Think getting venture capital is hard? It can be. But after you get it and get your business on the road, there’s another capital that’s sometimes just as difficult to navigate, obtain and keep—humans.

It shouldn’t be difficult to find qualified employees, right? I mean, there’s lots of people out there, and everyone wants a job.

Right. But you’re a startup, so the name of the game changes for you. You’re building a company, not just managing one. Therefore, you need builders, not just workers. You need different types of employees at different stages. And you also need timing and discipline when it comes to deciding when to hire them.

Gather Your Troops

Your startup doesn’t just spring up into a multi-million-dollar company with 500 employees overnight. It gets there in stages, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. Some stages require Renaissance men and women to tackle many different tasks; other stages need employees specialized in a specific field.

YourStory advises that with your first 10 employees, you want people with several talents who will be able to wear many different hats at one time. When you’re working up to 50 employees, you need team players with good organization and leadership skills to ensure they’ll kick your business growth into overdrive.

Once you reach the 50-person mark, look for employees who specialize in certain areas. If you’re hiring more than 200 employees, you can start adding experienced leaders across all departments as well as college graduates who are just starting out in the workforce.


Strategize Your Next Move

The type of employee is important, but the timing of the hire is everything. Sometimes startup founders get a little too excited. They see the growth of the company start to pick up, so they go on a hiring rampage only to find that there’s not enough work to go around and growth has plateaued.

Now they’re paying money instead of making it, which can be detrimental and even lethal to a startup. To avoid this snare, consider hiring contractors for some positions rather than full-time employees.

When your workload increases, contractors can quickly cover the gaps. Then, if things slow down in the future, you’ve got an appropriate out rather than an unfortunate slew of lay-offs.

If you are hiring more full timers, prioritize which roles to hire based on the degree of necessity and cost. It may make more sense to hire an engineer rather than two administrative assistants whose salaries total the first.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Though it’s critical to hire according to the stage of your startup, you want one similarity among all employees no matter the timing—vision. Employees need to know where the company is headed; they need to know what you envision for the company years from when they climb aboard.

When employees know what they’re working toward, it can spur their motivation to want to perform well in order to be an important part of something big. If your gut tells you that your potential hire doesn’t care about the company or where it’s headed, trust that feeling. Because when it comes to hiring for your startup, it’s essentially determining the future success of your company.





Want to get the support of investors? Get their attention first. The EAP can help you network and build relationships so investors know what you’re about and how your startup can collaborate with them in future endeavors.