So imagine this: you started a small business, and you’ve been able to successfully manage it on your own all this while.
Your profits are going up, and you’ve got a good gut feeling that
it’s time to start thinking of expanding your business and moving it to the next level.
This means you need to make your first hire.
You’ve done a time audit and you know where your time is going. You’ve identified the areas where you should be spending less time on (for example, in front of the copy machine), and where you should be spending more time on (for example, networking and speaking to potential clients).
You’ve also assessed your budget and you know exactly how much you can afford to spend on salaries for your employee.
All this is great! It means you’re off to a good start.
Now that you’re ready to take action, it’s time to determine the terms of making that first hire: what position should he or she fill, and should it be on a full-time or part-time basis?
Many entrepreneurs are quick to assume that hiring the first employee means having them work for the business full-time. While that seems like a natural step to take, it’s a far cry from the hard truth.
Let me share with you my first experience of hiring someone when I first started my business. I was on my own, so naturally, I was doing everything from meeting clients to making tea and keeping the office clean.
I couldn’t quite afford to hire a tea lady or full-time cleaner, but it was clear to me that I should be spending more time meeting clients and closing sales, not vacuuming the floor.
So what did I do?
I got my friend’s cleaner to come and do some cleaning and some very general work, like photocopying, for two hours every day.
I paid her by the hour, and at the end of the month, I ended up paying less than RM300! That was far more affordable than getting a full-time cleaner or tea lady, and I still managed to get done what I wanted to accomplish.
That’s not to say that your first employee should be a part-timer.
This is a decision for you to make on your own, after you’ve considered all the pros and cons of hiring either a full-time, or part-time employee.
Getting a full-time employee
I have a full-time team working alongside me today. They are committed to their jobs and the company, and they’re constantly motivated to give their best.
The relationship I have with each of them goes much deeper, and is much more meaningful than the kind of relationship I shared with the part-time cleaner I first hired.
For the people who are working with me full-time, they’re in it for the long haul.
That’s just one of the many reasons why hiring a full-time employee can do wonders for your business.
Now let’s look at the flip side.
Hiring someone full-time also means you need to allocate more from your budget. Salaries being the main consideration, there are also the fringe benefits that employees are offered, from petrol allowance to health benefits and insurance coverage.
Getting a part-time employee
The most obvious advantage of hiring someone part-time, is reduced costs.
You pay them only for the hours, or amount of work that they produce, and more often than not, they don’t come with fringe benefits attached.
My story about the part-time cleaner I got is the perfect example.
However, it’s also true that you won’t get the same level of commitment from part-time employees.
They are very rarely involved in your goals and visions, and at the end of the day, they think of your business as entirely YOUR business, not something that they can grow with together.
Getting interns on board may also be a good way to start. Many youngsters these days are highly talented, willing to learn and, given the right opportunities, ready to shine.
Being much more affordable, you can utilise the time during which your interns are on board to grow your business to a stage where a full-time position is within reach.
What’s better, if a particular intern shows potential, you can offer them that full-time position after their internship!
That’s a win-win situation!
As you can see, there are pros and cons to getting either full-time or part-time employees.
Your decision should be made depending on the kind of business you have, and the level of commitment you expect from your first hire. At the same time, don’t limit yourself.
Think outside the box and find other, more creative ways to get the help you need without burning a hole in your wallet.
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