The phone is constantly ringing, you’re struggling to manage your diary – and don’t even mention the fact that you haven’t got around to any marketing or networking in the last month!
Sound familiar? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about bringing in an extra pair of hands.
It sounds scary, the thought of becoming an employer – but at this stage, what are your choices? You turn down work, and your business will always stay at this level, or bring in some help and you can continue to grow your business. But where do you even start?
First things first. Define clearly what it is you need. Where are the gaps? What are you not finding the time to do that is crucial to your business? Is it sales and business development? Is it marketing? Is it admin? Be honest with yourself, and get clear on exactly what it is that your business needs.
Next, be confident this is a long term requirement. Does your business have peaks and troughs? Is this a ‘peak’ that can be managed with temporary staff, or with freelancers? Don’t consider hiring someone unless you are extremely confident that this is a permanent need in your business.
Now, do a bit of research to find out if that person exists. Chances are, some of the gaps you identified will be in completely different areas, and unless you get super lucky, you’re unlikely to find someone who is an expert at everything. Unless you clearly need a specialist, perhaps look for someone who is used to working in smaller companies and wearing many ‘hats’. Often at this early stage of hiring it’s important to hire for attitude, not just skills. Someone who is just as happy making a client a cup of tea as they are representing your company at a networking event, answering calls, dealing with paperwork and updating social media pages.
Now we are getting there! Next up – define your offering to the marketplace. Salary (must be at least the National Minimum Wage) pension contribution (statutory only or would you offer a company pension?), bonuses, holiday, insurances, perks and policies (for instance maternity/paternity) are just some of the things you should consider – but also company culture. Arguably the culture will develop as the team grows, but it is up to you to set the tone and your expectations. Do you want your team to be super casual and dress down – or do you want a more formal, corporate suited and booted approach? The choice is yours.
Now we are ready to recruit. Using the info we have already gathered you should be in a great place to create a clearly defined job description and a super compelling advert (see previous blogs for advice and tips on both). Then create your recruitment strategy. A great marketing/advertising campaign, a purposeful interview process and a well navigated offer process should see you making the jump from self-employed to employer in a matter of weeks.
Once your brand new shiny team member has accepted your offer, do your due diligence, by undertaking right to work and DBS checks (if required). If everything is as it should be - get the offer in writing to them. Known as a statement of offer, it is the legal requirement for formally offering a candidate the job. The statement of offer should contain the complete details of the job and the offer (including any T&Cs). I personally prefer a contract – but be sure to get it checked over by an employment law consultant.
Make sure you take out relevant insurances, such as employers’ liability insurance, and anything else necessary to cover your business or place of work. On that subject, you will also have a duty of care to ensure your place of work is safe and secure for your employees – ensure any building work is completed (or is safe) before your new member of staff starts.
My final tip – set up a good payroll software system, or outsource the process to a bookkeeper.
Last but certainly not least – don’t forget to inform HMRC that you are registering as an employer!
And there you have it. You are officially an employer. Onwards and upwards to business growth.