Friends have said how important it is to get the first hire right, but why is that and what should I look for in this first appointment?
A Even more important than the interview and appointment is the fact that you’re about to become a boss for the very first time.
You need to ask yourself if you’re prepared. Do you really know
what you want this new person to do? Are they taking on some of your work or branching out into new territory?
Do you need your new employee to work in an office beside you or could they work at home? Is this a full-time job or are you going to start it as part-time and build things up from there?
I could come up with a lot more questions, but you’ve probably got the message: be sure of why you want someone else to work for you.
There’s little point in telling you how to be a people manager – enough has already been written and you will learn much more by doing the job. But if you do choose to bring someone in, base your choice on personality.
Pick someone who you like and who has a lively interest in your business without giving a hint that they would want to take over and tell you what to do; you don’t want to spend the next year playing company politics. Look for a new friend who promises to be a loyal partner.
Your friends say that the first hire is vital because they have seen so many new ventures fall at this first and crucial hurdle, but anyone can get it wrong first time.
The real damage is done when you fail to admit the mistake and take too long to say goodbye.
Every new business needs plenty of luck and I hope that you get more than your fair share.
Q What do you think of what I see to be the latest trend in retail: the push to make shops about experiences.
I’ve seen virtual reality booths in clothes shops, cinemas at food stores, and even a barber’s shop at a bar. Is this a flash in the pan or a sign of where the high street is going?
A We don’t see much of this leading edge retailing in our part of Cheshire, but my London-based daughter confirms that for many under-40s, the priorities in life are experiences: less material things; more doing things.
A generation that sees little prospect of owning a home has developed a different outlook on life.
Attending a music festival, competing in Tough Mudder, going
on short winter breaks and having a big night out are all experiences that start with a long period of anticipation and produce lasting memories to be shared on social media. It’s a lot more fun than picking plugs and taps for a new bathroom.
It’s good to hear that new ideas are due to hit the high street;
we depend on new retail formats to keep shopping streets alive.
But bold entrepreneurs need to know that it’s estimated that less
than 10pc of new ideas trade for more than 10 years. So I don’t hold much hope for the cat cafés where, for an extra cover charge, a feline will be your friend while you linger over a cup of coffee.
However, the big space experience retailers (cinemas, bowling alleys and theme restaurants) will continue to bring young crowds and a real boost to lots of shopping centres.
I particularly hope that the bar barber shop gets the success that it deserves because, over the next few months, Timpson will be testing portable “barber pods” that will appear in supermarket car parks.
It’s a retail experience that can’t be bought on the internet.