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Why My First Business Succeeded (Part IV - Hiring)

Posted by Jake Kilroy | October 24, 2008
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/218230

My restaurant had a name now, "eEvita's." [To read about the exhausting naming process and hear some spunky recaps of childhood, check out Why My First Business Succeeded (Part III - Naming The Business)]

Now, it was time to hire. This was my business. This was my time to shine. Yes, I was only 6 years old, but I was really quite mature. I don't know when I first tied my shoelaces by myself, but I'm pretty sure it was well before most of the other kids.

The next day at recess, I approached my peers about jobs during kickball.

"How'd you like to come work for me?" I said, rocking back and forth on my feet and snapping my suspenders (which I only wore until third grade, I think).

"Can I be the waiter?" every one of my friends seemed to ask.

"No, I get to be the waiter," I'd tell them. "You can take everyone's plate when they're done."

"I don't want to do that. That sounds stupid," they'd respond.

"Nu-uh. Now you can't even come to my restaurant. How do you like that?" I'd explain to them in my most professional tone.

Bottom line: I realized it was a tight-rope walk to hire friends and I was afraid of the fall.*

Plus, if I had to fire them, who would I play kickball with anyway?

"There needs to be a certain sense of objectivity and accountability in the workplace. Friends and family expect to be treated to a different standard--and they should. Away from your business, but never in it," says Brad Sugars. Sugars is the author of 14 business books, including The Business Coach.

But since I was only 6, I could only hire friends or family. So I chose family. They never threw dirt clods. And I figured that was a safer bet.

However, I had no idea where to get customers, or as I called them then, "people who like to give money." I needed a marketing strategy.

*AN ABSENT-MINDED FOOTNOTE: I was talking to my mother earlier this week about this six-part blog series, and apparently, I did, in fact, hire one friend: Brian Jones. I'm still friends with Brian, but I sure don't remember hiring him. So I thought I'd let my mother tell the story...  Jake's Mother: "Jake's friend and fellow classmate, Brian, would come to our house every morning to pick up Jake to walk with us to school. Jake was very excited about starting his business and enlisted Brian to help him early each morning before school. As Brian would sit on the floor, Jake would dictate what to write as he paced around the room. It was during these early mornings that Jake came up with the menu, ingredients needed and instructions to the chef as to how to prepare all the items, so as to present the plan to his investors: His Dad and Mom. It was also during one of these many planning sessions that Jake announced that he would talk to his Dad about removing the front lawn so as to build a parking lot."

What a trip, eh?