You lack the fund, you lack the expertise, but you still want to hire skilled people who you can trust.
So how do entrepreneurs build their teams? Most of the time, they end up hiring their family and friends.
Hey, I've been down that road before. Back when I launched my home service business, I hired my mom, dad and stepdad.
I have to say, I got lucky -- my family members had the right attitude and skills to help me grow my business, and I didn't experience any major problems with them.
But what I see, more often than not, is businesses failing because they hired their family and friends.
Why does this happen?
Well, it's very hard to be impartial when you're dealing with friends and family in a work environment. And when you've got to make tough decisions involving people you have a personal relationship with, this typically creates a lot of drama.
If you really want to go ahead and hire family and friends, make sure you proceed with caution. Here are three things you can do to make the situation easier:
1. Make sure they truly fit
It might be tempting to hire a friend who's willing to work hard for your business, but doesn't truly fit the position you are hiring for.
Remember, your goal is to build a team of people who can help you tackle the key challenges your business is facing and who are also a good culture fit. This will help your business to thrive, and attract even more top performers.
In my case, I knew that my mom, dad and stepdad had the right attitude. They were willing to work their ass off to help me grow the business. Each of them also brought different skills to the table.
2. Put someone between you and them
I'm telling you right off the bat -- it's impossible to not be biased when dealing with family and friends. That's just how it is.
So if possible, have your friends and family report to someone else. This way, this person can be 100 percent fair and treat them like everyone else.
What if you can't do that, because you don't have any other managers? Try your very best to be professional -- at least in the office. This means no inside jokes, no nicknames, and definitely no special treatment.
3. Set expectations from the beginning
Managing a team is all about communicating properly -- and this rule applies especially when you're working with friends and family.
Right from the start, let them know what their responsibilities are. On top of that, tell them that if they don't meet those expectations, they will be called out like any other employee. As the company grows, make sure you review their responsibilities and expectations so that they can grow together and not stay behind.
If someone isn't performing, don't hesitate to let them go. I once had to fire a friend of mine because he wasn't meeting expectations. It wasn't easy, and our friendship hasn't been the same ever since. Unfortunately, this can't be helped -- it's the price you pay for hiring family and friends.
Hiring friends and family is never easy. That said, there are several things you can do to make the situation more likely to work out. Be sure to hire only those who are a great fit, have them report to someone else if possible, and communicate expectations clearly from the beginning. Once you do these three things, that's half the battle won.