This is Post No. 13 in How to Start a Business Series.
So you just started your business and you are already thinking about hiring an employee.
Here are some thoughts for you.
When to Hire Your First Employee?
Hire your first employee when you have so much work that you cannot handle it alone and you are generating surplus cash in your business.
It will be good if you avoid forming a company and hiring directly initially. Instead work with contractors, see their work, build trust and then hire. It helps because initially your revenues may not be steady.
Move from short term contracting – small time to larger contracts like a month long or a 8 week paid gig.
You can find contractors like the way I you find other outsourced workforce. Once the ship of your business becomes steady you can hire a regular virtual assistant.
Do not wait too long to hire help though. Do it as soon as you have enough revenues trickling in. This is reinvesting money in your business to drive growth. You can first hire for non-critical tasks – something like doing desk research, people to answer phone. Invest the time you save to enjoy and also to focus on important activities like creating partnerships and doing sales.
Invest this money back in business by hiring an employee and you focus more on business development.
If you are starting your second or third business, hiring early is fine.
What to Look for in an Employee?
She should be able to do the job – on time, most of the time and ensure good quality.
In a small business or startup scenario, you need people who are quick on their feet and can move forward without being guided too much.
If you have hired for attitude than for experience, then first train the person and later aim for the above.
While running your first business – you need people who ship not the ones who slack.
You should also look for – without being rigid (one person cannot have all the qualities) – a person who is,
– In sync with culture of your business
– Not shy to roll sleeves and do dirty work
– Not scared to take decisions and move ahead
Who has the ability to,
– Work without being watched
– Come up with new ideas and take ownership of the project
And someone who can,
– Communicate well
– Wear multiple hats
– Assume responsibility when there is a chance for that
– Take decisions when needed
Look for positive people who bring harmony into workplace by embracing chaos and bring meaning out of it. Those who can work without structure; because in a startup there is lots of chaos and less structure.