125 Best Resources for Building the Right Team for Your Small Business (Updated for 2017)

If you are working 13 hours a day, struggling to get things done, or just not enjoying what you are working on, it most likely means it's time for you to hire someone.

Many business owners, however, hesitate to take that step. There are usually three reasons:

  • They think the "doing everything by myself" mentality is a great asset.

  • They don't have the money, or don't think they do.

  • They worry others would mess things up.

If any of these applies to you, here are a few things to know:

  • The mentality of doing everything all by yourself is detrimental to your business (and life). If you are working on 10 things at the same time, most of the work just wouldn't be good. In addition, when you focus too much on low priority tasks, the more important aspects of your business would suffer. Few things can hinder your business more than this mentality.

  • You can start small and hire part-time contractors. In fact, you can hire professionals for as little as $3 or $4 per hour on outsourcing sites.

  • Great leaders have to learn to delegate. You just need to hire competent people, and spend a tremendous amount of effort training them.

How to overcome your fear of hiring your first employee? When should you start hiring? Who and how to hire? The following resources can help you answer these questions so you are better prepared to run a sustainable business.

Changing the "Doing Everything by Myself" Mentality

To build a successful and sustainable business, the first step you need to take is to change the "doing it yourself" mentality. The following books and articles can help you move towards that goal.

1. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

By Michael E. Gerber

E-Myth stands for Entrepreneur-Myth. In this underground bestseller, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

One of Gerber's most important observations is that most small businesses are founded by "technicians"—people who are skilled at and enjoy doing something. For example, a technology company started by a computer programmer, a plumbing business started by a plumber, or a law firm founded by a lawyer. When technicians run their business, however, they tend to focus on their technical skill while ignoring the business aspect of the, well, business. They soon find themselves overworked, depressed, and failing at running their company. These technicians don't really own a business. They just own a job with a company name attached to it.

The author argues that every business owner needs to be an entrepreneur, a manager, and a technician at the same time for the business to thrive. I actually somewhat disagree with the author on this point. I agree that a business owner needs to know about entrepreneurship and management. However, it's nearly impossible for someone to be simultaneously good at all of these three things at the same time. My argument is that a smart business owner should hire people, or find partners, to compensate for their lack of experience in business and management.

Nonetheless, The E-Myth is a true classic that can help you understand why most small businesses fail, and what needs to change to achieve success. Hint: the answer lies in building the right team for your business.


2. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

By Timothy Ferriss

In this runaway bestseller, Tim Ferriss challenges the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan. There is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

  • How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week

  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want

  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs

  • How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist

  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

This book is all about changing our mindset of "working harder" to "working smarter". Grab this book now and start your own 4-hour workweek. (Well, maybe start with 50-hour work week first, and then work down to 40, 30, and then 10.)

When to Hire

If you are still not sure whether it's time to hire people, let the following articles guide your decision.

Who to Hire

Should you hire for skills or talent? Is experience more important than potential? Where does attitude fit in the equation? The following books and articles can help address these questions.


1. Who

By Geoff Smart and Randy Street

In this New York Times Bestseller, Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls “the single biggest problem in business today”: unsuccessful hiring. The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours. This statistic becomes even more startling when you consider that the typical hiring success rate of managers is only 50 percent.

The silver lining is that “who” problems are easily preventable. Based on more than 1,300 hours of interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs, Who presents Smart and Street’s A Method for Hiring. Refined through the largest research study of its kind ever undertaken, the A Method stresses fundamental elements that anyone can implement–and it has a 90 percent success rate.

Whether you’re a member of a board of directors looking for a new CEO, the owner of a small business searching for the right people to make your company grow, or a parent in need of a new babysitter, it’s all about Who. Inside you’ll learn how to

  • avoid common “voodoo hiring” methods• define the outcomes you seek

  • generate a flow of A Players to your team–by implementing the #1 tactic used by successful businesspeople• ask the right interview questions to dramatically improve your ability to quickly distinguish an A Player from a B or C candidate

  • attract the person you want to hire, by emphasizing the points the candidate cares about most

In business, you are who you hire. In Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street offer simple, easy-to-follow steps that will put the right people in place for optimal success. A must-read if you want to avoid the costly mistake of hiring the wrong people.


2. Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude

By Mark Murphy

In a recent groundbreaking study, the training firm Leadership IQ found that 46 percent of all new hires fail within their first 18 months. But here’s the real shocker: 89 percent fail for attitudinal reasons―not skills.

Most hiring managers are getting it wrong. Of course skills are important, but a particular skill set is about the easiest thing to test in an interview. Although much harder to recognize, attitude should be your number-one focus during the hiring process. Don’t suffer from poor chemistry―even one employee with the wrong attitude could cause years of suffering for your other employees and customers.

Whether you’re hiring new employees, choosing existing employees for a new team, or upgrading your current talent pool, you need people with the right attitude!

Attitude is what makes employees give 100 percent effort and turns customers into raving fans. Attitude sets your company apart from the competition.

In Hiring for Attitude, top leadership strategist Mark Murphy shows you:

  • The five biggest reasons why new hires fail

  • Two quick and easy tests to discover the attitudinal characteristics that you need for your unique culture

  • The five-part interview question that gets candidates to reveal the truth about what their last boss really thinks of them

  • Where great companies really find their best candidates

  • The six words most interviewers add to the end of behavioral interview questions that destroy their effectiveness

Hiring for Attitude includes case studies from Microchip, Southwest Airlines, The Ritz-Carlton, Google, and other companies that drive great results by hiring for attitude.

Whether your company is small or big, highly social or hyper-competitive, fl at or hierarchical, every person on your payroll has to fit your culture. You can’t afford to hire blind. You need to be Hiring for Attitude.


3. It's All About Who You Hire, How They Lead...and Other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leader

By Morton Mandel

American business leader, entrepreneur, and noted philanthropist Morton Mandel shares lessons he gleaned from co-founding and leading, along with his brothers Jack and Joe, Premier Industrial Corporation, a major industrial parts and electronic components manufacturer and distributor. Now for readers everywhere who are interested in studying leadership development, It’s All About Who describes Mandel’s approach to finding, recruiting and cultivating “A” players.

In his book, Mandel shares his fine-tuned set of practices to develop leaders that have proven to deliver dramatically better results. Containing sixteen core sections, “It’s All About Who” covers key strategic topics from “Building a Rich, Deep, and Ethical Culture” to “Killing Yourself for Your Customer” to “Using Business Ideas in the Social Sector.”

What makes Mandel unique is his selflessness in pursuing a life of purpose. Mandel has lived in two worlds: the world of profit and the world of social impact. Even as chairman and CEO of a New York Stock Exchange company for more than three decades, he spent as much as a third of his time in the social sector.

Mandel has personally founded more than a dozen non-profit organizations. His deep-seated passion is evident in the mission of his Foundation: “To invest in people with the values, ability and passion to change the world.”


How to Hire

If you know what kind of people you should hire, the next step is to learn the "how" of hiring the right people. Here are the best books and articles to get you started.


1. The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired

By Lou Adler

This book helps hiring managers and recruiters find and hire more top-notch people for any job, from entry-level to senior executive. Using the two-question Performance-based Interview, anyone who is involved in assessing candidates will quickly be more effective and more accurate. Just as important, it will help job-seekers find better jobs by giving them an inside view of how most companies look for, assess and hire new employees. Hiring top talent starts by clarifying expectations up front. This has been shown to be the primary reason people perform at peak levels. This book is based on the Performance-based Hiring process Lou Adler introduced in his Amazon bestseller, Hire With Your Head. Performance-based Hiring is now used around the world in small and large organizations and companies. However, it is a non-traditional hiring process. Performance-based job descriptions--which we call performance profiles--replace the commonly used skills- and experience-based job descriptions. Instead of emotions, feelings and biases, evidence is used to assess competency and fit within the organization. Rather than weed out people who don't posses some arbitrary list of prerequisites, compelling career messages are used to excite and attract the best.


2. Hire With Your Head: Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Great Teams, 3rd Edition (2007)

By Lou Adler

Lou Adler's Performance-Based Hiring uses performance-based job descriptions, which replace the commonly used skills and experience-based job descriptions, have proven to be more effective in finding the right talents. This version is updated with new case studies and more coverage of the impact and importance of the Internet in the hiring process.