What makes a company? Talent.

Staffing is one of the most important aspects of company growth, and arguably most crucial factor in transformation of a startup into a stable company. The entrepreneur has to always know more than just who's performing and who isn't. The entrepreneur has to know who in the company is in the right place, who will be capable of managing teams as they grow, who has the capacity to see beyond the current state and will be pushing the company to the next level. The evolution of a startup from staffing perspective is a repeating cycle of: (1) hiring people who see beyond the current state, (2) working hard and discovering the right way to incorporate their knowledge into your specific case, to streamline and optimize operations. It's really just these two focuses. And the CEO's job is to always know where in the cycle the team is, what is the next milestone and what kind of talent will see over it. In my company, Zemanta, I use a method to track our capacities, that shows me just that. It is implemented as a table (not spreadsheet), that maps persons (employees) into roles, according to their experiences. I believe there is a rather fixed set of roles every company will eventually have to fill. It is probably even possible to formalize it to the point where you could predict the staff requirements based on desired yearly revenue. Let's take a look at an example evolution. Startup company at inception A typical tech startup might begin with a simple structure: business and tech cofounders. Their capacity matrix will be simple, but overwhelming: in-house junior founder 1 & 2 founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 (CEO) founder 2 (CTO) founder 2 founder 1 & 2 founder 2 founder 1 founder 2 external senior founder 1

sales HR accounting finance marketing PR leadership engineering QA & support design business IT

but without this they will never be able to attract and direct additional team members. Main challenge and milestone in this stage will be attracting early clients or investors. Everything else will be in flux. For instance.product legal founder 2 founder 1 It shows us two founders performing all business tasks with no external help. but dependent on time the particular employee has. that will enable growing the team to really start working on the services/products. Note that capacity is not the same as performance. and can perform reasonably well in just one or two roles. one of the first actions might be outsourcing: in-house junior founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 founder 1 (CEO) founder 2 (CTO) founder 2 founder 1 & 2 founder 1 founder 2 founder 2 founder 1 law firm external senior founder 1 accountans sales HR accounting finance marketing PR leadership engineering QA & Support design business IT product legal developer founder 2 rentacoder.com consultant Company in this stage can afford some to spend some money on making the core team . In the presented case.proving the product Where it will go from there really depends on specifics of the business. If the company has this kind of capacity matrix. it will inevitably be a technology and product company with good public recognition but poor business performance. Most important in this stage is that the founders have senior capacity in leadership. while the rest will be on back-burner. Performance will be based on many external factors. both founders are severely over-stretched. And the competence matrix tells us that the only way to do this transition successfully will be to find some help for the founders to do things right… Seed stage .

more efficient. . since you are still proving that the work has long-term sense. a year in. Depending on the type of product you might invest in limited number of developers. Key milestone to reach will be implementing key metrics that will demonstrate commercial value of the service/product and inventing the specifics of the revenue model.stability and focus on sales Next might be professionalizing the development part. but the flexibility of working with outside help is much appreciated. the company is severely over-resourced on product and technology side. that is starting to generate revenue. and finding seasoned sales person to kickstart the pipeline: in-house junior founder 1 COO founder 1 founder 1 VP sales founder 1 founder 1 (CEO) founder 2 (CTO) VP engineering founder 2 dev team consultant founder 1 founder 2 founder 2 founder 1 law firm external senior VP sales COO accountants consultant sales HR accounting finance marketing PR leadership engineering QA & Support design business IT product legal dev team founder 2 Now. Company becomes sales-oriented and is all about implementing the revenue model. by hiring full time staff and possibly even engineering lead. The competence matrix suggests that the only way to reach next stage will be acquiring knowledge/experience/people in business side . we have a decently operational company. Growth .at the end of seed stage. Company's main focus is still on product and partly marketing and business development. the founders can focus on monitoring the changes in the competitive landscape and the CEO's job for the next few months (years) will be making sure the roles are performed optimally.

Most companies never get to this stage .CEO's job is figuring out the details of the path between initial state (first table) and . Quite possibly I've missed some other important roles. every role has a senior manager. implementing the revenue model to stabilizing all aspects of operation. But I hope I managed to convey the main points: . reporting to seasoned CEO.they either stop growing at earlier stages. do all the hard work and earn his own staff. the right staffing will be the key driver of those transitions. My thesis is that those that fail do so because they fail to find the people that could take them to the next level when timing is right. improve. Conclusion We've followed a path of a fictional company on the path from idea to professional organization. The Sustainable Company The ultimate state every company should strive for. Everyone has well defined job descriptions and knows their role in the mechanism. fail or get acquired.where VP Sales is the key person that will have to overlook. the state where company works as a stand-alone system is something like: in-house junior staff staff staff staff staff staff external senior VP Sales HR CFO CFO CMO CMO CEO CTO VP Engineering CPO CMO & CPO VP Business Dev CIO CPO Lead Council sales HR accounting finance marketing PR leadership engineering QA & Support design business IT product legal marketing agency PR agency dev team staff staff staff staff staff staff law firm At this time. which was really a process of converting inspiration into experiences. As the company's focus moves from proving the idea. building the product.

the areas you need top performance should have dedicated personnel. ideally seasoned .this same method can also be used to evaluate staffing in any sub-department .final goal (last table) .

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