Starting a new business venture is an incredibly exciting process. That said, nothing quite prepares you for the investment of time, money, and resources required to grow. We tell ourselves that the hustle is worth it; that the entrepreneurial life demands our everything because that passion empowers us to live the dream. But how often have you wished for more hours in the day to complete routine tasks? How many times have you tried to standardize, automate, and multitask your way to higher productivity? If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time for you to think about hiring your first employee.
1. Gauge How Busy You Truly Are
If you’re reading this blog post, it’s safe to assume you’re pretty sold on hiring your first employee. Whether or not you’re certain, it’s a good idea to sit down and determine how busy you are. You know what we’re talking about — most entrepreneurs experience hectic and slow seasons, respectively. Are you overwhelmed because you really need the help, or are you burning yourself out making busywork?
To figure out the extent of your busyness, do a little workflow audit. If you find you’re consistently swamped to a point where you’re turning new clients away, you probably need to delegate. That way, you can get back to what you do best.
2. Make a Hiring Budget
Now that you know how much help you need, it’s time to set your hiring budget. Before you start cringing over your finances, keep in mind that hiring your first employee adds tremendous value to your business. As entrepreneurs, we can get so caught up in the lone wolf mindset that we forget it takes a village to scale a business. So while you may need to cut costs elsewhere to make room for a new hire, finding the right person will be worth the investment.
3. Consider Outsourcing to Freelancers
Once you’ve determined your budget for hiring, you may find that you have financial limitations. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time permanent employee just yet, don’t panic. There are plenty of affordable hiring alternatives when you’re willing to outsource the standardized tasks to freelance agencies or contractors. For example, let’s say you wanted help running your social media channels and blog so you can focus on client acquisition and retention. There’s a freelancer for that!
4. Get Your Documentation in Order
Whether you’re hiring a full-time employee or a freelancer, you need to get organized before you start searching for the ideal candidate. Completing the workflow audit we mentioned earlier is a great place to start. Use the audit to decide what tasks you want to keep for yourself and those you plan to delegate to your new employee. Our advice? Document everything! Jot down your procedures, list your expectations for their role, and brainstorm a variety of routine tasks, one-off projects, and “filler” work for slower days. That way, you’ll have a better idea who you’re looking to hire.
5. Prioritize Candidates With Small Business Experience
At YES Victoria, we know a little something about HR for small businesses, so here’s a pro tip: try to find candidates who already have small business experience. If this seems obvious, bear in mind that plenty of startups opt to hire employees coming from big, impressive companies because they appear more experienced.
While formerly corporate employees do add value, candidates with SMB experience often have more realistic expectations for the scope of work required at a small business. Those who’ve only worked for major brands are accustomed to plenty of direction, well-established procedures, and clear-cut roles. The environment at a growing small business requires a uniquely qualified, yet flexible employee who’s willing to wear a few different hats within their role on your team.
So there you have it, 5 tried and tested tips to help simplify your first run at the hiring process. Best of luck on the search, and happy hiring!
Ready to hire your first employee? Networking is a great way to meet local, like-minded people who could lead to your next hire. Join us at our next monthly YES mixer to find out!