Hiring the First Employee

Hiring the first employee can be a major milestone in a small business, and it was for me, i was frightened as i was not sure that i would be able to meet payroll at the end of the month and hence opted to start with an intern whom i could first observe for a while and see how they perform as i also figure out the payroll obligation, this also tells you i started out on the wrong footing, it is like wanting to have a baby but you prefer to start with a really small baby so that everything you buy is in triple SSS size and not triple XXX (extra large).

Well you can imagine what it is like starting with a pre-term baby, everything is really hard as you have to incubate, then keep warm, then look for special diapers, check the temprature every three hours and lots of other small detail that would otherwise not be to critical if you had a healthy 4 kilo baby like all of mine. It was just the same if not worse with the intern since at least with a pre-term baby you will be well informed at the onset of the difficulty, with an intern i assumed they would catch up as time moved by, would learn the ropes as they watch me do it. But i had hired an intern who was not qualified in the area of specialty of the ICT business i ran. He messed up goofed and spoiled everything that i had built up to then, and when i things went wrong i blamed myself and gave him more time of course until the damage was so acute i could no longer ignore it.

It happened one day when after six months in the sales department and there being so little to show for it i decided to ask him if we could go visit the prospects he had been visiting and see what has the bottle neck? Off we went to the first office, and they denied having ever met him. So i though to myself may be he was under some pressure due to my presence and got confused, I politely excused ourselves and decided that we should move on to the next prospect on his list for the day, so he said we should move on from Ngong road to Westlands AACC building  and we swiftly moved to the next prospect, they atleast confirmed that they were not yet ready so we needed to move one to the next prospect lo and a behold while in the lift he took out a single page torn off from the Yellow Pages and looked up the next contact to go to. I was dismayed by this action but what broke the camels back is when he said that he had torn it off from the office yellow pages since the directory was to bulky to carry around. i finally realized that i had hired a mad man in the name of an intern cum sales rep.

You do not want to imagine what took place after the doors of the lift opened up but that was the last time i saw him.

Business Lessons:

1. Hire when you are ready to hire the best in the market.

2. Hire attitude and aptitude, that is people with the right attitude and also the ability to  learn quickly and easily > smart people.

3. If you have made a mistake in hiring correct it quickly and move on blaming yourself and not doing anything about it just makes the situation worse.