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3 Things Small-Business Owners Need to Realize to Make Smart Hires Small teams have no margin for error when a new hire doesn't work out but doing your homework will get you the stars you need to thrive.

By Leslie Barber Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When I co-founded my company, I knew I wanted to be an employer. While our core mission is to change the way women get their prenatal vitamins, we have always looked forward to building a great team and culture for our company.

We embarked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but learned quickly that hiring can also be very scary for a small business owner. The rules, regulations and legalese are overwhelming. When I discussed hiring with my entrepreneurial mentors, I learned that I wasn't alone. Hiring was a headache for them too.

So, how do you go about this safely? Well, it's worth taking the time to do it in a smart way. Here are some tips:

1. Hire slow, fire fast.

Many people before me have recommended we hire slow, fire fast. Tony Hsieh, co-founder of, was the most recent employer that echoed these sentiments. He alleges that bad hires have cost over $100M. Wow, imagine what bad hires are doing for small businesses?

As small business owners, we often hire fast, fire slow. Business takes off and we need help right away, so we hire the first person who walks through the door. I get it -- been there. However, once business slows down, we sometimes realize that person might not actually be a good fit for our business. Then we're faced with having an awkward conversation and owning up to our mistake. Take the time to know the role you need to fill and the culture you are trying to create. But in the end, pull off the Band-Aid with a bad hire. Yes, it stings at first but with a little time, it heals and you forget the Band-Aid was ever there.

Related: Hire Slow, Fire Fast

2. What you don't know can destroy you.

The most common thing I hear from small business owners is "I don't know what I don't know." It can be terrifying, especially when it comes to hiring and managing employees. I remember lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering what is going to be thrown my way next. When you hire, it is really important to know what you need to do. Take the time to figure out what your state and the federal government require of you. Not knowing is not a defense if an employee sues you. Don't let what you don't know destroy your business. It is worth taking the time.

Related: Why Business Owners Have a Hard Time Delegating

3. You can do anything, just not everything.

Small business owners are jack of all trades, masters of many. But there just are not enough hours in the day to do everything. And it's not a smart business decision. No one is great at everything. We all need help.

The great news is that there are many people out there who love to do what you don't like to do or are not good at doing. Dig deep and identify what it is you need help with and go find someone who loves doing it. Your business will benefit from you staying focused on your passion and what you thrive doing.

Hiring isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be a burden either. Take the time to find the right person for the right job first. If it isn't go well, pull off the band-aid. Make sure you know what you need to do to follow the rules. It's never too late to fix it. It's worth slowing down so that you hire smart. I'm cheering for you!

Related: The Cold, Hard Facts About Small Business Hiring (Infographic)

Leslie Barber

Small Business Engagement Officer, QuickBooks

Leslie Barber advocates for small business success as a small business engagement officer for Intuit's QuickBooks in Mountain View, Calif. She is a co-owner and co-founder of NutraBella, the maker of Bellybar.

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