How To Build Your Startup Team Like A Pro

Building Your Startup Team

At the beginning phase of many startups, the founders typically run the business themselves. However, as a startup gains popularity and you start to taste success, you will see the need to bring on additional employees (startup team) who can run day-to-day operations while you steer the organization to even greater success.

If you fail to develop a team when your business reaches this stage, you may well wear yourself out with all the effort it takes to both run the business and manage its growth. To avoid business burnout, this chapter will help you build the ultimate operations management team. With the right people by your side, you can continue to run your business happily and successfully.

Letting Go

If you’re really stubborn like I am, you’ll probably face some internal resistance when it comes to putting together a team. It can be nerve-wracking to set others in charge of key business elements, but the right people can make your job much easier. As humans, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, our talents and skills. There is no such thing as a person who can do everything. For example, you may be an extremely talented writer but a terrible graphic artist. This means you’ll need to add to your team an employee who is a skilled graphic artist to help you design the cover illustrations for your books.

You may be the best singer in the world, but you’ll need someone to promote your music. The great news about developing a business team is that it comes with many benefits. In addition to increasing the strength and diversity of your capabilities by hiring individuals to shore up your weaknesses and address specific needs, you are adding intelligence and breadth of problem-solving capacity to your business. Building a great team can also help with networking and relationship-building.

Structuring Your Business Team

Let’s begin by learning about the primary positions typically included in any large corporation. Startups generally do not need to fill these positions immediately, but the functions they perform will be evident in embryonic form from the very beginning. Your awareness of what these positions contribute to your operation will help you envision what your business can look like when it is fully fleshed out.

The officer positions that appear in most major corporations are:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO) or President
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Come along with me as we unpack each of these offices.

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer

The person who holds this position is commonly the “top dog” of the company. The CEO oversees and decides things such as the company mission and vision, the development of the management team, where most of the money goes, and similar factors.

Most of the CEO’s power centers around establishing, developing, and managing the rest of the management team. All in all, the CEO is the person responsible for steering the company’s ship safely through the dangerous waters of the competitive business world.

COO stands for Chief Operating Officer

Can sometimes be combined with the office of President. As the title states, this position focuses on the operations portion of the business. The main responsibility of this individual is to monitor the running of company operations and to ensure that they are cost-effective and representative of the company’s values. The duties of a president may also be included, along with aspects of financial oversight. While the details of this office can vary widely, this is the general description.

CFO stands for Chief Financial Officer

A CFO is the main person responsible for handling the financial side of the business. A CFO commonly manages your budget and develops a spending strategy, selecting the best purchasing options available. This office calls the shots on which products or services are worth keeping or developing further, and which need to be revamped, re-marketed, or dropped because they are a financial drain.

This officer will keep one finger on the pulse of the target audience and an eye out for shifts in popular trends. A CFO can remove much of the burden of financial responsibility, from your shoulders. Unless you are a financial wizard yourself – and even if you are – you will benefit by bringing on board an individual you can trust to responsibly steward your finances.

CMO stands for Chief Marketing Officer

The CMO is the person responsible for overseeing your company’s marketing and sales strategy. This individual is responsible for understanding your particular industry as well as your target audience, your unique selling proposition (USP), your competition, and anything else that is part of your marketing.

This position has emerged quite recently on the corporate landscape. You may not need to institute a separate marketing office until this part of your business has grown too complex and unwieldy to manage by yourself.

CTO stands for Chief Technology Officer

It is also a relatively recent arrival to the corporate structure. However, with technology playing an increasingly important role in multiple aspects of any business, it is worth considering. The main responsibility of a CTO is to research and stay ahead of trends in technology while keeping the organization’s computer systems running effectively and efficiently.

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