Ask the experts at Virgin Money plc

Hiring staff as a small business

31st October 2019, 10:45 am

If you have you reached the point where you can’t keep up with the demands of your business alone, it may be time to hire staff, or at least get some help. Hiring your first employees can seem daunting, but it’s a reflection that your business is growing so it’s generally good news. Below are some tips for taking that first step to expanding your team.

No matter how hard you work, or how many hours you spend on your business, there’s only so much you can do on your own. The decision to hire your first employee, or employees, is a large leap (usually forward), which can free you up to build the business.

How do I know it’s the right time?

If you’re having trouble making a decision about whether or not to take on staff, ask yourself:

  • Am I missing out on opportunities?

In other words, are you missing out on potential business because you’re not employing someone?

  • Am I overstressed?

Has the pressure crept up on you? Are you spending most of your days feeling harassed and stretched? Research from Yorkshire Bank this year showed many business owners sacrifice their work/life balance to run their enterprise. Read more on that here. Extra pairs of hands can help combat this.

  • What are my strengths?

If you’re feeling frustrated because you’re spending so much time on other tasks that you can’t concentrate on what you’re really good at, then it’s a good indicator you need someone to take over those tasks.

  • What’s making the most money?

Identify what brings in the most money. What part do you play in these core activities? How can you maximise the time you spend on these activities?

Banish those doubts

When people hesitate to employ staff, it’s usually because:

  • They’re concerned with the hassle of ‘paperwork’ – issues such as compliance, payroll tasks, and the various kinds of leave and employment agreements.
  • They’re worried they’ll hire the wrong person – issues such as how to dismiss an employee, the possibility of personal grievances, and how to handle it if the employee turns out to be unsuitable.

However, when you’ve asked yourself the above questions and they all point to the benefits of hiring, you shouldn’t be put off by the potential hassle of becoming an employer.

Calculate the total cost of employment

Employees can be a significant expense for your business, so it’s important to work out their total costs, which may include:

  • Their salary or wages
  • Your contributions to insurances and any employee benefits, health insurance etc
  • Equipment required for the job – computers, vehicles, uniform
  • Recruitment and training
  • Contribution to things they need on the job, such as a vehicle or phone

Calculate the potential

With an employee or employees, your business changes and it becomes all about achieving results through them as well as yourself.

Your employees can help bring in more revenue and customers and over time, you will even be able to step away from your business for short periods knowing your team will be running it efficiently for you!


Hiring can be scary, but it’s one of the most rewarding things about being a business owner. Employing others and helping them build a career and supporting their family is a big responsibility, but in return they will contribute to your business success and profit, meaning you can chase further growth.

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