National Incubation Center

HR Challenges for Startup Founders

A successful business is always a team effort; no matter how good or bad your business is doing; main responsibility of its performance lies with the team.  

Human resource is the biggest asset of an organization, no matter how big or small. Having human resource to complement each other’s skills paves way for companies to succeed. As a startup founder, you might be lacking in either business acumen, or in technical knowledge. Hence you might need someone to help you fill the void. The route you take to do so is your decision; but one that needs to be taken rationally. Whatever path you take, always remember that collaboration is the key. As a famous saying goes: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far then go with the team.’  

Should you be looking for a co-founder or aim to hire an employee? Well, we see successful examples of both. Steve Balmer was hired by Bill Gates for product development, while Steve Jobs partnered with Steve Wozniak, again for developing the product. 

If you have enough money, then it’s always good to hire your first EMPLOYEE. Employee in BOLD. Most startup founders, in order minimize costs, hire interns who unfortunately never take ownership of work, unless offered equity in the startup. As a result, the founder ends up paying a higher opportunity cost due to low performance and retention issues. Hence hire your first employee to help you achieve your startup goals. 

If you do not have enough resources to afford an employee, then it’s good to hunt for a co-founder. However, this should ideally be done while your business is at ideation stage and not after you have validated your idea, or already have paying customers. Most founders, when looking for a co-founder, look for people in their circle of friends and family. While it might be in your favor to work with someone you already resonate with; however, remember that this is a double-edged sword, and in case of conflict not only would your startup suffer but so will your relationship with that person.  

Last and definitely the least popular, and if I may say, the least desirable option is to either do it yourself or outsource a certain function(s) to some third-party organization. Again, the biggest downside of doing everything yourself means an opportunity cost for work which you are great at. But if all else fails for you, then invest time in your startup, learn the skill and do it yourself. 

In conclusion remember: As a business owner it’s good to know about all business operations but it is NOT recommended to do it all by yourself. You will always need people to work with you and for you. As the founder of your startup, you need to rationally decide which approach to go for, and at what stage of the business you need additional resources.  Taking the right decision at the right time is important to build that human resource capacity which will turn your startup into a high growth company with soaring revenues and profits.

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The National Incubation Center (NIC) Program is a funded project of Ignite – Ministry of IT & Telecom.