Staffing your startup

Startup Staffing

When it comes to building your team, the thing to remember is that your business will move fast, and your staffing needs will change alongside it.

That makes it critical to learn how to bring the right people on at the right time, how to manage skill sets against company needs, and possibly how to let employees go.

In this class, David Mandell (Cofounder and CEO of PivotDesk), shares the techniques he uses to build and manage startup teams.

Pick the right co-founder. “A good co-founder is vital, especially since co-founder issues are the reason many early start-up crash and burn,” Fertik says. Partner up with someone whose strengths complement yours. If you’re an expert in one field, make sure their expertise differs.


Find a chief technology officer who won’t break. To survive the “make it or break it” stage of launching a start-up, find someone who will work through the tough times. “Without this person, there is no product. You need someone whose intelligence exceeds your own and whose hunger to be the driving force behind bringing a product from concept to creation is overwhelming,” says Fertik.


Hire a forecaster. Every start-up needs a specialist who understands the product/market fit. “You need that person to be a forecaster, both a realist and a dreamer, who can give you reasonable assurance about the right direction to take the product and company at different point in time,” says Fertik.


Be efficient. “Don’t hire people you don’t need,” warns Fertik. Instead of focusing on hiring PR, focus on the product and managing your finances instead.

Be realistic. Don’t focus on things you’re not ready to do yet, such as hiring IT and getting your product to scale. “Remember — the easiest money in the world comes at the end of this phone call: ‘I’m turning away 90 percent of my orders because my servers can’t keep up with demand,'” says Fertik.


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