Written by: Emily Wagner

As President, CEO, COO or VP of Finance, you have been a one-stop shop since opening the doors. I compare you to going to Costco to buy a new TV, box of steaks and a year supply of shampoo. Sure, Costco is an amazing “megaplex” of shopping bliss, however, most people aren’t lining up there for fresh, organic produce, so they fill the gaps with a different store that adds value to their shopping. It is likely you are currently doing the jobs of 10 people, and sorry to say, but you probably will still be for a while. The key is to find people who compliment the areas you lack and also those who thrive in the gray. You need a team at this stage that can wear many hats and stay focused.

When you decide to hire, know that in a growth environment there is no room for a “B-player”. While that may sound harsh, it is reality… B and C players can be an amazing asset to an established company (and that is the environment where those types of employees tend to thrive). It is likely no one will ever have quite as much passion as you do for your business, but you can sure try to get as close as possible. Identify the “hungry” in your interview process. Find out what drives them and look for that intangible spark.

A few things to keep in mind:

Know your companies’ mission. Make sure you are building your employment brand NOW, not once you’ve already grown.

Personality is huge. Your team is working so tightly together at this stage – a respectful, creative, and collaborative environment isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a must, your company’s growth depends on it.

Hire hungry. But know when and where experience and a rolodex trumps.

Embrace Technology. There are so many tools on the market today that can add much value to the talent selection and hiring process in a start-up. Without a fluid HR/Recruiting department handling the process, technology can and should become your best friend.

Let go. To succeed you will need to let go of some responsibilities you have been holding onto so tightly and remember why you hired in the first place.

In a start-up where you are so prone to doing everything yourself or with a small group, the main reason you hire is to add value, not just to fill a skills gap. You can continue at the wild-eyed pace you’ve been going, but a key moment in your growth will be recognizing the opportunity to add a value proposition in terms of another brain, another set of hands doing something better than you would yourself.

Hire smart and you’ll be thanking yourself in the end.

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