There are many pivotal moments that start-ups face. Perhaps one of the most critical is that growth spurt that changes you from being a one-person operation to becoming a business that employs staff.
Hiring your first ever employee is a great milestone! In addition to taking on the responsibility of being an ‘employer’, you should take pride in the fact that your company has real merit – that someone has chosen to join you, and make your idea happen!
Hiring an employee will change your business in fundamental ways – the most positive of these is that it will give you legs, meaning that you can move faster, and focus more on expansion, taking the business much further than you could if you were still managing on your own. There’s more brainpower, creativity, and capable hands to get stuff done.
That said, there are important considerations as you take on your first employee.
Extra manpower is vital for expansion, But just when do you take the plunge and hire someone? Let’s just say that you don’t want to leave it until you’re completely drowning in work. So perhaps the best advice is sooner, rather than later, if you can afford it. And this is key. You must plan for it.
Remember some types of roles can be outsourced: administration assistants, Marketing, PR, accounting. Decide what skills want to employ, and what you can outsource.
Employees come with extra costs – you may need to tap into your capital to get your new employee all the equipment he/she needs, and it might be time to invest in payroll software so you can keep track of leave entitlements and other obligations. Plus, you will definitely need to ensure that you have stabilised cash flow to make sure you can keep making pay day.
You as the business owner / sole employee have been running the show, and now you need to translate just about everything you know about your business operations to someone else!
This will mean a good deal of time on your part, to document everything, from what you do, to how you do it and why you do it.
But taking time to do this is really worth it, because as you put down into words all of this information about your business, it will help shape your idea of exactly the kind of person you want to hire – recruiting the right ‘cultural’ fit is just as important as assessing someone’s skill set, experience and potential.
You also want a flexible candidate – perhaps someone multi-talented and skilled across a couple of areas. And someone who can act with autonomy, so that you can get on with running your business, keeping the promises you make to clients, and planning for the next phase of your business. There is no doubt that when you start to boost your human resources, you’re really able to make solid leaps in terms of your growth.
Also make sure you have workable filing systems and good processes for sharing documents and information. If all your files are just stashed in your email inbox or on your personal hard drive, which might have been a perfectly good way to work when it was just ‘you’, the new employee will have no hope of being able to reference them without asking you.
Quite simply – you’re hiring someone to take the load off you, to free your time so you can move the business forward. Having a ‘team’ means enabling the team. You’ve got to make the mindset change from ‘solopreneur’ to ‘team leader’.
It’s a simple fact that not all hires work out, so making sure that you’re both legally protected is paramount.
There are a number of good resources online for small business, or perhaps consider, if you don’t already have one, seeking a business advisor to help you work through the details.
Hiring your first employee is a huge step forward for your business. Definitely worth popping the champagne for! Just take the time to do things the right way.