Hiring your first employees is one of the most important (and daunting) stages in the start-up process. How do you know when you're ready, and how do you go about it?

LOVE CORN is the UK’s first Premium Roasted Corn brand. They're 15 months into launch, and have partnered with the likes of Sainsbury’s, WHSmith, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended and Virgin Trains, to name a few. They also made it to the finals of Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur 2017. Here's how they made their first hires.

When did you realise you needed to be hiring?

As we brought on more retailers we realised we needed to make our first hires across sales support and operations. This ensured we gave all our launch partners a great experience - from the best product being on shelf, to in-store demos, to store compliance.

How did you prioritise which roles to fill first?

As Planet Organic, As Nature Intended and Whole Foods were our first retail partners, hiring sales support to make sure these launches were successful was the priority. When Sainbsury’s agreed to launch us we then focused on operations to make sure our supply chain was ready for this significant increase in distribution.

How did you find the right people?

We’ve used a combination of referrals and agencies so far, but our preferred route is referrals, especially from other people in the food industry. Getting that stamp of approval from your peers on a person is gold.

Love Corn - Foodpreneur Reveal

What's the most crucial quality you looked for when it came to making those vital first hires?

We wanted to find hires that were very much a "people person", and have common sense!

What was the impact on your business?

All very positive - we’re giving our customers a great experience, and that’s down to the team.

What was the biggest challenge and what did it teach you?

You need to put aside quality time to find good people. When you’re stretched you don’t make it a priority, but arguable it should be your top priority.

What's next in the pipeline for Love Corn?

To make sure we’re available in all parts of the country… everyone in the UK deserves the chance to be able to snack on LOVE CORN.

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