The smaller the business, the more hiring the right people matters. When employee #100 turns out to be a disaster the impact on the business is relatively small and usually confined to a small group of employees.
When employee #4 is a disaster, everything suffers.
Attitude is everything. you can teach skills but it's incredibly hard to teach and instill enthusiasm, teamwork and independence (you need both), and motivation.
I first heard this expression when I asked an employee to help me clean up after a backed-up sewer line spread waste water across the warehouse. He said, "Sure. It's all 8 hours." He felt he was paid to work for 8 hours so what he did during that time didn't matter (in a good way.) Great small business employees -- and great employees anywhere -- are willing two do whatever it takes and are more concerned with overall objectives and goals than their individual duties.
Possess one outstanding skill...
Small businesses have a variety of specific needs: Running the website, processing orders, generating leads, etc. Many roles can be outsourced. If you have the choice, only bring roles in-house because the candidate is truly outstanding...
... and doesn't care about a job description or organizational structure.
A prospective employee who asks to see a detailed job description is waving a large red flag. "What does the job entail, you ask? Whatever I need you to do." A small business owner pays an employee to work, not to hold a position. (If you don't think there's a difference you haven't run a small business.)
People who are quirky, sometimes irreverent, and happy to be different may seem slightly "off," but in a really good way. Employees who aren't afraid to stand out stretch boundaries, challenge a small business owner to think in different ways, and often come up with the best ideas.
Think about your favorite customers or suppliers; aside from practical business aspects, what comes to mind first? They're personable, friendly, outgoing... they make your day a little more fun. Look for the same qualities in new hires. Customers buy from people they like.
Knocked on your door.
A friend of mine runs a mid-size company. One day a college senior walked in and said, "I've checked out your website, and forgive me for saying this but it could be a lot better. I graduate soon and would love to work for you. Here is a list of the changes I would make in the first three months, including how those changes would improve conversions and SEO results." Targeted approach, had done his homework... and showed a level of initiative every small business owner hopes to find. While a great employee will rarely try to crash your small business party, when one does give them serious consideration.