By necessity when just starting out, business owners wear several hats within the company. Possibly all the hats, at first.
They are the CEO, CFO, lead salesperson, marketer, manager and more. And as an entrepreneur who’s fully invested in their business, it’s hard to led go of the reigns in some areas of the business. But eventually, something has to give. The time will come to hire staff and outsource roles to take things off your already stuffed plate.
For new entrepreneurs, this can be a difficult turning point. Missteps made at this stage can be costly—even devastating—to a startup.
Matt Rissell, the CEO of TSheets Time Tracking, his sixth successful startup, breaks down what to insource versus outsource at first. Here’s an outline on how to shape a team—and the leader’s position within the company—in order to strike business gold.
For many CEOs, the answer to what to outsource is nothing. Here are the exceptions:
Bookkeeping is good to outsource, hired along with a separate CPA who has the right tools to manage sales tax. Small business owners can wear the hat of an accountant, but it takes time and energy to keep track of everything. Outsourcing to a business accountant early on can save you trouble in the long-run.
A few aspects of marketing can be outsourced, but when the time is right to hire a top-level executive to build a marketing strategy and execution plan, bring them on.
Now what to never outsource, if possible.
Especially for technology start-ups, outsourcing product development and software engineering can be a huge mistake—especially if that’s core to your product or service. Your technology will likely need constant reworking, and you want a team that’s all in and completely focused.
Then, never outsource customer service. Customer service is crucial for growing your business. For both of these, the DNA of a company and its vision will come through in the product and service, especially how customers feel treated.
As the CEO, do as much as you can. You know the vision for your business, so the first steps are yours to take.
But as you grow, start to interview yourself for the different positions you see shaping inside your company.
Sit yourself down in a chair, put an empty one in front of you, and ask yourself the questions:
Experience. Education. Objectives. Etcetera.
Objectively, if you wouldn’t hire yourself for that role, it’s time to break the good or bad news. Fire yourself from the things you’re worst at first. Next, fire yourself from things you like the least. Finally, move into the role that suits you best and only you can do.
CEOs can lead from any position or any division in a company.
A rockstar at marketing can be the CEO. The head of engineering can be the CEO.
It’s all about finding what they excel at most—their personal sweet spot. Then focusing on the strategy and leadership that your business needs.
However, every CEO must be an excellent salesperson—not just of the product or service, but of a phenomenal vision that will attract the best team members to join the company and build around.
Whoever is hired at a company from the start will dictate the future of those recruited.
Start high. Start with the best. Even when desperate, don’t compromise.
By following this formula, CEOs can expertly wear the HR hat too, until they find the perfect fit to replace them. In-house, of course.