Hiring Employees

How to Hire Your First Employee

Written by James Garvin for Gaebler Ventures

You got your startup off the ground and are ready to hire your first employee. That first employee is a crucial step forward in your business that should ultimately fill a void in your skill sets to provide the greatest contribution for your company.

As entrepreneurs, we like to do it all, however for a business to scale and succeed we ultimately need to surround ourselves with a team that compliments our skill sets and can bring our dreams to reality.

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, making your first hire is a critical one. There are so many tasks that need to get done, but employees usually fill a specific role, such as sales, marketing, IT, or finance. It is unrealistic to hire someone to "do it all."

Looking at which role you should hire for first can be a challenge for many small business owners ready to take the leap to grow their business. The last thing you want to do is hire a person that can do exactly what you do best. Find employees that compliment your skills sets. For example, if you've been leading the sales efforts for your business and plan on continuing to be the lead sales manager for your company, hiring another sales manager may not be the best role to fill depending on the firm, unless you have the ability to support additional customers and sales with your operations.

If you are not a sales manager, sales management is one of the earlier roles you should fill since top line revenue is ingredient #1 for any new start-up. Without revenue, there exists very little of anything else. Hiring a sales manager to bring in revenues and manage customer accounts allows you as a business owner to focus on the day to day operations of your business. Making sure the products are being produced in a timely fashion, ensuring your business infrastructure is in place to handle your planned growth, keeping the accounting books, managing direct marketing campaigns and more.

Sales is often the most time consuming yet most vital component for new businesses, so hiring a sales manager is usually the first step taken for a new business looking to expand beyond just the founders. Beyond the stereotype that sales managers are only motivated by commission, look to involve your sales manager in day to day decisions and strategy of the firm. Your sales manager has contact with your customers on every day and can bring back vital customer information that you may not have thought of or passed on.

As with any hiring process, trust and training will be crucial to ensuring a smooth hiring and management employee process. As a small business owner you need to be assured that your first employee has all of the right incentives to grow your business in the way that you want to grow it. Without a formal HR department or team of executives to help manage employee performance, small business owners can find it challenging to find the right employees that are self-motivated and willing to do what is necessary to help a small business grow. Involving your early employees in the strategy of your business will help your employee feel like they have a stake in the company and will help align their decisions and motivation with your ultimate goals.

James Garvin began his education studying biotechnology. In recent years he has turned his interest in technology to helping two internet startup companies. The first business was an online personal financial network and the second was an e-marketing platform created to help entrepreneurs demo their web sites. Currently a student at University of California Davis, James is spending his summer incubating two new online businesses and writing about his entrepreneur experiences.

Share this article

Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Lists of Venture Capital and Private Equity Firms

Franchise Opportunities


Business Glossary


Conversation Board

We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.

Leave a Reply

Questions, Comments, Tips, and Advice

Email will not be posted or shared
Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code

Problem Viewing Image? Load New Code