No matter the company, its size, products, or services offered, the most risky and difficult thing you will ever do over the life of your company is hire an employee. It is precisely for this reason that you should put it off for as long as you can. You’ve got thousands, and perhaps millions invested in your startup. It is all put at risk by the unfortunate judgement of a single person in your employ, acting in an official capacity on company time.
The reason for this is that it is terribly difficult to distance yourself from an employee. Getting rid of an employee is exceedingly difficult, and caries its own legal risks. Humans are unpredictable. You never know what they are going to do when away from the office. How they behave during such times reflects on your company. A perfect example of this was reported by Cnet a few short years ago:
Two RIM execs got so drunk on a plane that they had to be restrained while the plane was diverted. It is now revealed that they chewed through their restraints. They were, indeed, fired.
Your small startup simply can’t afford the baggage of unnecessary risk. That is just one reason why, at least in the early days, you should consider a third-party staffing agency. That way you can staff up without lawyer-ing up, unless, of course, the staff you need is a legal team. Not all staffing services are created equally. Some specialize in providing a particular type of staff, such as factory labor.
Kelly Services’ staffing solutions is an example of a generalist agency that can provide a broad level of worker in a broad variety of fields. Both types have their strengths and weaknesses. Just know that whatever your staffing need, there is a staffing solution that does not require you to hire anyone directly. The risk is just one reason you should not hire anyone as a startup. Here are two more:
As a Startup, You Never Know What You Are Going to Need
Your startup involves providing legal research to trial attorneys. You assume that the first thing you need to do is stock up on paralegals. So you hire ten paralegals, ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, your security infrastructure has been hacked. You are going to need all new machines. You will also need better security procedures, and perhaps some custom software. All those paralegals you hired are sitting around doing nothing, and expecting to be paid. You have a problem.
A staffing service provides a greater amount of flexibility. When you need a room full of paralegals, you can get them. But when you need to change that to a room full of IT specialists, you can do that. This is the power of third-party staffing for startups. At the beginning of a venture, things are too fluid to predict. Flexible staffing allows you to get exactly the staff you need throughout changing circumstances.
Growth and Relocation
What every entrepreneur wants is for their small business to become a big business. That means that, eventually, it is going to have to outgrow the garage in which it started. But what happens when it outgrows the city? You are ready to open your first office elsewhere. Are you equally ready to foot the relocation bill for your employees? While some will want to go to the new place, it will never be enough. During your growth spurt, you need a staffing solution that can grow with you, whether you are adding new locations, or relocating old ones.
Starting a business is scary, uncertain, and fluid. These are not even the only reasons why adding an employee into the mix is a bad idea. If you are successful, there will come a time when you need to do the personnel department, and the whole nine yards. Opening day is not that time.