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Productivity / Growth

Four steps to hiring your first employee

Thing are getting busier in your solo business and you need help. But where do you start? Try these four steps.

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It’s a tough decision! 

I know exactly how you feel. You have loved and nurtured your business. You have invested hours and hours of sweat and tears to get where you are today. But how do you know if you’re ready to hire? And what tasks will you give your new employee? Let’s answer these questions by looking at a simple four step process. 

1. Work out if you can afford an employee 

The best way to work out if you can afford an employee is by forecasting your income targets for the next 12 months, and then adding in an assumption of, If I have someone to do X, enabling me to do Y, what impact would this have on my forecast? (I am assuming here that you have a business plan, and if you don’t, it’s a good idea to formulate one.) 

2. Ascertain and group your current tasks 

Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you do in a week, yes everything, and allocate a time to it. Once you have completed this, leave it for a couple of days and return to it; you will have discovered even more tasks. And think about this, what tasks might need doing over the coming months? 

"If based on your forecasting you believe that you are in a strong position to hire, then go for it!"

The next step is to group similar tasks into categories such as social media, finance, technology or business development. 

3. Consider which tasks to delegate 

It’s now time for some honest reflection, and this can be hard. What are you good at? What are your strengths and what do you need to focus on to grow your business? What can someone do better or quicker than you?

Part of the challenge of being a soloist is that you can learn most things, but this may not be the best use of your skills or precious time. 

Put a red circle around the tasks that you can delegate. Did you have your list? If not, have another goal. Also think about your ‘end game’, what is your intent for your business? Is it to sell in three years or something else? How can having an employee help to reach your goals? 

4. Look for staff, paid and unpaid. 

With the list of tasks that you are comfortable to delegate, think about the people around you who may be able to help. My sister worked for me accumulating hours which were then paid back when we were more cashed up. Family members are wonderful. 

You might also have a mum or dad who might be willing to volunteer some time and skills to get you started. Another alternative is to outsource some of the tasks, such as marketing, social media or bookkeeping. 

If based on your forecasting you believe that you are in a strong position to hire, then go for it! Most growing businesses need more than one employee to sustain growth. 

What steps did you follow when hiring your first employee?

Natasha Hawker

helps SMEs understand the challenges their businesses face and unlocks the mysteries of effective HR. She is the co-owner of Employee Matters and author of From Hire to Fire: Everything in Between".

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