Product and sales, product and sales, product and sales… Whether you’re a startup or a scaleup, this is what you eat, sleep, and breathe, right? It’s the cornerstone of your business, and this level of intense focus is proving to be enough to keep you going.
But keeping going isn’t as exciting as you’d thought it would be, is it? It’s not making waves. It’s not giving you a spring in your step. And perhaps even more worryingly, it’s not generating the sort of returns that your shareholders are expecting. Your shareholders could be the most supportive people in the world – but they still need you to deliver.
It’s not enough to survive; you need to thrive.
And thriving means growing. It means continuing to focus on product and sales, while also having the time, the energy, and the confidence to explore new opportunities for innovation and modernisation. And that’s easier said than done. Managing your core business is already a full-time job. It’s time to hire.
But at such an early stage, isn’t hiring for growth overkill? You’ve already got to where you are now by doing things on your own, after all… you don’t need anyone, do you? McKinsey answers this question nicely, advising startups to ‘put your ego aside and hire up’ to scale up.
Breaking the trend
Unfortunately, not many businesses are listening.
There’s a really common trend that’s seen across many industries. Corporate growth partnerships are often only thought about when they’re needed. It’s a bit like waiting until the power goes out to invest in a torch.
Fintech, SaaS, and digital banking are some of the biggest offenders. If you’re in one of these industries especially, it’s time to break the trend.
The truth is that you probably have an idea about what an exec hire looks like already. We’re going to guess that this vision doesn’t really gel with the startup culture you’re aiming for. But how do you know what’s really out there unless you take a look?
Contrary to popular belief, executive search boutiques don’t just work with old fuddy-duddies. In fact, when you’re hiring for a role you haven’t hired for previously, there will usually be a full-blown mapping exercise to see what’s out there. There’ll be talent road maps for succession planning. There’ll also be budgeting forecasts to design a hiring strategy that does exactly what you need. That’s finding the right people, at the right time, to introduce change and take you in the right direction.
The challenges of growing a startup
Organisational structure… what’s that? As you probably already know, the idea of structure and hierarchy and organisation all pretty much go out the window in startups and scaleups. There’s no ‘I do this, you do that’. It’s much more of an ‘everyone has a finger in the pie’ type of scenario, especially when it comes to growth. Your role – and the role of your team, if you have one – is multifaceted.
We’ve seen this situation a lot. You’re trying to do it all, and deep down you know you need to bring on board new skills to turn your growth plans from concept into reality. But hiring adds yet another task to the to-do list. That’s why so many startups and scaleups put off hiring for growth until they quite literally can’t leave it any longer.
But who said hiring needs to be your responsibility? Business owners can address one of the biggest challenges of 21st-century growth simply by using external services to support their growth hires.
It’s time to look forward
Focusing exclusively on product and sales may be enough to keep you afloat, but it also means that you’re constantly looking backwards. You’re looking at what you can do, and you’re doing it. And while this may please clients, it’s not doing much to please shareholders.
It’s time to look forward. It’s time to look at what you’re capable of, and make it happen. Hiring new people who have ‘been there, done that’ – who have left legacies at companies that were once in this very same position – is key. It’ll help to ensure your growth continues in a way that keeps your clients happy. But it’ll also create new opportunities for the business, and tick the right boxes for your investors.
Ready to grow?
Ready to hire executives and leaders? Or upskill your existing talent acquisition function? We can help.
As a global executive search and talent acquisition advisor, we understand how important it is for you to grow and develop your business in line with your own vision and goals, as well as in line with the expectations of your shareholders. And we also know that hiring executive and leadership talent can be a little nerve-wracking!
At Innovex, we’re dedicated to finding you change and growth agents, as well as supporting your talent acquisition functions. If we aren’t running searches for you, we will provide advice, transformation, and coaching, giving you the tools that you need to find the best talent. We’ll ensure you’re always moving in the right direction. Get in touch with us to discuss your growth plans, or keep up-to-date with our latest advice for startups and scaleups on LinkedIn.