One of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your company is who to hire for your startup. Your first 5 employees will impact your company culture, processes, growth trajectory and so much more.
If you choose the right people, you’ll be able to build a steady foundation on which your company can grow. But, if you make the wrong choices, you’ll delay your growth. Furthermore, you will have a shaky foundation that needs to be rebuilt.
That is why it’s essential to first identify 5 key roles that are needed in a startup and understand what their role entails.
Now, let’s talk about them.
#1: Hire For Your Startup: The Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon
The first person you should hire is a personal/executive assistant.
As your business grows, you’ll inevitably become overwhelmed with all of the work needed to keep it going. You’ll try to start prioritizing your tasks, but, unfortunately, it’s easy to make mistakes.
Delegation is a miracle for entrepreneurs, but one they’re often most hesitant to embrace.
The good news is that hiring an assistant can be a great way to ensure that all tasks, big or small, are attended to. That way, it will be easy for you to put more energy into critical things that will take your business to the next level.
They expertly manage up, uncovering your top priorities and acting as a gatekeeper to your time and focus – protecting you from the tyranny of the urgent. They audit your calendar, filter your inputs, and coordinate your schedule and projects strategically. All that to ensure you’re focusing on your highest leverage work.
However, you will need to train your assistant. You will have to teach them to handle the task the way you like it before trusting them to do things for you.
This is the absolute first hire any entrepreneur should make.
#2: Hire For Your Startup: Your Opposite
The second person you should hire is your opposite.
I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur that didn’t fall into one of two categories:
- The Sales / Marketing Entrepreneur (spends a good deal of time focused on selling, doing deals, and anything else related to bringing in new business)
- The Operations / Managing Entrepreneur (loves the organization aspect of growing a business, the metrics, KPIs, and general execution)
While most entrepreneurs can fill both of these roles, they typically lean one way or the other.
That is why you should hire your opposite.
#3: Hire For Your Startup: Marketing Jack-of-All Trades
For your startup company, one of the most crucial roles to hire is that of a marketing specialist. They will help you find out who your target audience is and how to optimally reach them.
Keep in mind that your marketing champion does not necessarily have to be CMO. It entirely depends upon the startup’s stage, budget, industry, and team composition. Hiring a CMO in the test and launch phase of your startup can turn out to be overkill in terms of budget and skills.
What you should do, though, is hire for your startup a marketing Jack-of-all-trades. People with well-rounded experience and a keen eye for presentation excel in these startup roles. You want to find that person. A person who’s used to wearing multiple hats and is experienced in most areas of marketing.
#4: Hire For Your Startup: A Wordsmith
Good writing is an important skill that is too often ignored in the process of launching a company. However, since so much startup marketing is web- and media-based, accurately articulating what your company offers is more important than ever.
The thing is, every company can (and should) benefit from a literary boost.
Look for someone with a degree in the humanities or a degree that’s closely related to your industry. This is important because a degree in the former equips them with the skills to be able to deliver quality content. That means in terms of grammar, style, and communication. With the latter, the writer has the technical knowledge of the industry and can produce insight more naturally.
You should also find someone who is well-acquainted with social media platforms. And, also the other platforms where content will be placed.
#5: Hire For Your Startup: The Product Wizard
A Product Manager lives and breathes the product a startup is creating. They’re in charge of directing who the product will be sold to and how it will be positioned to buyers.
In simple terms, it’s their job to show a startup’s target audience that the product is valuable.
In a startup’s early days, a product director will make sure the product is market-ready and more importantly, that there’s a market need for it. They act as a bridge between the product and the customer and develop non-technical aspects around the product.
A product manager must also help the startup founders with strategy, along with ideation and features. Their role is to communicate to their product team the value of the product, as well as its intent, so the team is prepared for when the product is released.
When things ramp up, the product manager will build a roadmap and prioritize what needs to be done to achieve the initiatives and strategic goals behind the product itself.
You could have the best idea in the world and all the personal drive and ambition to take that idea to fulfillment. But if you don’t have the right team behind you to help nurture that business in its growth and vulnerable early years, then it is always going to be an uphill struggle.
In a startup, there’s no room for ‘that’s not my job’. It should be all hands on deck to get a product launched and to make an idea into a reality. But that is why you shouldn’t call your team members, employees, or staff. Staph is an infection. An employee is a demeaning legal term. You have partners, and you have colleagues. You are on the same team.
Find these 5 key people, and you’ll already have a headstart in making your startup a success.