Top 21 startup mistakes to avoid: #10: hiring workers too soon, too late or starting with too many co-founders

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“Different skill sets and backgrounds are needed for the different positions you’ll want to fill. When you get started, make sure you have hard-working, all-around generalists who can do everything you need them to.

When you begin to grow, look at hiring those who are specialised for the roles that need a specialist. Don’t hire a generalist when you need someone who is specialised, and don’t hire a specialist when you could hire a generalist to do it.” ~ Devin Miller, Attorney, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, Miller IP Law

Waiting too long to hire and hiring too quickly

Another common mistake startups make is hiring workers too soon, too late or starting with too many co-founders. For many startups, as soon as they begin to make some sales with revenue coming in they conclude that the business has reached a point where they need to hire more people. They rush to do this, only to realise that it was a decision made too soon.

As an entrepreneur, you are naturally eager to move fast and build a big business. Not only that, but you are by nature impatient no matter how fast you are moving. That is partly what makes you who you are – and why you do not fit into the normal routine of a corporate job. Inevitably, you make the mistake of hiring someone too quickly. Just do not do it. Take your time on hiring – it is the single-most important investment you make. Do it carefully.

On the other hand, you also have the case where some founders refuse to hire people to assist the team though there are clear indications to do so – obviously, to avoid paying salaries/sharing part of their earning with people they might hire. Often, by the time they realise this much harm has been done to the business. The danger in refusing to hire on time is that it can prevent/impede the company’s growth agenda.

Do not get the hiring process wrong!

You must hire people anyway, whether now or later. What matters is how you do the hiring. The part of the hiring process that is constantly tweaked is the attempt to recruit the right people. This can be very tricky! So many startups have folded because the people hired were just not right for the company; perhaps a friend or a church-member who lacked the requisite skill for the job description, or someone did not fit in with the team because of a personality mismatch.

It is important to ensure that you have qualified people working at the startup. And ensure that everything is documented. No one wants an ex-employee to sue because a huge chunk of the company was promised in exchange for services; an agreement that was only sealed with a handshake.

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