We’re entrepreneurs. We like to be the only cooks in our kitchen. We single-handedly plan the menu, prep, cook, serve, host and clean up. That’s fine for a dinner party here and there, but utter idiocy for sustaining a profitable restaurant.
One of the top reasons new startups go belly-up is simple: entrepreneurs notoriously bite off more than we can chew. We don’t get the right people in place to delegate to.
No matter what type of business you’re firing up, these are the five folks you’ll eventually need behind you.
The numbers person
The Chief Financial Officer, the money manager, the iron fist.
How hard can it be to manage a startup’s finances, right?
The truth is, the role of a CFO goes well beyond just counting cash. They’re also responsible for the company’s growth, forming new relationships with companies, and creating financial processes and reporting requirements that can be used when the company scales.
The right CFO can take a deep dive into a startup’s financial capabilities. They help a startup to optimize the cash they already have and build a plan for when the company is ready to scale.
It’s normal for startups just to hire an accountant when they’re getting their bearings, and a CEO will likely have a firm grasp of the company’s profit and loss. But without a CFO, it’s hard for a startup to influence potential investors and talent.
It’s right there in the title. Anal. This person lives and breathes numbers and processes. They possess the skill of reading and understanding complex documents and easily manage the process of forming your business and the forms and contracts your business needs. In an ideal world, your analytical team member would be a business attorney, potentially saving your business money on attorney fees.
The money-minded and dedicated document team members will work closely together. Combining these two roles is an option to consider. However, if you coalesce these roles for one team member, it is critical to confirm the team member can handle both functions.
Artistic talent is another skill that can be a massive asset for a business team member to have. Most companies will need a logo, website, flyers, banners and business cards. The entire team will benefit if one of the team members can design these items and is proficient in photoshop or other graphic design software. Although I am a fan of all team members having a voice, especially with logo design, there can often be too many cooks in the kitchen. If you have a team member whose purpose is to put together the best logo possible, trust them and do not have other team members overtake this role. It is also important to note that artistic skills can easily be outsourced. If you need a creative member on your team, you can look online to fill this role.
With technology being prevalent everywhere in today’s world, having a team member who is tech minded is highly advantageous. Responsibilities of your tech team member can include setting up your business computers, printers, networking, emails, backups, & virus protection. When you have a computer issue, it can shut down your business. By having an inside tech team member, you will be back up and running sooner rather than later.
Deep eCommerce, coding and optimization experience are additional needs. Depending on the complexity of your website, consider outsourcing the initial creation. If the design and programming are highly elaborate, it is not wise for your tech team member to devote time to creating the website. Once it is up and running, you will need to make periodic updates. Having a team member that knows how to make these updates will save your business time and money.
From day one, you will need a sales-minded individual as part of your team to grow your business. A sales-minded person can also handle marketing since marketing and sales are closely related. Skills this person should possess include the ability to network and prospect. Strong customer relationship skills are also vital to keeping existing customers. Tasks for this role will involve prospecting for new business, attending networking events and closing deals.
Social media posting will also be the responsibility of the sales and marketing position. Considering it can be challenging to find a non-owner to be as dedicated to this role as an owner, many business owners will be in charge of sales and marketing.
Before you make your team official, have a test meeting. You want to make sure your team works well together both personally and professionally. At the test meeting, put together your agenda and stick to it. See how your potential team interacts and watch carefully for any major red flags around conflicting personalities and unprofessionalism.
Remember to take it one step at a time and be mindful of your personal leadership style. A cohesive and happy team is key to a successful and profitable business.