You’re running your own business, and you’re busier than ever. You don’t want to turn work away, but you’re already spread too thin. So you’ve started to wonder: Is it time to hire your first employee?
Becoming an employer is a big decision. You don’t want to hire staff unless it’s absolutely necessary. But if you’re too swamped to keep up, your work will suffer, and you’ll lose the solid customer base you’ve worked so hard to build.
How to Know When It’s Time to Hire
Becoming a boss is a great idea if your business has grown enough to justify it. Make sure you’re hiring someone for the right reasons.
Here are a few things to ask yourself before you post that job ad:
- Can I afford to hire an employee right now?
Selecting someone who’s right for the job is just one piece of the puzzle. Do you have the cash flow to pay an employee consistently and to cover the required taxes and insurance? Do you have the space and equipment the employee needs, or will that cost extra? Hiring people is a financial as well as an administrative responsibility, and you must be certain you can handle everything that comes with it.
- Is work steady enough to support an employee long-term?
Sporadic work is OK if it’s just you, but when you add a new hire who’s expecting a regular paycheck, you need to deliver. Work had better be steady. Are new customers finding you easily? Is there continued demand for your product or service? Are your customers sticking with you for more than one project or longer than a few months? Evaluate carefully, because you don’t want to have to lay someone off soon after hiring them.
- Am I working as efficiently as I can?
It’s important, to be honest here: Do you really need help, or do you want help because life would be easier? There’s a big difference, and the decision could make or break your business. Hiring an employee will cut into your overall profits (at least initially). If you can handle the workload by being a bit more organized or more efficient, make every effort to do it yourself. But if business is booming and there’s simply too much to do, it’s time to start interviewing.
- Am I missing deadlines?
Meeting deadlines is fundamental to keeping customers happy. If you find you can’t keep up anymore, adding an employee could start to pay back immediately through higher customer retention. Plus, having someone else focus on current customers means you can focus on finding new ones.
- Is there business expertise I need but don’t have?
If your customers are demanding services you’re not trained to provide, you should find someone to fill in the gaps. You don’t want your customers going elsewhere because your business falls short. Hiring someone whose expertise complements your own skills will help you take advantage of the demand.
Ready to Hire?
For expert guidance on hiring your first employee, download the free e-guide, So You Want to Be The Boss: A Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring Your First Employee, co-developed by ComplyRight and SCORE. It takes you through the entire hiring process, including best practices for recruiting and interviewing, an overview of federal and state employment regulations you need to know, guidelines for maintaining employee records, and more.
Also, don’t miss the free informational webinar on hiring your first employee, sponsored by ComplyRight and SCORE. For details, click here.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.