Nearly 80% of U.S. small businesses employ just the founder, according to the National Association for the Self-Employed. But that doesn’t mean this is necessarily the best strategy for startups. At the same time, 81% of American small business owners work overtime.
When launching a startup, some entrepreneurs, including very talented ones, mistakenly believe they should do everything alone. In some cases, this may be possible, but it’s still less than ideal. More often than not, however, this is a poor strategy, especially when taking into account the fact that many startups fail.
But staffing a startup is no easy feat. Fortunately, there are many ways to help, from outsourcing to staff augmentation services to referrals and networking.
The Top-Down or Bottom-up Approach
It’s common practice to focus on leadership positions first. The startup founder is usually the CEO, although this is not always the case. Some other critical positions to fill are:
- Chief Operating Officer (COO): The COO oversees the day-to-day operations and goings-on within the organization. They will establish and govern procedures and implement policies to improve the company.
- Chief Technology Officer (CTO): Since technology is usually central to any startup’s mission in the modern world, this is a position to prioritize — the CTO is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s technology strategy.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO): As you can probably surmise, the CFO oversees the organization’s finances, establishing a strategy to manage cash flow and optimize fiscal health.
Other priority roles include a director or manager of marketing, who will launch your promotional strategy, and a project manager. Depending on the specific nature and needs of the organization, you may also want to hire a designer — UX, graphic, or otherwise — immediately, especially if the visual appearance of your product is critical.
Temporary vs. Permanent
Some positions, particularly leaderships ones like those described above, will need to be permanent and full-time. In other cases, you may choose to employ temporary and freelance workers, especially while you’re still getting your startup off the ground.
Take stock of your immediate needs when considering what type of workers to hire. Some roles that may lend themselves to part-time or non-permanent work include:
- Office managers and virtual assistants
- Content writers and copywriters
- Accountants and bookkeepers
- IT specialists
- Social media managers
Consider looking to staff augmentation services, too, to help you fill in the gaps before you hire longer-term, full-time employees.
Now that you know what types of workers you need, how do you find them?
There are traditional job boards, of course, but as so many of us know, this is usually not the way employers ultimately find their talent. In addition to employing methods like listing positions on job sites, try networking with other leaders and entrepreneurs in your industry and asking for referrals. Again, staffing services can be helpful, too, especially when it comes to filling certain positions. Outside recruiters can be useful resources, too.
Throughout the staffing process, always have your company culture in mind. Even if your business is still in its infancy, you want people who are not only specialists in their fields but also individuals who have the same values as what you’re aiming to promote in your organization — these will be employees who will fit in and share your mission. When the culture is strong, success follows.