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7.2 Personnel Plan Questionnaire

What is a personnel plan and how it is important in a business plan for a Landscape Contractor?

A personnel plan simply lists out all the future plans for expansion of personnel in the coming months for a small business like Green Lawn Landscaping, Inc.. This section of the business plan is usually optional and may not be always included in the business plan. The occasions when this section of the business plan is especially key is in the event the business is a start up and you currently do not have many employees but plan on hiring more employees in the future as the business begins operations.

Yet another situation where business plans are critical is when you are looking to reduce the number of workers you have for any business reason like downsizing or the introduction of new technology, use of consultants, off-shoring etc. In these cases you need to let the reader of the business plan know what the current size of the staff for the small business is, and what you think it will be in the coming 6 months to 1 year.

As a general rule, we always recommend that every small business have a personnel plan in their business plan since it shows a very clear cut understanding of staffing requirements and how you intend to increase or decrease the staff with the increase or decrease in the demand for your products and services. Attention must be paid to the strategy behind the personnel plan - for example - will you look to hire a key personnel first and then focus on the others, or will you hire a manager to look after the store after you have built out the staff. Each of these decisions has implications on how a small business like Green Lawn Landscaping, Inc. will be able to grow out its staff and continue on a successful path towards meeting its goals.

What should the time horizon for a personnel plan be in a business plan for a small business like Green Lawn Landscaping, Inc.?

We recommend that business owners like Frank Murphy set up personnel plans for a period of at least 6 months. You may even want to put in a plan that will address the personnel expansion or contraction projections for the coming 1 year. While it is very hard to predict the future and everyone reading the plan knows that many of the future hiring decisions may have to do with how the business develops, the personnel plan nevertheless gives lenders and potential partners a very good insight into how well a small business owner like Frank Murphy is thinking about his or her personnel needs.

How about the hiring policy - should there be some mention of how future employees will be selected by owners like Frank Murphy?

No business can grow without having staff that will roll up their sleeves and do their jobs enabling the delegation and specialization of responsibilities and increased productivity for a business. Thus it stands to reason that how a small business owner like Frank Murphy chooses the employees that will work for him is almost directly related to how successful and productive the small business will be.

Small business owners like Frank Murphy need to recognize that they may not be very good at the day to day management of the business even though they are excellent entrepreneurs. If that is the case, then they must be ready to hire someone who can complete that responsibility more successfully than they can - enter the manager. Hiring a manager to run the day to day operations of the business is perhaps the single most important business decision that a small business owner like Frank Murphy can make. Get the right person and you will see the morale and productivity of the office shoot up, get the wrong person and you will see the exact opposite.

Most newer management research today is beginning to recognize that staff does not leave because they have an issue with the company's policies or pay scales and benefits - in fact most folks leave because they have a problem with their immediate managers. Small business owners who seldom make good managers, need to recognize this and stay away from the day to day management of the business and let the competent manager run the show for them while they focus on the big picture. A classic example of this are medical and dentist offices.

A well thought out personnel plan should address how employees will be chosen and how they will be retained or let go. We don't mean that you need to break down the entire human resource process, but a few words about what you, the small business owner, looks for when you hire folks needs to be addressed. Nowadays many folks also want to make sure that you are not hiring undocumented workers or folks with a criminal record and thus your personnel policy needs to state what kind of background checks you run on potential candidates before you hire them. In many small businesses like mortgage brokerage, this is not an option but is required by law.

Quick Links:

  1. Go to the Corresponding Business Plan section for this industry.

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