Hip, colorful offices in the heart of downtown, the corner of your parent’s garage surrounded by cardboard boxes, or no office at all – startups can take on any shape but they all share one goal: to get to the top.
The True Startup
For those hiring on to build out a one or two person operation, the critical nature of finding the right people cannot be overstated. At this stage more than any other, people are your business, and they can make or break the success of your budding project. The biggest mistake in hiring at this point is to focus too heavily on finding those with experience. In an attempt to gain expertise within the industry, too many early leaders focus on the number of years in the field over everything else. ISG Partners CEO, Ben Hawn, says he fell into this trap, but found that, “having experience without a driving force to propel you is like having the best race horse sitting in the barn while everyone else is running around the track.” Instead, seek out a balance of experience and passion in order to find a team ready to grow and explore alongside the project. A team with the right balance will set the tone for the success of your business. At this stage, begin to focus on retention. Terms like employee engagement and team building may seem like future endeavors at this stage, but retention is key from the outset.
These hires will still be crucial to a small and budding business but these individuals will be outside of your core team, and will come on board to an increasingly more established team. Finding the sweet spot balance of experience and passion for your project will still be vital for these hires, particularly because you’ll start to see the culture of your company take shape within your growing team. Culture eats strategy for lunch, and the best business plan in the world can’t make up for an incohesive team. It’s important to choose wisely and seek out the same intangibles that drew you to your core team. Additionally, this period will be important for establishing a structure for hiring and a solid onboarding process so that when your project is ready to hit the next stage, you’ll be prepared.
The Hyper-Growth Stage
When your business hits this stage, the methodical groundwork of building up your business is finally paying off – in more ways than one. At this stage, you’ll have an established process for hiring and onboarding, and be ready to get rockstars in place fast. Your hires in this stage need to be the cream of the crop, ready to hit the ground running on the foundation your core team has built. In some ways, this stage can prove to be even more difficult as the need for talent increases both in urgency and volume, and the number of resumes to filter through goes through the roof. Of course, these are great problems to have as long as you have the right team on your side. At ISG Partners, we’ve spent years working with hyper-growth clients to find out exactly what works for skyrocketing startups. That’s why we work with candidates passively searching for new opportunities, used to crushing goals in their current roles. Hyper-growth startups need outstanding talent that they can hire with confidence.