When to Bring on New Employees and How to Not Mess It Up

Dec 9, 2020 | Business, Small Business

“Step with care and great tact. And remember: life’s a great balancing act.” – Dr. Suess, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Anyone who has started a business and watched it grow as a result of their hard work and long hours can usually recall the moment when they looked up and said (possibly out loud), “I need more help!”

No one can do it all themselves. And no one reaches the top alone. Sooner or later, you’re going to need to hire employees to take some of the load off of your shoulders. Otherwise, you’ll never really be able to focus on the things you can do best to grow your business.

Knowing when to hire is one of the great balancing acts in business. Knowing how to do it well can make the high wire act seem like walking on the ground.

Hiring a new employee can either be one of your company’s biggest money-makers or money-wasters. Most small business owners are just winging it when it comes to knowing when and how to hire new employees. And a lot of them end up regretting the hires they make.

It shouldn’t be that way! You deserve better.


  1. Hire when you can afford it. This is where knowing your numbers matters. Before you think about hiring, take a good look at your revenue. How steady is it? What are your primary sources? Do you have a steady stream of incoming proposals? Look for patterns that can help you forecast future growth.
  2. Hire when you really need the help. Hiring too soon or too late can have expensive consequences. Look to your current employees (or your current workload if flying solo) for these indicators to determine if it’s time to expand or just time to reorganize:
    • Your team is overworked, and barely keeping up; regularly putting in overtime hours. Make sure your processes are as efficient as possible before hiring more people, though.
    • Your team is busy, but unproductive; overall profits are low. Again, examine your internal processes. Also, make sure your billing methods are running efficiently to get you paid on time for the work you’re already doing.
    • Your team is busy, profits are high, and prospects are steady. This is the best time to hire…after you’ve made sure your existing operations are running as smoothly as possible and you can see a steady flow of work in the pipeline.
  3. Hire when you are losing money doing tasks someone else could do. At first, as a solopreneur or small startup, you wear every hat all the time. But eventually, you find yourself unable to do the high value jobs that grow your business because you’re having to do the menial functions that don’t generate revenue.
    • Consider part-time employees. For example, if someone could work a few hours a week boxing and shipping your products, you’d free up more time to make those products. The value of your time during those hours is much higher than whatever you’d be paying that person.
    • Consider Outsourcing. When it comes to administrative tasks (like bookkeeping, payroll, and HR), you can outsource those roles and free up significant amounts of time and money with very little overhead. (Full disclosure: these are the kinds of services we at CRS CPA help businesses and individuals with every day.)


Grow your business with the right people. A bad hire will cost you unbelievable time and money…not to mention stress and headaches. A good hire will make more money for your business than it costs to keep them, and they’ll help create a culture that works hard, gets things done, and is enjoyable along the way.

  1. Take your time! Too many people hire the first candidate who comes along without finding out if that person is actually a good fit or not. Go slowly in your hiring process. Have multiple interviews over several weeks (since anyone can put on a good act for one meeting). If possible, have them interview with more than one person.

    This PDF from Dave Ramsey’s company details their 12-step hiring process, and is an excellent resource.
  2. Cover your bases. Once you find the right person, make sure you’ve got all of the administrative boxes checked…and do it before they start work. It’s easy to overlook some basic things and end up wasting time and money.

    This new hire checklist from Indeed.com is helpful.
  3. Make the first day count. If you’ve done the first two steps well, you won’t have a stranger sitting in your conference room filling out mindless HR forms for hours as a way of saying “welcome aboard.”

    Instead, you and your existing team will be eagerly awaiting their arrival. And they’ll feel genuinely welcome. The result will be that they’ll acclimate faster, sense the high bar of expectations, and be more motivated to deliver great results. For more on this idea, check out our previous post, How to Maximize Your Onboarding Process.

    (Pro tip: have the new hire come to work 2 hours later than everyone else. This and more are covered in this article from Entrepreneur.com.) 

Having worked with hundreds of clients for over 40 years, we have seen the good and bad that can come with every hire businesses make. Our team not only understands the financial implications of a strong hiring process, we also know what it’s like to love our work and the people we work with.

Give us a call, and let us help as your business grows.

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