When you start a new business, managing your finances is so important. You need to keep spending as low as possible until you can get things off the ground. For a lot of people, that means handling the day to day running of the business on their own. But once you start making a few sales and the business starts to grow, you’re going to need to start hiring some employees. Hiring your first employee is a big step and if you haven’t run a business before, you probably don’t know where to start. The success of your business is so dependent on your employees so you’ve got to make sure that you get it right. These are some of the most important things to remember when you’re hiring your first employee.

Know Your Responsibilities As An Employer

When you become an employer, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities to fulfil. You need to make sure that you’re creating a safe working environment, you’re paying everybody fairly, and you’re following all of the regulations around sick pay etc. You could land yourself in a lot of trouble if you’re not fulfilling all of your responsibilities and that usually happens because employers don’t know exactly what is expected of them. Research is key here, read a HR blog for more information about what it means to be an employer, what rules you need to follow, and the issues that you might face once you hire your first employees.

I found that I needed to rely on two key consultants as I got my business off the ground. My accountant and HR Consultant both helped me create the right employment infrastructure. On their own I found I only got half the story so I would advise getting both consultants on board.

Make Your Company Attractive

It’s not enough to just hire an employee that has the qualifications and experience that they need to do the job, you need to make an effort to attract the best talent out there. If you’re going to do that, you need to give potential employees a reason to pick you over other companies. Attracting the best candidates is tough, especially for a small business like yours. Big companies have the money to pay for company cars and great health insurance plans, but you can’t compete with that at this stage. Instead, you need to focus on the core values of the business and the merits of your product. Stress to potential employees that you’re giving them the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a business that is going to be huge, if they’re willing to help you make it happen.

In our experience we should spend time taking photo’s and shooting videos about the fun we had in the office, These videos and our Instagram profile went a long way to create a strong visual of our culture.

Look For Potential Not Experience

Experience is important and you don’t want to hire somebody that has never done anything relevant to the work at all, however, you shouldn’t just be looking for experience. Just because somebody hasn’t done that exact job before, it doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be amazing at it. You should look for candidates that show good potential, so try to focus more on the skills that they can bring to the role, rather than their experience. Ask them how they would deal with certain situations and what ideas they would bring to the job. This will give you a good chance to gauge their potential.

Fill Gaps In Your Skill Set

If you managed to run the business on your own and make some sales, you must be doing something right. But you’re only human and there are going to be certain areas of the business that you struggle with. Those gaps in your skill set should be your first priority when you’re hiring new employees. If you’re not very good at social media marketing, try to find somebody in that area. If you struggle to manage your finances properly, an accountant should be your first hire. There’s no point spending money hiring somebody to do a role that you’ve already got covered on your own.

Think About Personality

You’re hiring an employee, not a new best friend, but you still need to consider their personality. If you’re going to be working with somebody every day, it’s important that you have a good relationship and you share values, especially where the company is concerned. If you hire somebody that you just don’t click with, it’ll create a bad work atmosphere and you won’t work effectively together. They don’t need to be your best friend, but it does need to be somebody that you’re happy to work with every day. After you’ve completed all of the normal interview questions, try to ask them a bit about their hobbies and interests so you can get a bit of an idea about what kind of person they are.

Hiring your first employees is such a big step and the person that you choose could be the difference between failure and success, so take your time and make sure that you hire the right person.

The Five Year Mark

Read more about my experiences as an entrepreneur in my book The Five Year Mark.