10 Signs that you desperately need to hire your first employee at your small business
Hiring your first employee as a small business owner is a huge commitment and achievement. Congratulations!
But if you’re unsure about whether this is the right time to be taking on a new hire, we understand if you’re a little weary.
You want to grow your business the right way – without hemorrhaging money – so before you rush into recruitment let’s take a second to see if all the signs that you need to hire are there.
1 – You’re struggling to keep up
Is your workload too much to bear?
It’s easy to want to do it all as a founder – from development to sales to marketing. But when you’re managing a fast-growing business your to-do list can quickly get out of hand.
A long to-do list is one of the first signs that your business is growing and thriving. To manage this growth you may need to hire someone else to give you a helping hand.
2 – Customer service is slipping
Speaking of that growing to-do list, one of the first things to drop off and be neglected is customer service.
Customer service can be the easiest thing to ignore – but this is a mistake. It’s there for a reason!
Neglecting customer service is the quickest way to lose leads and make your customers frustrated.
So if you’re declining phone calls, leaving emails unopened and unanswered you’re probably in dire need of another employee.
3 – You’re turning down big opportunities
The chance to be featured in the press. The opportunity to work with your dream big-name client. These things are the pipe dreams of every small business owner.
If you’ve found yourself turning down big chances like this for any reason – whether you don’t have the time, capacity or need to focus on other things – it’s time to step back.
Holding off on hiring will make you miss your chances to grow. You should be jumping at these opportunities!
4 – You’re doing all of the grunt work
Spending all of your time doing admin?
The boring email writing, database managing and admin aspects of running a business aren’t very glamorous. Your time will be so much better spent developing new ideas!
When you become overwhelmed with so much paperwork that it holds you back, it’s time to rethink. Could another employee take this off your plate?
5 – You’re overworked
When was the last time you took the day off? Or didn’t open your laptop on the weekend? Or – god forbid – actually went on a holiday?
Your life shouldn’t be 100% work. It’s not fun, healthy or sustainable in the long-term.
But as a small business owner it can be hard to take some time off when there’s no one there to pick up the slack.
Hiring a trusted employee or even a co-founder will help your business grow and your life be more enjoyable in the long term.
6 – There’s enough work for another you
Before you run headfirst into hiring, it’s a good idea to assess how much extra work there is. Sometimes hiring an intern or a freelancer will get you through a busy period.
But if there is a long-term workload that can be taken on then a permanent hire is the kind you need.
It can be easy to get into the habit of taking on multiple freelancers at once, but having a full-time employee is a much more rewarding experience.
An employee will be able to grow with the role, take on more responsibilities and help you come up with ideas for the business. A freelancer on the other hand will simply do the job and then move on to their next contract.
Every business has to hire eventually, so if you’re in the habit of taking on multiple contractors at once it could be a great idea to ditch the freelancers and hire a team member.
7 – Your business is going to have a great year
How do you think your company will be doing in 6 month’s time?
The last thing you want to do is commit to paying a paycheque without any ideas for what the future holds.
It’s a good idea to look at the rate you’ve been growing so far and see if you can estimate where you’ll be with an extra pair of hands.
8 – You can afford to pay a new hire well
Now I want to bring your attention to the ‘well’ in this sentence.
The way you hire and treat your first employee sets a precedent. When you pay your first hire National Minimum Wage, this likely doesn’t reflect their value. It probably just reflects your financial situation!
So be sure to look into your finances to see if you think you’ll have enough to consistently pay your new hire.
9 – You’re ready for the help
Are you ready to pass on some of your responsibilities?
It can be hard for us to let some control go – especially when we’ve put years of blood, sweat and tears into building a small business from nothing. So are you ready to let go and trust someone else?
Your first employee will have to be someone trustworthy that you get along with for this to work!
10 – You’re already thinking up job descriptions
If you already know what responsibilities you’ll pass over, qualifications you’re going to looks for and personality you need – you’re probably ready to get going.
But if you can’t quite fathom what you need in an employee it might be smart to take a few days to figure that out. The last thing you need to do is waste time and money hiring the wrong person.
I hope that these 10 signs help you figure out if you’re ready to take on your small business’ first hire – whether they’re a co-founder or an intern.