As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard of (and lived) the phrase “wearing multiple hats”. It’s inevitable as a small business owner that you occasionally step in to fill the gaps in your team. However, if you’re in the process of expanding your business or looking further down the road, there are a few positions you should consider hiring or finding a professional substitute for. In part one of the Creating Your Startup Team series, we’ve outlined 6 positions — not necessarily by title, but by area of expertise and style of contribution, that you’ll want to consider as you build out your startup team.
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In most startups and businesses this person is the founder, as everything starts with their vision. But some founders may be more technical or product oriented. Or maybe you’re more of a sales person or a detailed perfectionist that prefers to keep their head down and work on what they do best. If that sounds like you, it may be in your best interest to find a co-founder who can help you articulate and round out your business idea.
On the other hand, if you’re the one with the big ideas, you’ll need someone to help you carry it out. If coding or design isn’t your forte, one of the first people you’ll need on your team is someone with the expertise to build your product. If you’re creating an app, that’ll likely be a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) with software engineering experience. If you’re dealing in the realm of physical goods and services, you might need someone with a design or engineering background. Whoever you choose, be sure their skills match what you’re creating.
While the person you hire may not actually be an accountant, you will eventually need someone with financial expertise, especially if you plan on rapidly scaling your business. As you gain more investors and add more people to the payroll, you’ll need someone to keep track of finances as transactions and financial reports get more complex. If you run a small business or you’re just starting out, it may make more sense to outsource this work and hire an outside accountant or use an online tool before looking for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or a controller.
Setting up a business of any kind will eventually require legal paperwork and filing. While there may not be a need for a lawyer in the early stages of your company, the bigger your business and your idea gets, the more you may need a legal expert you can easily contact. However, lawyers can be expensive to retain or hire, so it may be helpful to enlist a legal expert to join your advisory board at first.
Although marketing and sales are two different functions, if your business is still growing you may need someone who can do a bit of both. Regardless of whether your product or services are for businesses or for consumers, it’s important to have someone on your team who knows how to sell what you do to your target market. Ideally this is someone who knows your product well and knows how to create a compelling story around it.
This is an invaluable type of worker to have on your team, no matter what their title may be. For early stage startups, a shapeshifter — someone who can adapt, pivot and be whatever the company needs in the moment, can be crucial to keeping a small team and growing company afloat. Even for traditional businesses or later-stage companies, having people in any role that can be flexible and willing to grow within their role or branch out is useful.
Once you have an idea of what kinds of roles you need to fill within your company, there are still a few essential steps left in the process of building out your startup team. The most important step is convincing other people to believe in you and your idea. In future posts, we’ll be covering where you can find talent and how to make the big ask.
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Paige is the Assistant Content Marketing Manager at Netcapital Advisors. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, with a double major in American Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures. Outside of her work at Netcapital Advisors, Paige pursues creative writing and keeps up with the latest cultural news.