, the startup that I run, is an early-stage one. It’s a pre-revenue company. What this means is a lot of the time is that the hires that you make are crucial to your success, but you don’t have much funds to throw at ‘superstars’. What what to do in those cases? How to build you initial startup’s team? Here are some of my key findings:
- Having ‘superstars’ as the founding team gives you the best chance to start strong
- Saving money for core hires will cost you more in the long run
- Make your core team full-time hires
- Support your core team with outsourced and freelance talent
- Hire all-rounders, but specialists in what you’re not good at
What does a core team look like?
This is someone that is responsible for building the product/service. The could be a superior developer, a marketing guru or any other extraordinary talent that gives your product or service an advantage over others.
Usually one of the co-founders, this person dreams big, is ambitious and manages to clearly articulate what the company could achieve in the future. This person is most likely an extrovert and is the face of the brand, going in front of the audience through TV, press and other media outlets.
THE OPERATIONS LEADER
Hopefully, the other co-founder, working closely with The Visionary. This person’s job is to translate the vision and make it a reality through thorough and well-organised processes, project management and managing deadlines/deliverables.
aka. ‘The Sales Guy/Gal’
This person will know the product inside-out, will constantly be on the phone, in meetups and events, crafting sales campaigns and doing whatever it takes to raise product awareness and get users/clients.
THE NUMBERS GUY
He or she is crucial at the early stages of a startup. You need someone to understand numbers and look after company’s financials, reporting, analyse performance and help create future predictions and strategies based on data-driven decisions.
Often overlooked, this person is responsible for all the aesthetic and brand identity decisions, making sure the product not only works well, but looks good and provides great user experience. Something that has become more important in today’s market.
While not crucial, this can be a very useful person to have on your team. Someone who’s ‘been there done that’ and can help avoid pitfalls and mistakes made due to inexperience. This is usually in a form of an advisory role rather than full-time.
This doesn’t mean that you need to have 7 different people on your team from the get-go, one person can definitely have multiple personas, characteristics and skillsets, and that is what happens most of the time in early-stage startups, but at the end of the day this is what I would be looking as my core startup team.
Everything else can and should be outsourced in my opinion, especially things like accounting, legal and development. Why? I’ve actually briefly talked about it in a video when it comes to hiring full-time vs freelance, especially when it comes to development: