The inception of any business is both thrilling and terrifying. In order to rapidly grow your company, it’s important to consider taking calculated risks, but you need to have confidence that these will pay off. Getting your business to the stage of being able to expand its workforce is a major milestone for any startup owner, but employing extra staff too soon, or creating unnecessary roles, can have a costly effect and in some cases, spell the end of your dream of being your own boss.
So what are the signs that your business is ready to make its first hire?
1. You’re never on top of your work
The number one sign it’s time to employ another team member is if you are struggling with your workload. Are you receiving complaints from clients about work being late or not of a high enough quality? Do you find yourself working 12+ hour days? Are you relying heavily on the help of family and friends to meet deadlines? There’s a definite line between being busy and being overworked. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should look to hire as soon as possible, or you risk damaging your reputation.
2. You’ve just received investment.
If you are already conscious that you are ready to hire, but are just waiting for the right time – then it’s now. The purpose of investment is to help your business grow and nothing will accelerate this faster than the expansion of your team.
3.You’re turning down paid jobs
Again, a bit of a no brainer, but sometimes it needs pointing out. There’s lot’s of advice out there that says turning down work is the key to success, however, in the early stages of a business you need all the help you can get. Looping back to the first point, you should never try to take on more than you can handle. Yet, if you can be sure that the work will definitely create revenue, it’s not the time to be picky and hiring a staff member at this stage is just a return on investment.
4. You need to expand your skill set
Is there an area of your business that would benefit from a bit of extra knowledge? For instance, you’re a first class website designer, but your sales technique is very rusty, or maybe you’ve built a problem-solving app and you know it would benefit from marketing, but don’t have a clue where to start, if this is the case, just think about it this way, as long as it’s a skill you know you will probably always need, it’s a role worth hiring for.
5. You’re ready to relinquish some control.
Your business is your baby so it’s completely understandable to want to manage and monitor every aspect of it. However, not only could this lead to being over stretched, it can also lead to you being too close to your business and you’re in danger of not being able to see the wood from the trees. Sometimes, fresh blood and perspective are exactly what you need to elevate your startup to the next level. You know that micromanagement is bad, so don’t micromanage yourself, allow yourself to delegate.
6. You have an unpaid intern or helper
I cannot stress enough how hard it is to find great talent in the first stages of a business. It’s nearly impossible to find someone who understands your vision and who you can trust and rely on. That’s why if you’ve received voluntary help as a favour or for experience, don’t let them go. As soon as you can afford it, offer a salary and an official job title, they’ll be more likely to stick around.
7. You’re just tired and need a holiday
Okay, so you’re handling the workload and managing everything well, but you’ve been working non stop since the day you created your dream. When you own a business you feel like you can’t just leave your company on its own, you need to hire someone who can keep steering the ship whilst you the odd day off or even maybe a holiday. You may feel guilty, but if your mind and body isn’t rested, your creativity and decision making will suffer. Well-rested people make better business leaders.
When hiring a new employee for your startup, it’s important to spend some time finding exactly the right candidate. At this stage, one wrong hire could cause damage to your business. However, if you’ve recognised any of these signs, it not only indicates that it’s time to hire, it also shows that your company is on the right track by growing and you’re ready to take the next steps to business expansion.
Raj Dhonota is an angel investor, mentor and entrepreneur.