The entrepreneur perspective on getting to 50 employees 

Richard Healy discusses how to navigate the road to acquiring the right staff for your new business.

Richard Healy discusses how to navigate the road to acquiring the right staff for your new business.  

After raising your first round of funding you might feel the need for a well-deserved break, but sadly, it is only the first of a long stream of challenges you will face when starting up your own business. Once you’ve got the initial funding, the next, and arguably most important, challenge is growing your business from start to 50 employees.

This phase in your business’s development is vital to get right, as it will define its nature for years to come. This is also possibly the most stressful time when building a business, as it will involve long days of interviewing, pitching, and decision making. It is important to remember through all of this that you are laying the foundations. Although it can be overwhelming at times, the future of your business rests on this crucial building phase. Putting in the extra time and energy is likely to pay off in the long run, no matter how draining it feels at the time.

That being said, there are several important steps you need to get right as you build the company from one to 50.

Possibly the most important task is hiring your first 50 employees. Hiring the right people for a company is always a challenge, no matter what stage of development it is in. But when you’re just in the beginning phases, it is key that you hire the best people possible. After all, your first 50 employees are the ones who will help to establish the culture and tone of the business, and can mean the difference between failure and success.

As you hire your first employees, it is important to decide what values you hope will guide your business as it grows. Employing people who share in your vision will ensure the necessary passion and drive to build the proper foundations for a successful business. Another helpful tip is to take a moment to reflect upon your own weaknesses. You hope to cover all the bases with your management team, but no one expects you to do it all yourself. Recognising where you tend to fall short is a good opportunity to hire people whose strengths are compatible with your weaknesses. This will help you to create a well-rounded management team who can provide comprehensive leadership.

Once you have started hiring employees, it is time to develop a company culture. This is something that comes with time, and is a sum of a number of aspects of the business, including employees, company values, and company practices.

That being said, it is advisable to have an idea of the culture you wish to promote as you build your company. This can be as simple as talking with your early hires and finding out what makes them tick. Playing into the passions of your employees will give them a sense of ownership, and as a result they will have that much more of an invested interest in the future of the company. Another way to contribute to culture is to establish company traditions that make you unique. Creating company-specific activities that build morale and engagement is a great way to create culture, or reinforce it once you’ve got a few years under your belt. 

Finally, any new business needs to win its first customers. Winning new customers is challenging for any business, but when you’re a new face in the market with little experience and few references, it is especially difficult. Try to find customers who are loyal to your company and are invested in your success. Good customers will expect quality service, but will also focus on your successes, not just your failures.

These are just three of the many tasks you will need to complete as you grow your business from start to fifty employees. It will be a demanding time, but carefully laying these foundations will allow you to grow and prosper for years to come.

Further reading on employing staff

Richard Healy

Richard Healy

Richard Healy is the co-founder of BaseKit.

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