Staffing Your Startup for Success

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Staffing Your Startup for Success

When embarking upon a brand new business, it’s likely you’ll need to hire some staff. That may seem a daunting task, however. You may wonder how to attract people to work at a new business without a track record. You may wonder if your business will get up to speed quickly enough to bring in the money to pay the employees you’ll need to hire. These are legitimate questions to consider as you face your startup’s opening day. Let’s explore some ways to deal with the challenges that come with staffing your newly-formed business with high quality personnel.

Clearly Articulate Your Company and Vision

No one wants to work for a vague idea. Even though your startup is new and untried, it can - and should - have a solid game plan. The better thought-out and organized your vision, the easier it will be to share that passion with potential employees. Your enthusiasm for your company’s planned trajectory will certainly be contagious, causing others to want to be a part of it. When you clearly articulate your ultimate goal, employees will actually be able to envision their own role in the organization and its success.

Make Yourself an Attractive Employer

Be the kind of business that employees want to work with. What you can’t necessarily offer in monetary compensation, you may be able to offer in alternative forms. Flexible hours, remote work, profit sharing, other generous employment policies can be very attractive to employees - especially those who are interested in joining your team for the long haul. It may be worth it to them to grow with the opportunity your business represents.

Embrace Inexperience

In the same way that you want potential employees to take a chance on your new, unproven business, be open to hiring less-experienced people. The obvious rationale is that employees with less experience will have lower salary requirements. Beyond that, there’s another distinct advantage in hiring employees with less experience: They don’t have different or bad habits to unlearn. They are a clean slate that you can train in accordance with your business’ requirements. Look for general talents and skills; enthusiasm and willingness to learn. You can customize training to build your ideal employees from the ground up. Trust your instincts and hire based on observable character traits and/or a sense of their potential.

Leverage Enthusiasm

A business’ first staff has a tremendous impact on a company’s culture, operational style, message and ultimate success. Those who are enthusiastic about jumping aboard a startup are likely to be invested enough in the mission to freely offer their opinions and perhaps alternative skills to the cause. By no means should an employer take advantage of this enthusiasm - or even ask for it - but when it is offered, accept it for the bonus that it is. Enthusiastic employees may offer to spread the word about your business on social media, help design your logo or set up your website. These initial gestures will help you get up and running while at the same time providing an opportunity for early employees to “opt-in” on a deeper level and gain a sense of ownership of and pride in the business.

A startup is an unknown entity for you as well as for the employees you’ll need to hire to get things going. When you can enthusiastically articulate your vision, you’ll attract people who want in on the challenge and who are willing to work to achieve it. Be as creative as possible with employee compensation while you ramp up. Look for employees who have the raw materials, if not the complete skill set necessary, as you build and customize your team. Make the most of your fledgling staff’s enthusiasm, while rewarding them with the opportunity to share in a sense of pride of the business’ success. You’ll be well on your way to growing to startup to going strong!

How have you found and compensated your startup’s staff?

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