Starting a startup is not particularly easy, because of a hell lot of risks involved. But once you do that and do it well, it’s time to find the best people who will work for you, without burning a lot of dollars. Today, the number of jobs is surpassing the number of applicants, and the number of tech companies is growing at a superb pace.
For startups, especially in the early days, grabbing talent can be big challenge. Instead of grabbing people for every department like product, sales, marketing, HR, etc., what’s required here is a strategic execution by analyzing your needs.
HR is a cost center: For smaller teams, it’s definitely not suggested. You shouldn’t worry about this until you have at least a couple dozen employees, when you are not getting important stuff done because you are spending huge amounts of time shopping for health benefits for you employees.
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Support is a cost center: The more number of customers, the more support needed. Involving everyone in the team into customer support is the best way in early days – since you actually get to talk to people about stuff that you do.
Engineering is a profit center: It’s a no-brainer that if companies spend money smartly on product and R&D, they’d do amazingly well. Everything else is secondary, but if your product doesn’t live up to the expectations, you would lose the game before even competing in.
Sysadmin is a cost center: You can minimize your cost center by either doing the work yourself, or outsource it. Or hiring someone part time and keep them on emergency retainer.
Sales is a profit center: You can put your money on them as long as they are making money for you. They can be helpful in long term specially if you have a complex product and requires inside-sales.
Marketing is fuzzy: Though, critically important but it is the most fraught with peril. Marketing, by its nature, is like fishing (Choosing a spot, putting hook and waiting for fish). It is hard to tell a good marketer from bad and I’ve not been very good at farming this out. Marketing firms tend to be ridiculously expensive if they’ve got a good reputation and if you are a small fish, they are as likely to take you for a ride as not. Perhaps someone with better luck in the marketing hiring area could help out here but I would not get married to a marketer right away. If you can afford it, try several firms and pick the one that seems to work best.
If you can’t afford that, hire young, eager marketers on a contractual basis. If they prove themselves to be rockstars, hire them, but tread carefully. No matter what you do, try to measure each stage of your marketing funnel. It is a pain in the ass and very much an art but to re-purpose the saying ‘marketing metric analysis is useless but analyzing marketing metrics is essential.’ If your sales folks can double as marketers when you are small and you can compensate them like sales people rather than marketers (based at least partly on sales rather than a flat salary), that would be golden.
- Plan well before you hire for any role/position.
- Think about any post impacts on your company due to that hire.
- Involve every one from your team during the hiring process.