Hiring your first employee must happen at the right time, not early nor late. Some entrepreneurs think that the only thing they need for success is money. They believe that if money is not there, they will fail. When they don’t have money to hire, they wonder how it is possible to start a company without first hiring some employees. Therefore, when they have money, they take early action at the wrong time. Those actions become mistakes which lead to the failure of the company. This scenario is very common in the Gulf states. One may admire the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Arabian Gulf. Entrepreneurs of the Gulf states are fascinating. However, there are those who make mistakes, but this is normal. Successful entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes .
The first advice regarding hiring your first employee
1) do it yourself first.
An entrepreneur should not start hiring employees immediately. He should get his hands dirty first. Because learning all the different aspects of the business is very important in the beginning. A typical entrepreneur may be an expert technician, but has no experience on how all company departments work. These departments are the future elements of his company. In the future, when something goes wrong, the entrepreneur must have the ability to identify errors. Even before the department manager reports the problem to him the owner should know that something is going wrong by observation. Sometimes, because of the experience of an entrepreneur, he feels that what is happening around him is wrong. This feeling will not come to the entrepreneur if he does not get his hands dirty before hiring his first employee. Instead, things will happen before his eyes and will not comment on them because he does not know that they are wrong.
A mistake an entrepreneur makes if he is rich:
Buying a vision for the company.
Yes, some entrepreneurs pay for the company vision. Don’t get me wrong. It is ok to have a brainstorming session with intelligent people to develop the vision that you already have. However, it is not ok to pay someone for creating a vision from scratch. An entrepreneur must strive to learn how to be a successful CEO. The CEO of a company executes tasks that no one else is able to do. He has the qualification and the competence of a CEO. Among these qualifications, owning the company vision. The entrepreneur with his own vision deserves the title of CEO.
Hiring the wrong first employee.
Sometimes, when an entrepreneur finds someone giving him a company vision, he hires him to implement the same. But he does not give him the title of CEO. This aspiring CEO becomes then the first employee of the company. After that, the entrepreneur will have a vision adjusted to the vision of that person, and a conflict occurs between the two visions. Most often, the man does not agree with the owner because the first believes in his vision and wants to hold onto it. Therefore, they get separated after a while. However, things start going this way in terms of staffing.
The entrepreneur leaves the aspiring CEO hiring employees and managing the startup his own way. While it looks like he is doing an HR job, he is not a qualified HR officer. He is just an ambitious person with a vision. When the aspiring CEO says that he needs to hire an HR expert, the Entrepreneur refuses. “I hired you for doing such things.”, the entrepreneur exclaims. Consequently, things don’t go properly because the entrepreneur didn’t own a vision and the first person he hired didn’t serve the startup directly. The candidate doesn’t have HR experience in case the first person to hire should be an HR expert. Once you got your hands dirty and learned all the ins and outs of the business from a prospective of an operating company, hire someone.
In this case have two scenarios:
- you can’t do it yourself anymore. In this case you need to spend time managing the business more than working in the company as a technician. In this way, you are giving the business a chance to expand.
- you still can do it yourself. But you refuse requests for services that come because you work alone. And you believe that it is fine to do so. You are killing your business at the cradle stage. This is similar to raising up a child who is growing up, but you refuse to buy him a medium-size T-shirt insisting that the small-size T-shirt should be fine.
2) Hiring your first employee must have a direct impact on the revenue.
Ask yourself a simple question. Does the candidate I want to hire has a direct impact on the revenue? If yes, hire him. If No, don’t. Furthermore, Keep your eyes on the break-even-point. Some entrepreneurs reach the break-even-point while working alone. Others may need to hire employees in order to reach the break-even-point. So, if reaching the break-even-point requires some technical experience that you can’t learn, hire someone. Don’t postpone hiring staff till you make more money. And yes, pay from your pocket so long as you have a plan to reach the break-even-point with your team.
3) Don’t hire managers.
Have you decided on hiring your first employee? Don’t go by the book. In other words, don’t look at the way big companies hire people and start hiring. Hire young people who are ready to stick to your vision. They should be the type of people that don’t need to be managed. Additionally, you don’t need managers. The initial stage of the company is very critical. You are the only person who knows how tasks should be executed. Hire young people who are ready to learn. Most of the managers believe that they have enough experience and don’t need someone to tell them what to do.
In conclusion, be careful while hiring your first employees. An entrepreneur needs to pay attention to different aspects when start hiring. Hiring is difficult. You will make mistakes. But try to reduce the impact of those mistakes by trying to understand the proper way of hiring your first employee.
Muhammad Helmy is a Business coach, Lawyer, Training package designer and Content writer. When coaching, Muhammad Helmy considers not only assisting Entrepreneur in solving the startup problems, but also developing a business model that offers unique value to the community.