Academic Insights

One of the highlights of this year’s Renovators’ Roundtable will be a free seminar conducted by the Vancouver-based Breakthrough Academy. Here is the first of a three-part column on common mistakes that business owners make, contributed by Danny Kerr, a managing partner at the Breakthrough Academy.

Growing Your Business

Danny Kerr

Are you struggling to keep up with the day-to-day grind of running your business? Not to mention finding time to work on things that move your business forward?

I get it. I’ve been there myself and have seen it time and time again. Having built a multi-million-dollar home-service business and coached hundreds of other entrepreneurs, I understand the challenges you’re facing, and have also seen what it takes to get through it successfully. So what separates those who work 80-hour weeks to the point of burnout, and those who maintain balance while profitably growing their business to the next level? Here is a key mistake that successful entrepreneurs avoid at all costs.

Hiring B-level staff to urgently fill crews

We’ve all been there – a team member or two quit without notice with a full production schedule coming up, and suddenly you’re scrambling to find anyone that can get the work done.

But 80 percent of the time, the rushed hire is not going to succeed in the long run. The employee who is hired in a hurry and given some tools will often cause more damage and decreased productivity than the work they will complete, and only adds to your workload. After painfully learning this lesson myself multiple times, I’ve gone to great lengths to push back my production schedule (often with an annoyed customer on the phone), because I know that it is the right decision in the big picture.

Successful business owners understand that in these situations, the short-term pain is worth the benefit of finding A-talent and taking the time to onboard and train them properly. So the next time one of your employees suddenly quits, take a breath and follow this process:

1) Look at your upcoming production schedule and create an “options list” of all the crew combinations you can shuffle through in order to keep production on pace. If not possible, call the upcoming customers to tell them that you may be starting later than expected.

2) Utilize all of your recruitment channels to put out ads that are specifically written to speak to your ideal candidate.

3) Pre-plan time in your schedule over the next two weeks to focus on recruitment related activities: posting ads, calling potential candidates for thorough conversion calls, completing in-depth interviews, and following up with top candidates.

4) Book time in your schedule for a full week of training with new staff about two weeks out. This thorough training time will set up your future staff for success in their role and end the cycle of turnover.

The Breakthrough Academy has developed a methodical recruitment process to attract A-talent and select the best candidates through behavioural interviewing. For a complimentary copy of our hiring templates and guides, contact me ( and I’ll send them right over.