Startup Staffing Grid

Working out what skills and experience are needed to run your business may seem pretty obvious. However, it’s worth taking time to figure out what they are and when you’ll need them. Some abilities will be needed right away. Some you’ll need full-time, others you can sub-contract or buy in, as and when needed. You can identify what’s needed, when and how you’ll meet the need early on and then you will not be tearing your hair out later wondering how to deal with the problem later. Here is a startup staffing grid, though of course, you’ll need to adapt it to your special circumstance.

Function

skill/experience

when

who

how to access

Strategy

 

 

 

 

Planning/budgeting

 

 

 

 

Finance/bookkeeping

 

 

 

 

Marketing

 

 

 

 

Sales

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

IT

 

 

 

 

Administration/HR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do absolutely have to hire people, make sure that you have a flat organization. Happily a flat organization is almost synonymous with starting your own business. Don’t build hierarchies or so-called ‘stovepipe’ organizations. Make sure you hire people that are highly motivated, share the vision and have personal traits that you respect. The incentives you offer don’t always need to be financial, but make sure that people are going to commit and give them a real reason to be there. When you are hiring, avoid denigrating yourself. You are starting the business, after all. I made the mistake of thinking since I was not a trained sales person, and that I should get in professionals.

The choice of partners and colleagues is fraught with risk. Don’t therefore make decisions that you may regret later and ensure that the conditions you offer people are really clear. If you are going into partnership or taking on senior management, be prepared to spend a lot of time working out whether your values are really shared; how you are going to divide responsibilities; what will be the share of ownership or income; who will measure success and by what yardsticks. This may sound harsh at a point when you are full of get-up-and-go, but I learned from bitter experience that it’s better done before you start.

Make sure you value the talent of your people. Remember that those who may be paid the least may have a high impact on your success. Don’t confuse the impact with the cost of people. Someone who answers the phone can make or break you.