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How to Build Your Start Up Team: Part 1

October 01, 2014
By Kelley Rexroad

Since I often get asked where start ups should begin when it comes to hiring staff, I wanted to share some of the most common questions I receive.  Here is Part 1 of a two-part blog post.

Q. So far it’s just me. What’s the first position I need to fill?

A. What’s the thing you don’t like or aren’t very good at doing? Is it dealing with vendors?  The web site? Bookkeeping? The back office seems to be the spot where most startups need to hire support.   That’s the position to fill so you can do what you do best: sell. No one can sell your product better than you.  However, if you are truly uncomfortable selling or you get easily offended when someone doesn’t appreciate what you have created, then hire someone to sell for you.

Q.At what level should I fill it? (For example, if it’s sales, should it be an experienced sales manager vs someone newer in sales?)

A. It depends. You should definitely be thinking of the next 3 years—what else will this person be able to do? Could they help with operations? Could they train other sales people? You need people who will help you grow. That first hire will determine whether you grow quickly and profitably or not.

Q. What’s the best way to find the best talent?

A. This is the fun part. Open your mind -- people are everywhere!  If you are looking for a fast paced customer service person who can multitask and run the front desk, think about approaching your favorite server. Servers “get” the concept that good service equals good money and they can handle more than one project (or table) at varying degrees of completeness. Don’t be conventional in your recruiting-that’s where everyone else is.

Q.What if my budget is limited? What are my options?

A. That’s where social media, word of mouth and focused searches through professional associations are actually a better return on your investment. LinkedIn groups are a great way. Posting the job on LinkedIn for friends to share is better than just an ad. If you’re in Florida, post the position on Employ Florida, which is supported by taxes so there is no charge to tap into that database.  

Q.What else do I need to know to do this right?

A. Before you do anything, think about your culture. What is important as an employer and what would be appealing to an applicant? If you have a strict procedurally driven company, you don’t want creative people who will want to change everything or not follow procedures. So think where process-driven logical folks would be. A local association focused on quality would be an ideal place to share your opening. If you pride yourself on the free-flowing ideas workplace for your dog product, go to places where there are people who have and love dogs

There are many more questions start up owners have about building their team and the hiring process. I’ll cover those in Part II of this blog - stay tuned.

Kelley Rexroad, SPHR, is the founder and principal consultant of krexconsulting, a Tampa, Florida-based firm that specializes in “people – the only resource that appreciates in business.” She is a consultant, coach, speaker and writer with experience in all areas of human resources in several industries, as well as with developing, turnaround and merger and acquisition situations. Kelley can be reached at kelley@krexconsulting.com or at 813-920-9030.