Hire strong pillars to build a company upon

When I set out to start my business, I was unaware that I was metaphorically building a house.

In the beginning, the house was small (three employees). I had no doubt the house could stand on my shoulders. As the house began to grow (70 employees), it became clear that the house was too big to just stand on me. The house became unstable because I was the only pillar.

Like most business owners, I desired to grow my business; make a bigger house. If we were going to grow, I needed more pillars to help steady the business.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a pillar as, “A firm, upright support for a superstructure.” In business, we define a pillar as, “A supporting, integral or upstanding member or part.”

Any significant growth of your organization will require more than just you to support that growth. It’s critical that you recognize the moment you can no longer run the business on your own. The moment that occurs, act with urgency in finding the help your business requires.

Don’t skimp on compensation

The challenge for any new business owner is getting over the “I can’t afford it” mentality. If you produce accurate financials, they will tell you what you can and cannot afford.

Once you have identified that you can afford to hire a pillar, ensure you pay that person what they’re worth. At the hiring decision, there will be salary negotiation based on education, experience, market wages, etc. However, if you are 180 days into their employment and the value they bring to your organization exceeds their compensation, pay them more!

Verbally recognize the value they bring to your organization and pay them more. If you don’t pay people what they are worth, someone else will.

Know your job target

With hiring, there are job descriptions and there are job targets. A job description specifically describes the job the person will do. A job target specifically describes the person you need to hire in order for them to do the job well. Before you set out to hire any pillars, create a job description and then a job target for each position.

If you identify someone who hits your target, make them an offer. If the first person you interview hits your job target, you should be putting together a job offer as fast as you can. In this day and age, there is a high likelihood that your candidate is interviewing with other companies. If they hit your target, hire swiftly. If you don’t hire them swiftly, someone else will.


When seeking pillars, it’s critical to hire well. Hire swiftly, but don’t rush. People who rush get careless. Use your job target document, be methodical in your search and then hire swiftly. The right pillar will bring an uplift to your business that will be immediate and measurable.


Dennis W. Lejeck is the president and founder of Black Knight Security. Dennis is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and has also participated in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® program. BKS was recognized in 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 as one of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Pittsburgh.