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The success of your business depends on your people - Part 1

This article first appeared on in May 2014

Part 1

(This article has been split into 4 parts. This includes tips 1 to 8).

The success of your business depends on the quality of your employees. Small businesses, especially, know that one bad hire can ruin their entire team's productivity. That’s why entrepreneurs obsess over hiring.

We've compiled a wee guidebook of hiring tips from the small-business owners honored on Capitol Hill during this year's National Small Business Week. Almost every respondent emphasized the importance of hiring employees who organically fit into corporate culture and who are passionate about the brand. Overall, personality trumps credentials when entrepreneurs are deciding who they want to bring onto their team.


Here’s a look at some of our favorite bits of advice. Responses have been gently edited for clarity and grammatical correctness.

1. Blake’s All Natural Foods
Entrepreneur: Chris Licata
Headquarters: Concord, N.H.
Hire people that genuinely believe in your mission and are passionate about your products.  This business has been in our family for four generations and it is so important to make sure the people we hire are a great cultural fit with our team.  It’s a given that everyone we consider for a position at Blake’s has the requisite background and experience for the job but we prioritize cultural fit over deeper experience every time

2. Janska, LLC
Entrepreneur: Jan Erickson, Owner, Founder & President; Jon Thomas, Co-Founder & Vice President
Headquarters: Colorado Springs, Colo.
The most important criteria for hiring are competency and fitting the company’s culture. The book Topgrading, written by Bradford Smart, recommends hiring only “A” players, and we agree. Bringing new employees into an organization really should be a thoughtful process and in some instances, finding the best candidate for a company can take some time. Most important, the candidate needs to be a good fit for the existing corporate culture so that they are able to understand and positively embrace all of the components that drive the business.

3. Fusion Hospitality
Entrepreneur: Bhupender "Bruce" Patel
Headquarters: Tupelo, Miss.
Always look for integrity. Often it is more important than experience.

4. Express Kitchens
Entrepreneur: Max Kothari
Headquarters: Hartford, Conn.
References from people I trust. Key ingredient is learning attitude. Everything else I can train. Either your DNA has it or not.

5. PARS Environmental, Inc.
Entrepreneur: Kiran K. Gill, President and CEO
Headquarters: Robbinsville, N. J.
In addition to having a strong resume and technical background, attitude is very important. If someone displays flexibility, willingness to learn new skill sets, and is a good team member, that is invaluable. Having talented employees can make or break your company.

6. High Plains Architects
Entrepreneurs: Randy and Janna Hafer
Headquarters: Billings, Mont.
“Fit” is everything.  Only hire people who share the values, passions and sense of humor of the firm.

7. Bleed Blue Tattoo and Piercing
Entrepreneur: Thomas Ray Conrett, aka Tommy Ray
Headquarters: Lexington, Ky.
I like employees with serving experience. They know how to hustle

8. Green Technologies
Entrepreneurs: Dr. Amir A. Varshovi and Marla K. Buchanan, JD
Headquarters: Gainesville, Fla.
Hire those who are passionate about what they do.

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