Start-ups: hiring your first employees
Published:  12 August, 2011

Most start-up businesses begin with one person who has an idea. But the workload soon takes its toll and it becomes clear that, in order to grow, you need to hire staff.

But where do you start? In my case, I invented the recipes, baked the cakes, decorated the cakes, sold the cakes and everything in between. I needed someone with a certain level of skill, the ability to work independently and flexibly and, almost more importantly, I needed someone I could trust. Then the big question where do I find them?

Fast-forward a year and I now have six fabulous members of staff who have grown alongside me and weathered the many bumps along the way. I trust each one of them implicitly and I know they would do everything in their powers to help our company continue to grow. But how did I get to this point? Consider my top tips for hiring staff in a small business:

l Get in contact with HMRC immediately. You need to register as an employer and make sure your paperwork is in order.

l Look for your staff in the right places. I want to find people who are already passionate about my cakes, so I only advertise on my website, Facebook and Twitter sites. Passion can often be more important than experience.

l Trust your instincts. You have to work with this person you need to like them, but they need to understand you are their boss.

l If you pay minimum wage, you will get minimum commitment. Paying a reasonable wage will ensure a much smaller staff turnover.

l Be clear what their duties are. If you need them to stand at a mixer and make icing for eight hours a day, let them know early on.

l Identify what jobs you can 'give up' to the other person, but understand delegation will be very hard at first.

l Don't hire people who say they want to start their own business why train your future competitors? Ensure all your staff sign contracts and confidentiality agreements.

l As the company grows, allow long-standing staff to grow with it they put in the time doing the grunt work, now utilise this experience and train them to manage newer staff members.

l If you were planning on hiring someone to work two days a week for you, why not hire two people to work one day each? So if one doesn't work out you won't be left entirely stranded.

l Realise that no one loves your business as you do. This is their job, not their life.

Remember, your staff can be your most important asset or your biggest liability. Be rigorous when hiring, pay them a fair wage and always treat them like gold.




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