Founding a startup often means being a party of one. You wear several different hats — one minute you’re an accountant, the next you’re acting as a marketer or a web developer. Perhaps you hired a contractor for certain tasks, but when the contract is up, you’re back to square one. If this sounds like your life, it may be time to hire your first employee.
Even one employee in the early stages can be major for company growth, new perspective, subject matter expertise, and more. Sure, interviewing and onboarding may sound daunting, but the benefits are real. Check your financials before jumping into the hiring process, but know that you can still run a lean operation, if needed.
We’ve compiled a list of the most recognizable signs founders will experience when it’s time (or past time) to bring on their first employee. Remember, sometimes, two heads are better than one.
You’re turning down work
You shouldn’t hire until you have adequate work for another person to handle. How do you know when you’ve reached that point? When you’re turning projects down or being forced to send customers away. If a quick review of your situation reveals that you’re turning down work regularly, reconsider your business plan and decide how quickly you would like to scale and if your financials can handle it. If your revenue stream allows, it may be time to hire more staff.
You need help focusing your product
A new employee should either make money for the business, or save money for the business. If you have a reasonable level of confidence that your new hire will do at least one of those two things, go for it.Sometimes a key hire can help you create a focused, viable product, something that can lead to exponential growth.
You’re wearing one too many hats
Though you may be the kind of person that can wear 10 different hats, you can’t be good at absolutely everything. While you can try to learn the skill sets you need, is this really the best use of your time? Sometimes it’s best to bring in an employee who’s passionate and experienced in a particular skill that complements yours. Once you’ve accepted that, you’ll find that a new hire will take a huge stress off your shoulders. So if you’re a technologist, stop trying to run that hit-or-miss PPC ad and hire an expert to do it for you.
You’re receiving complaints
Complaints can come from a couple of different areas. First, there’s negative feedback you may receive in early test phases or beta testing, which can also be viewed as “constructive criticism”. This is all normal and should be helpful. But after that, you may start to get complaints from customers who have paid money and are unhappy with your product or service. If those complaints are beginning to have a common theme, this may be a sign that you’re lacking the bandwidth or expertise to make the needed corrections. Your new hire can help you in the area that your consumers have been complaining about the most or take some work off your hands so you can fix it yourself.
You want to scale your business
If you want your business to grow, you have to accept that you’ll need help at some point in the future. You need people invested in your company and culture who offer continuous expertise, not the come-and-go help of contractors or interns. For scaling purposes, it’s often smarter to hire someone who will work as hard as you to meet your company’s goals and keep the business coming in.
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