Search for your superstar – Essential advice for employing your first member of staff

15th February 2017

You’ve done it. You’ve developed a fantastic business idea, written a business plan, completed your financial forecasts and possibly received a start-up loan. You’ve launched your business and are now flat-out busy managing the day-to-day activities involved in running your new venture. Nobody said that starting a business was easy and you may feel like your head is spinning at a million miles an hour, unable to keep up with a constantly increasing to-do list. Now is the time for you to work smarter, not harder and consider employing your first member of staff.

Adding an additional member to your team can significantly improve your business efficiency and can give you time to focus on your strategic vision. You may be reluctant to share your business with another person, however, for fear of them being more of a hindrance than a help. If you want something done well you have to do it yourself, right?

Not necessarily. If you hold off on employing staff you risk your business being unable to deliver, either on quality or quantity, because you just don’t have enough hours in the day. Worse still, your business could stagnate. Without enough manpower to continue the momentum of your initial hard work and launch activity, you could fade into the background of your customer landscape – an all too common pitfall for start-up businesses. So take the leap and start your search for a superstar who shares your business vision.

Before you rush off and place a job advertisement for your dream teammate, take on board these four pieces of advice to ensure you hire the right person for your business.

1. Hire for potential not just previous experience

This is a great place to start and putting some thought into this decision will ensure you hire someone who can not only fulfil your current requirements, but that has the scope to grow with your business and take on new responsibilities in the future. At the moment you may just need someone to look after your social media accounts but in the future, as your business expands, you may require a marketing manager to create strategic plans, deliver multi-faceted campaigns and provide in-depth reports on KPIs. The assistant that you hire today could become a manager in the future, if provided with the right support and training.

Although this all sounds great in theory, not every applicant shares this goal of career progression and likewise, not every applicant will have the required aptitude. If you want to build a strong, core team right from the beginning, it’s crucial that you consider applicant's potential in addition to their existing skills and experience. Many business leaders and directors of today have been working with the same company since the early days and have been duly rewarded for their loyalty.

2. Find someone who shares your vision

Your business is your baby. It has grown from your initial idea into the real-life business that it is today and it’s all because of you. You have a vision for the future of your business and a drive to see it realised. Anyone that you recruit to join your team must share your vision and demonstrate a genuine passion for the business; otherwise you are setting yourself up to be perpetually disappointed.

A start-up business, or any business in its early stages of growth, requires a certain level of passion to ensure its success. You aren’t running an established business with a comfortable cushion of regular clients and a large profit margin – every hour, every penny counts. You need to recruit someone who can clearly see the future of your business and that wants to be a part of it. You have put a lot of time and effort into creating a good reputation for your business and a wrong hire could undo all of your hard work.

3. Consider your business culture

When launching a business it will naturally take on aspects of your personality. Your business can be, in a sense, an extension of yourself, but when you begin building a team of people around you this can quickly be lost in and amongst personality clashes and different working styles. Right from the get go it is important to establish a positive business culture so that not only will you still enjoy going to work everyday, but your employees will too. A unified business culture can improve productivity, increase retention rates and soften the impact of workplace stress.

Your first employee will act as the foundation of your business culture and will set the example for all other future hires. You need to recruit someone who understands the culture you’re trying to create. Your team need to get along well with each other both professionally and personally, as you will be working closely together in the early stages of your business. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your first hire needs to be a clone of yourself, but that you share common interests or values and that you’ll be able to establish a trusting relationship.

4. Search for your superstar

The final piece of advice before you begin your recruitment mission is to keep searching for your superstar. Don’t search for an ‘ok’ or a ‘they’ll do’, don’t compromise and don’t settle until you’ve found the individual that is passionate and committed to advancing your business. Working for a start-up business has ups and downs and your first employee needs to ride the waves with you, sharing your vision and giving it all they’ve got. There is a superstar out there that’s perfect for your business; you just have to find them. It’s easy to get disheartened after conducting lengthy interviews and still not striking gold, but not only can hiring the wrong person do damage to your business, but it may result in dismissal and another lengthy recruitment process.

This works both ways too. If you come across a superstar but you aren’t currently recruiting, don’t let them go! Superstars are invaluable to your business so do whatever you can to make room for them, whether that’s sacrificing a portion of your own salary or being more flexible with working arrangements, it will more than pay off in the long run.

Receive a 1-2-1 assessment with an experienced, independent business adviser who’ll review your business and formulate your next steps for employing your first member of staff. You will also receive three years of on-going business support, free Chamber of Commerce membership and support with any funding that you may require. Get in touch today.

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