When Is It Time to Hire Your First Employee?


    Hiring your first employee is one of the most significant milestones in entrepreneurship. However, hiring too early or too late can be detrimental to your business growth. For most business owners, figuring out when to hire the first employee can be challenging. To help you make the right decision, here are a few signs that signify it is time to enroll a new employee.

    1. When You Can Afford It

    Finances play a vital role in the success of any business, and most startups fail due to financial problems. Therefore, it is necessary to assess your financial situation and hire your first employee only when you can afford it.  During the early days of your startup, you may not even have the money to pay yourself, making it impossible to hire a helper.

    Note that hiring comes with financial responsibilities like salaries and benefits. You also incur additional costs such as payroll fees, equipment and furniture expenses, and training costs. If you are at a point in your startup where your financial situation allows you to hire an employee, you shouldn’t hesitate to start the recruitment process.

    2. You Experience Customer Complaints

    As a small business, if you start experiencing customer complaints about your products or services, you need to act. Some of the reasons your customers may complain are long wait times and missed deadlines, a drop in product quality, and poor customer service. Customer complaints may also occur if your customers can’t reach you whenever they need to.

    Start making plans to hire your first employee when you start having problems with your customers. If you are too busy to guarantee product quality or address customer concerns, you risk losing your clients due to dissatisfaction. Not only will hiring a new employee boost the quality of your products, but it will also mend your relationship with your customers.

    3. You Lack Time for Key Office Work or Vacation

    If you are running a startup and start neglecting essential office work such as bookkeeping and paperwork due to lack of time, you should look for help. Juggling numerous responsibilities by yourself may force you to allocate less time to some tasks, which may jeopardize your company. You can free up your time and concentrate on the critical aspects of your business by hiring an employee to help you.

    Also, listen to your body. If you constantly feel overwhelmed and have no time to catch a break, it may be time to look for an extra hand. Overworking yourself with no time for a vacation does nothing for your productivity and is detrimental to your health.  You know it is time to hire an employee when you can’t find time for yourself or the critical jobs in your business.

    4. When You Need a Specific Skill Set for Your Startup

    As an entrepreneur working alone, you tend to handle everything on your own. However, you may not have specialized skills for some tasks, such as accounting or even marketing. The ability to recognize your shortcomings and delegate some of the work can go a long way in growing your business. Most times, learning a new skill can be both time-consuming and expensive, which leaves you with the option of hiring a specialist for the job.

    Your startup shouldn’t suffer because you don’t want to hire an expert for where you fall short. Before hiring for a particular skill set, understand the employee’s role and have a clear picture of the required. You can research how other companies handled similar needs and identify the essential skills to help you find the perfect fit for the position.

    5. You Have Enough Work for an Employee

    You should not hire an employee unless you have a clear picture of their roles and there is enough work for them to do. Only hire your first employee when you can create a clear job description to fill in the hours they should work. To help you establish whether you can recruit your first employee, evaluate whether the tasks fit into one skill set logically and whether they are long-term. If the duties are all over the place or only last for a short period, you don’t have to make your first hire yet.

    Long-term tasks like customer service may require you to hire a professional due to the steady workflow. Lastly, ask yourself whether the job helps your startup generate or retain revenue. Avoid hiring an employee for experimental duties that have no guarantee to help you grow your business, as they will leave you with liabilities in terms of salaries if they fail. Hire your first employee when the workload is steady and enough for an employee or requires special skills that you don’t have.

    When you decide to hire your first employee, ensure you take care of the legal aspects of recruitment to ensure compliance. An employment lawyer can help you with the legal documents you need when hiring new staff and also help you familiarize yourself with employment laws and regulations to avoid legal problems.


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