• Wade Myers

What Kind of Employees Should I Have in My Startup?

Because startups are absolutely fraught with unknowns, high pressure, high-anxiety, and a fast-changing landscape due to everything you are trying to accomplish as fast as possible and with as few resources are possible, it is critical that you hire right. 

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years as a serial startup entrepreneur and venture investor:

  • One bad management team hire can tank your company

  • There is no time for on-the-job training or to learn a new toolkit

  • Always evaluate hiring vs. contracting

  • Contract first if at all possible to test the relationship

  • Hire slow, fire fast

  • Surround yourself with excellent advisors that fill in the gaps of your skills and experiences

  • While you should expect your advisors and existing team to have a lot of input, you should always make the final decision on strategy and then hire to that strategy; for example:

  1. You should determine the tech-stack strategy and then hire to that strategy, rather than allow the team to go in the wrong direction with the toolkit with which they are most comfortable

  2. You should determine the go-to-market strategy and then hire to that strategy, rather than allowing the team to simply implement sales, marketing, and alliances strategies with which they are most comfortable

  • Hire strategically, not opportunistically, based on the company strategy, a detailed organization plan, and an ideal candidate profiles for each key position; for example:

"My ideal CFO would have an undergrad in accounting and finance, would have spent a few years on the audit side of a large audit firm to learn those disciplines, be a CPA, have an MBA, and would have been a senior controller or CFO of a similar firm with a similar business model in my target industry…”

To sum up: you will get maximum leverage if you only hire people that…

…have held the same role you are hiring them for and have had demonstrable success…

…by using the same toolkit your startup employs…

…by implementing a similar strategy to yours…

…with the same business model…

…at the same stage…

…within the same context and at the same pace…

…in the same industry and with the same customers…

…with high integrity and that share your values…

…that have excellent leadership and communications skills…

…that are capable of forging warm, deep relationships with all stakeholders…

…and that have rarely missed their plan because they are mission-oriented

"Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he's hired to do" - Malcolm Forbes

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