It’s part 2 of the Ask Jana series, where we delve into the crucial topic of building the right team for successful business scaling. Discover invaluable insights from Jana herself on the significance of team composition. Lots of Amazon sellers eventually find themselves at a crossroads: do they scale upwards, and dive into the complicated world of people management? Or do they avoid the pains of human resource issues and imperfect work, and keep their operations to themselves as a solopreneur? We’ll call up the wise words of Jack Welch: “You get a great team, man, you can’t be beat.” (Watch his short talk on this in this YouTube snippet.) At one point, entrepreneurs are going to have to stop “working on their business, and not in their business” (quote Jana). At a particular pivotal moment, entrepreneurs have to ask themselves, can I start to delegate? Do I have the right mindset to manage people, who will in turn manage output? The fact is, if you’re planning to scale your business to 7 figures, you simply cannot do it all.
There are 2 trains of thought that Jana addresses in this week’s Ask Jana.
I like to hire people who have a specific lane, who do something very well. I hire a lot of people who are smarter than me. If I’m the smartest person in my company, then my company will go nowhere. (Issa Rae, actor and director)
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” (Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States )
Which one has worked for her? As an entrepreneur, do you hire people that bring value that you yourself cannot provide? Or do you hire people that you can offload tasks to – tasks you can do yourself, but don’t have the bandwidth for?
Let’s find out.
Business Scaling with the Right Team: Unveiling Jana’s Insights
Jana’s journey with YLT Translations is nothing short of remarkable. Since its inception in 2018, she has propelled the company from its modest beginnings to a powerhouse with over 80 skilled translators today. These language experts cover an impressive range of 15 languages, allowing them to help many Amazon companies expand globally in more than just one country. What sets YLT’s translators apart is their deep understanding of eCommerce and their expertise in optimizing conversions on the Amazon platform.
Finding Talent for Successful Business Scaling
When it comes to scaling a business, Jana recognizes the paramount importance of recruiting individuals who possess skills beyond her own. Hiring experts in areas where she may lack proficiency ensures the smooth operation of the business during the scaling process. Jana values team members who demonstrate initiative, take responsibility, and achieve outstanding results. Recognizing the contributions of these individuals, she even rewards them for their innovative ideas, fostering a deep sense of ownership within the company.
“For instance, I’m not a master of Excel sheets,” Jana admits. “I don’t know a lot of formulae. But I’ll hire someone better at it than I am.” Yet, the work of a CEO doesn’t stop there; Jana may not have the prowess at adept spreadsheet manipulation as her employee may have, but she does know where the finish line should be. “I’m okay with giving guidelines, and (letting the employee) master that a little bit. Then they find better tools and take it to the next level.”
This level of initiative is indicative of ownership. “I love it when people are independent, and they take control and responsibility. (It results in them) doing something amazing for the company,” she shares. Finding them can be a needle in a haystack search – which is why Jana rewards this kind of output quite handsomely. “They’re an extraordinary hire, but it is possible.”
Interestingly, she’s found that these people commonly don’t have that entrepreneurial mindset, but they are great workers.
Unleashing the Power of Delegation for Business Scaling
On the other hand, Jana firmly believes in the transformative power of delegation when it comes to scaling a business. She states that delegating is the road of success, and that it took 2 years for her to master delegating to others. While initially challenging for her to entrust crucial tasks to others, she soon realized the limitations of her time and energy. Delegating responsibilities to capable team members allowed Jana to focus on strategic business development rather than getting caught up in operational minutiae. This newfound trust in her team granted her control over her schedule and a valuable appreciation for the benefits of free time, enabling her to devote her energy to scaling the business.
“When the company grew, it became impossible for me to check everything every month,” Jana shares. “I felt very anxious about it. I’m a perfectionist.”
Then, after 2 years, Jana went on vacation. She forced herself to leave the team to follow the guidelines she’d set – and was happy to find, when she’d returned, that everything had been done to satisfaction. Not perfection; “nobody will do your job as good as you,” she warns. “But if things get done, if they’re done well, that’s fine by me. Once you understand you have to let go, you value your time more.”
But where do you draw the line? When do you know which tasks will enable growth, and which ones will hold you back? Jana has a simple tactic. She placed a monetary value on her time. “Let’s say, my hour costs $500. When I think of the work I want to do, I just think, is this worth $500 of my time? Usually it’s not worth my time. I made it easy for me to decide what to do as a business owner by setting the price of an hour or two.”
Here’s an important question for you: How much is your time worth?
That should put things into perspective as you prepare to scale your business.
Cultural Fit and Streamlined Hiring for Business Scaling
At YLT, cultural fit is of utmost importance in the hiring process, especially during business scaling. With a remote workforce, cultivating a sense of belonging is crucial. Regular Zoom meetings and effective communication methods create a cohesive team dynamic, bridging the physical distance – so necessary for remote teams. Personal connections are nurtured by remembering important details about team members, demonstrating genuine care and appreciation. The hiring process at YLT is designed to be efficient and time-saving, ensuring a seamless onboarding experience and access to vital resources, facilitating the scaling process.
“Remembering my team’s birthdays, small things about them, that’s important,” Jana says. In fact, she even keeps a Google Sheet of important tidbits about all her translators. “Every once in a while, people are really surprised when you ask them something about their private life that they told you 6 months ago. I try to focus on that because those small things are the things people put a high price tag on, and they feel valued.”
“They feel that someone cares, which I do — I care.”
In fact, Jana’s attitudes towards hiring are highly efficient. YLT has a knowledge database and a hiring system that eliminates person-to-person contact, sending the would-be translator through a series of tests and tasks, ending with the knowledge database. The onboarding process is efficient and clear, which seems to have helped YLT avoid attrition.
“It’s important that the candidate is a good fit for the company culture. There are so many people who are seniors who’ve been with us since the beginning. (Our translators) feel like they’re part of something, they’re part of a group. That’s essential.”
Efficient recruitment + careful onboarding + a positive company culture — no wonder YLT has scaled upwards so successfully in such a short amount of time.
In Conclusion: The Path to Successful Business Scaling
The remarkable success of YLT, marked by rapid growth and a diverse team proficient in multiple languages, serves as a testament to the importance of assembling the right team during the business scaling journey. Jana’s approach of hiring for expertise, embracing delegation, and prioritizing company culture has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in YLT’s achievements. We hope that Jana’s insights inspire and guide you as you embark on scaling your own business.
That wraps up the second edition of “Ask Jana.” We hope you found Jana’s insights on localization and eCommerce helpful. Stay tuned for more valuable Q&A sessions in the upcoming articles. If you have any burning questions about localization or eCommerce, feel free to submit them, and Jana might answer them in the next edition!