or people comes later when you have expanded your team. Many ecommerce businesses never need to add this level of management unless they are planning to be absentee owners.

How do you train your team to run without your guidance?

First, you train them to perform the task and on all the potential issues that may arise and how you have handled them in the past. However, you can never really train for every possible thing that may come up or go wrong. So, you want to ensure that they understand the goal of the process and that they buy into the values of the business. In this way, they can take their knowledge base and make a good decision in the new situation.

The key is to truly delegate and not require them to come back to you for every decision. Empower them to make decisions and when they do, support them, even if it’s not exactly how you would have done it. If there is a more efficient way for them to learn, you can teach that process after you appreciate them for taking the best step they knew to take. Also, ask them why they took that step. Very often they don’t have access to all the information you have, and there is an opportunity to improve the process in some way.

How do you train team members to support other team members?

Supporting others is not something you train on specifically. If you want a culture where team members support each other, then hire people who care about other people and buy into the overall mission of the business, so they look to contribute to the big picture not just their tasks.  When you interview, ask questions around this topic or look for ways they support their spouse or members of their church or service organizations. If they are willing to support in other environments, they will likely be supportive at work, if you have that type of culture.

Whether you’ve grown to max capacity or are just starting out by yourself, bookskeep has something for you! Reach out to the bookskeep team today!


Interested in Profit First?

profit first book If your ecommerce business isn’t where you’d like it to be in terms of profitability, check out my book, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers. It answers important questions about how to implement Profit First in an ecommerce business. Take control of your money and your business, and put Profit First to work for you!

You can also sign up for the Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers Online Course. As a Mastery Level, Certified Profit First Professional, I will teach you why Profit First works so well for ecommerce businesses and the particular challenges for businesses that have physical products requiring inventory management. You will learn how your behavior drives your money management habits for your business and how you can set up your business bank accounts to work with your habits.

Check out all our ecommerce accounting and profit advising services here!


Post Author Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi Thomason is founder and president of bookskeep, a U.S.-based accounting, bookkeeping, and advisory firm for ecommerce sellers worldwide. She has a passion for data analysis and process development. She uses that passion to educate her clients and help them structure their businesses to maximize profits.

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