For most entrepreneurs, starting small is common when launching a business. Most of them wear every hat in the business operations up until business improves, and for it to remain that way and even prosper, getting more hands to help in the operations is needed.
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Hiring your first team can be nerve-wracking. When you bring an employee into your business, you are going to be responsible for him, guaranteeing he receives his regular salary and benefits on time and at the same time, be the one to train him well so you can get your return of investment.
Hiring your first employees isn’t an easy task. It’s risky and it might involve a lot of trial and error, but with these tips in mind, you might be able to find a group that is not only perfect for your business needs right now but can also bring value to the table.
5 Tips for Hiring Your First Employees
1. Proceed with Caution
Business is booming; cash is coming in and you are 100% sure you need help. But think about this: Do you really need to hire someone?
Most business operations can now be outsourced – accounting and marketing services are examples. If you want to expand your business, let’s say, go on the web, hiring a freelance website designer would be a better option since you probably wouldn’t need his services everyday to maintain your website. Even administrative assistants can now be hired virtually online.
We are saying this because adding an employee adds a big chunk to your overhead costs – compensation, training time, additional workspace for your employee, among other things. Of course, there will be additional taxes. Productivity and delegating repetitive but essential tasks to your employee so you can focus on the core of business would most likely offset the additional costs, but you need to be really clear about the next step you are going to take.
Experts advise that business owners have at least a year’s worth of expenses and overhead before hiring employees to make sure they can sail right through rough patches along the way.
2. Decide on What Kind of Help You Need
Before you even begin to hire, you need to analyze the level of help you need. We suggest you list down the tasks you need help with currently, and the tasks you would like to have help with eventually. This would allow you to form expectations on what aspects of your business you want your employee to help you with.
What are the areas of business do you need help with? Is this needed on a regular basis? Would this need an in-house employee?
These are just sample questions you can ask yourself so you can decide whether to outsource or hire an employee.
3. Hire for the Long Run
It’s easier and more attractive to hire those with big resumes or experience, but don’t cancel out the newbies just yet.
Studies have shown that small companies often do best with flexible candidates who are used to working in a small environment and are open to doing a variety of tasks other than those noted in their job description. Candidates with big business credentials have often worked in big companies too where there are rules and processes. Small company employees, especially if you are just expanding, often don’t have set jobs and do a bit of everything in the operations.
So initially, hire for the attitude and not for the skills. Usually, if the applicant is smart, eager and open-minded, skills and training will come easily, especially in a multi-tasking small business. There is also room for potential growth.
Barbara Corcoran, founder of the well-known New York City residential real estate firm, The Corcoran Group, manages a thousand employees and has this formula for hiring employees, “Find an expander and a container and put them together. Hire opposites and lock them at the hip. That pairing works because they complement each other and they don’t threaten the other’s territory. There’s mutual respect for each other because they realize they can’t do what the other does.”
4. Go for a Dry Run
Before deciding who to offer full-time or regular employment to, you can shortlist your candidates and offer to try working in your business for a limited time. This will allow them to see if it’s going to work for them and ultimately, you too.
It will also be quite a learning period for you too because you will be managing someone else for the first time. You will learn what works for you – the qualities you want in an employee and the specific business aspects you want to delegate and have your employee take autonomous care of, meaning you can leave him alone to take care of it.
This is often called a probationary period for new hires and shouldn’t last longer than three to six months.
5. Know Where to Look for Them
Your best bet for finding employees is through networking. Ask for referrals and have your job posting spread through word-of-mouth. However, sometimes your internal network would come up lacking with potential candidates. This is where you need help.
You can consider online job boards and post advertisements, but employment agencies, and headhunters can do a better job in filtering applicants that will be potential employees. They also do all the legwork for you so this will free up your time considerably.
Your first employees might end up NOT being the solution to your problems. Perhaps getting an additional set of hands only ended up being more work for you. It most likely is just an employer-employee mismatch – chalk it up to experience and find one that is a perfect fit. Keep recruiting.
Good luck finding your first startup team! Once you’ve got everyone on board, the next step is register them as your new employees and provide them with employer contributions and employee benefits.