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Chapter 13 of 16

How to find employees

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How to find employees

Most small businesses start out with just one worker – the owner. But you may need extra people right from the start. So where do you begin?

What kind of skills do you need?

Employment needs can vary a lot. You may need:

  • a generalist, for help with a variety of tasks

  • someone with certified skills, such as a plumber

  • someone with technical skills, such as a developer

  • someone with soft skills, such as a sales rep

Every trade and profession has their own expectations about work and pay. Other businesses in your industry are going to be able to tell you a lot about how to find, recruit, and keep the right people.

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Nine ways to find employees

Not that long ago, businesses used to find employees by putting a classified ad in the local paper. It’s not so simple anymore. There are dozens of in-person and digital networks to use.

Here are some ways to start your search:

Find employees through colleagues, job boards, social media, LinkedIn, online recruiter services, tertiary institutes etc

If you’re trying to get people in your network to help, consider offering a finder’s fee. The promise of a little cash bonus can be very motivating, and you only have to pay if you hire their candidate.

For more, check out our complete guide to hiring staff.

What to pay them

It’s never easy to settle on a pay rate. There are industry norms for a lot of jobs, but they can vary from area to area. There are also lots of people out there who are motivated by things other than money. What you can’t offer in cash, you could make up for in time off, training and mentoring, or flexible hours that enable a better work-life balance.

Check out our guide, How much should I pay my employees?

Payroll expenses: can you afford them?

Before you start recruiting, you need to know if you can afford an employee. Go back to your budget and add in wages or salary as a cost.

If you’re not sure what you’d have to pay someone, use a website like Payscale to get a rough idea. Better still, ask a local business that employs people with the same type of skills.

If your budget won’t stretch far enough, consider hiring someone part-time, or taking on contractors. Check our guide to hiring an independent contractor or employee.

How to start a business when you can’t afford the help

You might have a great idea that you can’t execute without a specialist like an engineer or a sales rep. But what if you can’t afford their salary or wage?

You could offer a deal where you give them a share of profits, a share in the business, or a deferred salary. Create a legal agreement before entering an arrangement like this. It needs to cover what happens if the relationship breaks down, including who owns the work that’s been done and what you would owe them.

Complying with the law

There are a lot of laws around pay, benefits, leave, health and safety, and more. It’s a good idea to check a government site for the latest requirements.

You could also search for an accountant or bookkeeper with payroll experience in the Xero advisor directory.

Chapter 14: Create a website

Need to create a website but feeling lost? We step you through the process, from registering a web address to writing and launching your site.

Read chapter 14


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There’s a lot to learn when starting a business. From writing a business plan to hiring your first employees and promoting your business, this guide has got you covered.

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