Regardless of how brilliant your concept/product/service may be to the world of consumers, if you don’t have the best employees in place to produce what needs to be consumed, your business will fail.
Quality talent – top talent – will make or break a startup. Having them on your team will make your life easier, your idea better and your returns more profitable. So how do you convince them to leave their cushy, high paying, secure job to take a role with your startup?
Have a Good Business Plan and Goals
Regardless of the size or longevity of the company, when a business plan is not in place, failure will follow. A business plan is vital to providing a firm roadmap for leverage in luring both investors and talent. The basis of a viable business plan is to first outline your company’s goals. You know what you’re doing, what you want to do and how to get there. The more clearly you express that in your plan, the more confident your investors and employees will be in your company, making you appear as lower risk and higher reward.
Research your niche and know what everyone else is already doing. By becoming an expert in your field, you will attract investors and talent. Define your edge, and why that makes you the place to be. What do you do that no one else does? What do you offer that they can’t? Every business has a unique feature – find it and highlight it. Also be sure to identify your team’s weaknesses to know the talent to hire with those strengths.
Becoming organized is essential to the success of your business plan. Create a detailed accounting of every step in the process towards reaching your goals; from launch to IPO and also for undesired exit plans. These days, candidates cycle from one job to the next every few years. Even if your company fails, it generally takes several years before your path is firm and clear. Of course, putting the right talent in place can keep failure from happening. Your business plan is a fluid document – finances, trends and your resulting strategies change. Keep your plan as up to date as your research, marketing and financial reporting. Having a multi-year game plan in place gives talent a measure of security with you, compared to the same timeline with a standard stepping-stone role at a more established company.
In the end, your goals allow you to measure success on both a company and employee level. Communicating those goals reassures your team that a strong foundation is in place and tells them where your desired structure is heading.
Recruiting Talent to Your Startup
You don’t have to be big to be known. What is most important is getting your name out there. Links to your press coverage on established name brand sites carry weight with talent, instantly making your company more relevant. Speak at industry conferences and network with the resulting ready-made audience of people interested in your brand; if your leadership is as inspiring as it should be, this could be easy-pickings.
Avoid Hiring Blinders. Just remember that sometimes the hiring process creates them. Be careful not to fall into the trap of just hiring the most talented person for the job, if that person is not as passionate about your goals as you are. You are passionate about your company. You want to target talent with the same passion for your niche. Therefore your team of talent needs to be as supportive of your goal as you are in order for the organization to excel.
The lure of having the opportunity to work in a place producing this shared passion can be enticing enough. If they still need a stronger pitch, sell them on the edge that startups overall can provide.
Promote your creative incentives/benefit packages when listing your job so candidates can see what you are able to offer them that will advance their career (such as allowances for courses, new equipment, seminars, etc.) Explain how working for you is not only a secure career path, it is advantageous to their career. By being able to take ownership of greater responsibilities, their growth is recognized more easily and promoted more quickly than when working in a large corporate structure. Their ideas get noticed and implemented more quickly in a supportive environment.
How To Retain Employees
Once you’ve hooked that premier talent, don’t let them slip away. Be the lead and inspiration that your organization needs. Create a place where talent can develop, learn, grow and advance. Foster and emphasize personal relationships with your team, allowing for flexibility in their roles, their location and their hours to maximize their talent for your brand.
Don’t be the boss, be the leader. Be the loudest source of motivation, making your enthusiasm contagious. Top talent wants to work for an energized organization embracing their contributions, not following the same red tape procedures. Switching over to a startup can be like throwing open a window to fresh air after languishing in a stuffy cubicle – if your game plan is strong, you trust in their abilities and your attitude is inspiring.
And what better way to promote your brand than through your employees? Referrals from quality talent usually result in more quality talent. Implement a rewarding referral program. The better their experience is, the more they will talk to their friends, family and former co-workers about the best decision they ever made – working for you.
Millennium Search is an Executive Search Firm focused on recruiting talent for the high technology industry. Speak with us today about your search for top talent!