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Posted November 01, 2022
| Updated November 10, 2022

6 Hiring Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

As you grow your business, you will inevitably need to hire help. If you’ve never been an employer before, there are certain pitfalls you need to avoid that many business owners make. Here’s your guide to what not to do in hiring staff.

1. Not Knowing Your Needs

Once you start a business, your responsibilities will grow quickly. You know you need help, but maybe you assume a part-time secretary will fit the bill. Only you need her to take on your social media management, answer the phones, and manage your accounting. You find out too late, only after you’ve hired her, that the job is more than she’s qualified for.

It’s important that you assess what your hiring needs are before you start the search. Do you need a full-time or part-time person? What areas do you need help with? What level of expertise do you need? What’s your budget?

2. Hiring the Wrong Type of Person

Full-time and part-time employees aren’t your only option in hiring. You can also consider hiring an intern, freelancer, or firm to help you, depending on your needs. A full-time employee can be a budget-breaker, especially when you factor in health insurance, payroll taxes, and other payroll benefits that come out of your pocket. With the other options, you can pay for what you need and hire on a per-project basis.

Interns are ideal if you have easy and menial tasks that don’t require a great deal of experience, like making copies or some light writing. A freelancer or firm is best for web development, graphic design, as well as copywriting.

3. Waiting Too Long

If you put off hiring because you think you’ve got a handle on doing everything yourself, you may find out the hard way that this was a mistake. If you wait until you’re desperate for an employee, you put yourself in an awkward position. Now you have to train that person to take over the tasks and duties you’ve been doing, and if it’s crunch time, it may be a challenge to do this.

Hire when the need arises but before it gets dire. You need time to plan to transition your tasks to someone new, as well as provide enough time for training.

4. Hiring Before You’re Ready

The opposite mistake of the last one is jumping the gun on hiring. If you hire before you know what you need or before you have taken the time to fully flesh out the roles of the new hire, you could end up wasting that person’s time — not to mention your money — while you figure it out.

Get a plan in place for your hiring needs first. As you write your job description, create a separate but similar list with everything this person will need to do on a daily basis. Then put together training materials. That way you’ll be prepared.

5. Hiring Family or Friends

You love the people in your life, but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily make good employees. Working with friends or family can put a strain on your personal relationship, so don’t “do a friend a favor” by hiring her, or you might regret it.

Now, if a friend or family member genuinely would make a good employee, consider this option, but make it clear that there is a line between your work relationship and your personal one.

6. Not Checking References

You have a good feeling about a candidate you just interviewed, so you skip the boring step of checking references and hiring her. But later you come to find out that she lied on her resume, or that she was fired from her last three jobs. Knowing this upfront could help you from a disastrous hire.

Hiring employees is a big step for a small business. Be smart about it, and be clear on what you need.

<a href="" target="_self">Nellie Akalp</a>

Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids. As CEO of, she has helped more than half a million entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Akalp is nationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing frequently to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and Fox Small Business. A passionate entrepreneur herself, Akalp is committed to helping others take the reigns and dive into small business ownership. Through her public speaking, media appearances, and frequent blogging, she has developed a strong following within the small business community and has been honored as a Small Business Influencer Champion three years in a row.

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