What entrepreneurs are telling Inc. about hiring and firing

"Hiring our first salesperson was a disaster. We let him stay for nine months, though he hadn't made a sale. It was hard to let him go. We wanted it to work out. We let our emotions override our business sense." --Founder, New York City graphic-design company

"I've learned never to hire anyone quickly. Last year we got into interactive multimedia and hired an entire department full of people. None of them are here this year." --Founder, Missouri communications agency

"Firing is the hardest thing I've had to do. The first time it took me four to five months. The employee was a friend and had been with me from the beginning. I met with her every month and explained what I expected and what had to change. But she was too inefficient, and the situation created turmoil with other employees. Finally, I didn't have a choice." --President, $2-million California manufacturer