One of the most difficult areas of Human Resources to manage is salaries and wages. As an eCommerce business, and I am sure traditional businesses face this too, it is one of our highest expenditures. Not only that but salaries, wages and benefits are one of the most difficult areas to tweak. I highly recommend charting out your barriers and expectations before you start the hiring process. Setting up guidelines should not prevent you from being flexible, but rather should just set up fundamentally necessary boundaries that may help to prevent future regret.
A lot of small business do not know how much to pay a new employee. Instead, they wait to see what their resumes are asking for and make decisions based on the asking price of the new hire. These decisions are not made on what they can afford, and maybe more importantly, what fits in their lifestyle.
I think of it in terms of making any large purchase. If you know how much your bandwidth as a company can handle, in terms of salaries and wages, don’t get bright eyed and excited when you see the flashier, more qualified, more expensive person. More importantly, don’t fall into the, “I’m sure we could make more money if we just hire her. She’ll pay for herself!” Just know your limitations and know your goals.
In the end, find a balance between flexibility, goals, and living beyond your means.