Successful Staffing Strategy: 3 Astonishing Things That May Surprise You

The Right Way to Staff a Giant Pumpkin

“I’m willing to bet that, if you have created an organizational chart for your business, you’ve approached it the same way most entrepreneurs do – working with what is, instead of what should be.” Mike Michalowicz, The Pumpkin Plan

Now that you have identified your Top Clients and Your Unique Offering, you have let your rotten pumpkins (bad clients) go, and you are evaluating your expenses so that they are all focused on growing your Sweet Spot, the next step is to evaluate your staffing needs, both current and future, so that you can implement a successful staffing strategy.

3 Astonishing truths about hiring

When it comes to hiring, there are a 3 things no one ever tells us:

  1. Your organizational chart is likely impeding your growth
  2. Complexity is the enemy to scaling your business in a sustainable, profitable way
  3. You should be recruiting RIGHT NOW for your next 3 hires.

Let me explain.,,

Do you have an organizational chart for your business? If your answer is “yes, it’s in my head,” or “yes, sort of…” or “well, yes but it’s out of date…” rest assured, you are not alone. That’s the typical response of most entrepreneurs. And, I have good news for you!  I’m going to let you off the hook. You don’t need an organizational chart. In fact, if you have one, I want you to throw it out. Wait, what?!!!


Most small business owners, if they have an organizational chart, have designed the chart around the current team members of the business. That works for now but it won’t serve you as you grow. In fact, it is likely impeding your growth.

What you need instead is a role chart. A role chart is different from the typical organizational chart in that it is designed around the Sweet Spot of your business. The Sweet Spot of your business is that intersection of your top clients, your unique offering, your area of innovation and the systems for delivering your unique offering to your top clients.

organizational chart for hiring

Forget the organizational structure you currently have

A successful staffing strategy start with thinking about the future and designing your business around the growth of your Sweet Spot. Keep in mind, we are designing your role chart ONLY around your top clients. Although you may still have some difficult clients who drain the resources of the company, forget about those clients for now. Too many business owners make the mistake of hiring team to take care of the needs of problem clients. That is a profit drain that keeps you stuck in the survival trap.

When it comes to growing a highly profitable business that does not keep pulling you into the daily tasks, complexity is the enemy. The more products and services you attempt to provide to clients who are only somewhat aligned with the Sweet Spot, the more hours you and your overworked team will be working. That is not sustainable. Keep it simple!

How to create your successful staffing strategy:

1)For the purposes of this exercise, imagine you’ve gone to bed and overnight a miracle has happened. As you awake, you discover your business is only serving your top clients and all the work that is being done is happening from the Sweet Spot of the business. What roles are needed to do that work? Do you only have a handful of clients? Great! That makes this easier.

2)List out the roles that are needed to take care of your very small number of top clients.

3)Project ahead 3 years. Your business has exploded. You are now serving 10 times the number of your top clients, but only from the Sweet Spot of your business. What roles are needed to get you there from where you are now? List those roles.

4)For each role, ask yourself, if the person filling that role can only get one thing done in a given day or a given week, what is the most essential result that absolutely must happen to serve the top clients in the Sweet Spot of the business?

5)What personality strengths are needed to deliver that result exceptionally well, day in and day out? List those strengths next to the role.

6)Step back for a minute. It’s time for an honest assessment of your current team, including YOU. Ouch! This could get painful. Trust me. You and everyone on your team will be better for this in the long run. Put the names of the individuals with the strengths next to the role.

Analyze your results and think ahead

You may notice a few things. Some roles have no names. Some roles have a couple of names. Some people may be serving several roles. As you compare this version of your role chart to the current structure of your business, you are likely recognizing it’s time to start re-aligning roles. You are seeing gaps to fill. That means it’s time to recruit.

You may not be ready to hire yet, and that’s okay. I actually recommend you start recruiting long before you are ready to hire. If you are recognizing your team is going to have to grow considerably to handle 10 times the work you currently have, you are miles ahead of most entrepreneurs. You need to be thinking ahead for your next 3 hires, then designing a system to consistently attract those team members to your business.

If you are recognizing that you have current gaps in the strengths needed to serve your top clients exceptionally well from the Sweet Spot of your business, then you need to recruit to fill those gaps right away. Keep in mind, you don’t have to hire someone full-time and provide benefits in order to implement a successful staffing strategy. You may start with part-time work, or utilizing the services of a subcontractor. There are lots of creative, economical ways to fill roles in your growing business.

In fact, I wrote a whole book on how to do just that. My first book in the How to Hire the Best series was written to help rural business owners with growing businesses find the A-Players they need to grow their business. Many of those featured in the book are in locations where there are more antelope than people. As you might imagine, staffing growing businesses in rural areas requires a lot of creative, out of the box thinking, which might serve YOU well as you get creative to bring on the team you need for your growing business.

To get a taste of what’s covered in my book and my course on Hiring the Best, sign-up for my free Masterclass at

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about what you have discovered as you designed your Role Chart. Leave your comments below.


Donna Leyens Pumpkin Plan your BizWritten by:

Donna Leyens, Pumpkin Plan Your Biz

personal compass core values
Money growth
adam mckee business owner grows with pumpkin plan
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2 replies
  1. Condredge
    Condredge says:

    Thanks for the step-by-step post, Sabrina, these are some excellent strategies. This is definitely making me think ahead about my future hiring needs. And it is also helping me to think about my own personal sweet spot within the business – there are roles to which I am not the best suited person (I’m sure many small business owners can identify with that!)

    • Dr. Sabrina Starling
      Dr. Sabrina Starling says:

      Hi Condredge, glad this was helpful! It is such a relief to let go of the roles that don’t suit us. One surefire test to know what to let go of is to pay attention to what we never get around to doing, or what we procrastinate on. Those tasks are outside our zone of strengths. When we work from our personal strengths, life is good again as an entrepreneur (I might be speaking from my personal experiences here ;)

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