BRAVO you’ve done it!
You’ve pitched your concept into existence, convinced the investors you’re a good bet, signed the paperwork, secured the funding and the money train is inbound.
Now you need to put that money to work.
Deliver to the agreed targets, fulfill the pledges, “grow baby grow”, and get after passing GO again for your next raise. Work, grow, raise, repeat. The life of the entrepreneur, the Unicorn-seekers, those who exist to make a good and material difference in the world. Simple.
That’s the template. All you need now is the people to deliver it. Less simple.
Good souls are everything
Whether you’re at seed stage or just completed an IPO, it’s people that give your dreams wings to unlock the potential of your business. Recruitment should always be front of mind as one of the main tenets in business-building.
It is people who will ideate and co-create and expand and mature your business to meet your aspirations and investor expectations.
If you’re ‘early stage’ in your startup journey and the incoming investment is the first significant external funding you have to spend, you may need to adjust your approach to recruitment entirely. Until now, you’ve probably gotten away with hiring staff purely on an as-needed basis and from your pool of friends, friends of friends and family. So far, your strategy has been one of “see gap, fill gap, and beg for favors”.
Following an investment round, however, your mindset needs to evolve to level up. Your new destination takes you to bigger leagues. Less about filling gaps and more about taking leaps. New requirements need new and experienced players - people who have gone where you are going. Those with the intensity and know-how to #getshitdone. Best in class accelerators. A full Roladex. Racehorses stomping in the starting blocks. You get the gist.
So what to do? How should you approach it? Well, here are our 6 top good soul tips….
1. Make some noise
Shout from the rooftops. Create publicity around the fact that you have fresh investment, you are backed and ready to go. This gives you publicity and market confidence. From LinkedIn posts to getting great PR bolstered by more in-depth articles in industry publications, make sure that people who are tuned in to your sector – and your brand – know that you mean business. Active candidates in the market will take note and may approach you along with the many well-wishers.
2. Assess your needs and don’t forget to look inside
So you need a new head of business – be it sales, marketing, product or franchising? Consider your existing staff, contractors and advisors first. Is there someone who could catapult the business forward in the next stage given the right remit and resources?
Someone already proving their gold in the business and ready to step up? They already buy into the brand and are presumably in-line with culture and directives. Is there the opportunity for your top middle-level guy or gal to take the big role? And increase motivation to go miles beyond the extra mile.
Recruiting internally at a more junior level is usually easier, cheaper and less risky but the caveat here is if you hire above them at a later date - new leadership can sometimes seek different things.
3. It’s all about the culture
Your new investors probably want results quickly - but don’t jump into hasty recruitment moves of the ‘close and convenient’ if you’re not sure it’s a fit. It’ll damage your values, disrupt your “flow” as a company and burn resources unnecessarily. A bad hire – especially at the top of the tree – is something you want to try to avoid.
Therefore, it is a good idea to start thinking about your recruitment strategies well before the money hits the account and think holistically about your leadership team. Between you, do you have the operational attention to detail to run the business efficiently as well as the fire and inspiration to break through the many barriers start-ups and scaleups face?
Personality, hunger and communication style all come into play as well as a pure skill set - and together you drive forward into the particular life stage of your business. These attributes can change as your business enters different phases and will attract different appetites for risk and the good corporate life.
4. Don’t try and clone existing staff
Early startups rely on a small number of great people doing lots of things across all areas of business. Generalists. Everyone is a multi-tasker when there are limited resources. The temptation is to hire more people just like you, and why not - it’s worked so far!
Once a product or service is viable, the thing about growth and ongoing product development is that it requires deep and relentless focus. The application of expert knowledge. Staff you can leverage every inch, seek out every possibility, nail every key client and follow through with the promise.
Hunt out specialists. Unearth experts. People with proven track records in whatever it is you need done.
Multi-taskers are great, and they have their place. But now, the time in the sun is for specialists.
5. If you find a bright star, sign them
So a proven sector superstar is interested in joining your team? Expensive. Sure. Scares you a little bit because of what they can do and who they know. Good. Nab them. Do everything you can to secure their services, provided they fit.
Of course it’s irresponsible to take an “at any cost” approach, and you both do need to keep a transparent and open dialog around how things are working out, but this may just be your Michael Jordan moment - cue The Last Dance on Netflix. Back yourself with the best talent possible. Business is a risk but getting that star power on your team can stack your odds. Your goal is to win the toss.
6. Get help in your search
Self-serving. Sure. But there’s a reason we at Good Soul Hunting exist.
Two main reasons.
1. To bounce your people strategy with a team with an independent viewpoint and a pulse on the current job market, the latest compensation trends and comparative offers in your sector.
2. To gain access to talent you can’t reach - like candidates from another sector with the skillset that could take your business to the next level, or those already in a role and not actively looking, but who would be perfect for your next phase and stage.
We know where they’re hiding and we know where to look.
It’s on you to put that hard-earned investment to work in the best way possible. To grow your business and to keep your investors off your back and jogging beside you. Getting your recruitment strategy sharp is crucial in achieving that, and an area you can’t cut corners in.
Do what you do best and let us do the same. We’re always open to an exploratory conversation.
Help first. Hunt second.
Get in touch: email@example.com
PICTURE: Pexels.com/Artem Beliaikin