As a lifelong recruiter, starting my business at 27 years old meant I could finally hire my dream team. But with only $8,000 seed money and a bootstrapped mentality, I found myself toying with the idea that so many entrepreneurs struggle with -- hiring junior employees on the cheap, thinking that you can train them up to eventually be able to take on more responsibilities.
However, no matter how clichéd it may sound, time is money, which is especially true when you are an entrepreneur. With the weight of launching a successful startup resting on your shoulders, you are going to need people around you who subtract to your workload now, not a promise of a lighter load down the road.
Not sure how to start hiring your core team? These are the three employees you should invest in and hire now when starting a new business.
1. Someone Way Smarter Than You
Unless you are one of the lucky few with startup capital to burn, money is always going to be tight when launching a new business. However, having gone through the process myself, I strongly recommend investing what you do have in your team and having your first hire be a senior-level employee.
Senior leadership roles elevate your company, even in its infancy. These are the team members who you can lean on for advice and counsel, and who you can count on to perform at a high level right away with minimum handholding.
Focus on quality over quantity, and don't be intimidated by candidates who you think are smarter than you. It's often those senior employees that get in on the ground floor who shape your business the most, so be choosy and don't be afraid to wait to hire the right person -- even if it means reposting your job listing or conducting multiple rounds of interviews.
2. An Enthusiastic Go-Getter
Once you have established your leadership team (even if it's just a team of one or two), it is time to build out your junior staff. With any startup, you are looking for candidates who are natural go-getters and can jump in on any project, even if they have never done that task before.
Look for someone positive, motivated, and who challenges you to think differently. These interview questions are great to measure how creative a junior candidate can be.
3. A Lawyer You Can Trust
If there's one place you shouldn't skimp when determining hiring costs, it is finding a reliable employment lawyer for your new business.
From reviewing your company handbook (every company, no matter how small, needs to have one) to going over contracts, an employment lawyer you can trust is vital to the success of your startup.
Finding one means going beyond a simple Google search for "top employment lawyers in my area." Do your research, ask fellow entrepreneurs for recommendations, and follow up with reference checks. It may be one of your most costly line items in the beginning, but the benefits of finding a great lawyer early are invaluable.