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Strategic Hires Can Make or Break a Start-Up Company

Dec 28, 2021

You have built your first product or service offering; you have even generated a few dollars in sales. Now you realize the biggest barrier to growth is hiring the right people for the right roles and at the right time. The founder is faced with the task of “strategic hiring” or the tactical process of making recruiting, hiring, and organizational planning decisions that are in alignment with current and future business needs and business goals. It does not matter whether the company is a start-up or a small/medium business enterprise, your employees are the key to your success. Talent acquisition should be taken very seriously.

Hiring your first employees is a critical milestone for any start-up organization. Remember, every successful organization was started by a small team of founders with a vision. Startups typically have limited capital and every hiring decision can have a material impact on the future of the company. Building a cohesive and effective team is one of the most difficult functions for any founder. Many of the early hires will need to take on many roles within the company simultaneously until the organization chart can be properly filled out. Never rush to hire any employee. Be as sure as possible that every candidate has been thoroughly interviewed and possesses all the skills and the right attitude necessary to succeed in your company. A deep dive into the candidate’s prior work history, skills, necessary future development and attitude is a must.

Cultural fit is an important consideration when any organization begins hiring staff. New hires must possess the values that fit into your company’s vision, mission and culture. New hires can impact everything about your company starting with culture, and moving on through team morale, work quantity and quality and the overall capabilities of the team. A new hire that doesn’t fit the company’s culture can adversely impact efficiency and productivity. Many job seekers today aspire to be part of an organization that has a start-up culture.

Usually members of the founding team of a company will assume the CEO and COO roles. Other essential positions need to be filled which include a product manager, chief technology officer, chief marketing officer or chief revenue officer, business development or sales manager, controller or chief financial officer and customer service director. This group will be the core of your leadership team. Hopefully, the reputation of this group of managers will help to attract other qualified people to the company in the future as hiring needs arise.

Since most start-ups are thinly capitalized, there is an alternative to incurring the salary and benefit costs of full-time employees. Several functions can be outsourced to freelancers and third-party service providers. Most consultants will suggest outsourcing those functions that are not essential to your core business. For example, you might consider outsourcing accounting, legal, human resource management and information technology. As soon as the size of the business warrants it, these functions can be brought in house.

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Alan Wink

Mr. Wink assists clients with capital budgeting, capital structuring and capital sourcing. He has worked with many tech and life science companies on developing the appropriate capital structure for their position in the business life cycle.

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