You took the leap, became an entrepreneur, and founded your own company. Your customer list has grown, and you’re beginning to see real results — and also starting to feel swamped.
Even if you realize you need help, you may be feeling anxious and wondering, “How do I know if I am ready to hire? What if something goes wrong?” These feelings are natural, but there are some telltale signs that let you know when a small business should start hiring.
If you’ve been doing everything for your business yourself, you may have some fear of hiring employees. But in the end, it’s far better to delegate tasks to someone else than to get overloaded and let the quality of your work or product suffer. And as the founder of a startup, no one is better positioned to assess its development and when your small business should start hiring. Often, the answer is right there under your nose.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably spent many of your early days on marketing, getting the word out about your products or services. As the number of your clients and orders increases, however, it’s easy to become overloaded. You may find that you’re spending all your hours working for your customers or filling orders and have no time left for promotion or growing your business anymore. This is often a sign of when to hire an employee.
How do you know if you’re ready to hire? Look at your task list. As the owner of a startup business, you’re forced to wear many hats, including those of CEO, marketing and communications director, accounting and finance director, social media manager, customer service representative, and more. But aside from not having time to perform all these roles, you may not have the skills or experience to do all of them well enough for your purposes.
You likely have a sense of where your strengths lie — and where they don’t. If you’re getting overwhelmed, this is when to hire an employee in one of the areas where you are falling behind or not as skilled.
You shouldn’t consider hiring your first employee unless you can afford their wages. But look closely at your finances first (and get advice from a good accountant, ideally). You may be able to start out by hiring someone hourly or part time to help you process orders, take customer service calls, assist with marketing, schedule appointments with clients, etc. Hiring the right person may allow you to get back to growing your business and could help bring in enough additional income to employ that person full time after a few months.
If things have gotten so busy that clients are either getting turned away or leaving on their own, that’s a time when a small business should start hiring. You can’t grow your business if you don’t have time to accept new clients.
If the quality of your work or your product suffers because you can’t get to everything, you risk damaging your reputation. Damage to your online reputation can follow you for a long time and be costly to fix. The best remedy is not to put yourself in that situation to begin with.
If you have clear routines and well-documented procedures and systems in place on how to provide the products or services you offer, this is another sign of when to hire an employee. When bringing someone on board, you want to be certain that their tasks are clearly defined and that you can offer training, guidance, and a steady workload from day one.
Of course, as a startup business, there will be adjustments and changes over time, but no one wants to come into an office in disarray, unsure of how to complete their daily tasks. Given proper guidance, employees are much less likely to feel overwhelmed or bored, and are more likely to stay.
Whether you’re a tech startup owner or run an in-home services business, it’s perfectly natural to have a fear of hiring employees. After all, when you’ve built a business from scratch, you don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize it.
Some questions may still be nagging you, keeping you from making the leap, such as: “How do I know if I’m really ready to hire? Can I find someone who’s trustworthy and has the skills I need? Should I create an interview checklist?" These are all legitimate questions — and they can actually help you understand what to focus on and plan for before hiring your first employee. Your fear can be constructive: It’s pointing to areas that require extra preparation and can lead to a successful first hire.
Starting a hiring campaign is not something that should be done on a whim. When it’s time for your small business to start hiring, you need to be sure that you know just what abilities and personality traits the right person will have to help you continue to grow.
Fear of hiring employees stems from a lack of confidence that you’ll get it right. But successful hiring isn’t a matter of luck; it’s the result of proven tools, strategies, and systems. Using a comprehensive online hiring system like Hire Success® can help you prepare for hiring your first employee, giving you everything you need to recruit, shortlist, interview, and even onboard. Hire Success® gives you the confidence you need to know you’re making the right decision and choosing the right person for your growing company.
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