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10 High-Responsibility Startup Roles a Founder Should Hire First

Published On
November 28, 2022
Read Time
Jay Magdani

Everyone talks about 90-95% of startups failing. But various studies have also shown that 23% of these fail as they do not have the right team. 

So, it is a given that one of your main goals should be to get the right team in place early on. Start your business with the best candidates and grow your team as your resources allow. You can hire more staff once you develop a product or service, launch your business, and eventually start making money. 

However, many entrepreneurs don’t know which positions they must first hire for in their startup journey. This article lists 10 startup roles you must prioritise and fill to drive your business to success.

10 Startup Roles to Hire First

The first few personnel and what they bring to the table can be pivotal to your startup journey. They are:

1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 

The CEO will be your company's most crucial player and is often in charge of the organization's overall strategy, vision, and culture. They allocate funds to the appropriate divisions and maintain relationships with investors. 

Primarily, the CEO handles the cash flow and manages revenue, expenses, and external funding. The CEO must guide the product based on the company’s vision and strategies. The CEO ensures that there are efficient teams to drive the product and the company toward success. 

The CEO is most importantly tasked with maintaining a good relationship with current and potential investors for the company. They must establish a good brand image for themselves and the company and gain the customers’ and investors’ trust to help scale the company. 

2. Chief Operating Officer (COO)

The COO primarily concentrates on the daily tasks that keep your business afloat. They are in charge of managing the organization's daily operations and are in charge of overall management. Moreover, they can offer advice on company projects and frequently serve as the CEO's sounding board. They can identify lucrative opportunities for the company and advise the CEO with corporate initiatives that can profit the company financially or otherwise. 

3. Product Manager

Your product manager is the point of contact for anything about your products. They oversee the creation, vision, and strategy of the product. They collaborate with the engineering and marketing departments to develop and advertise your products. They take customer feedback for the product and relay it to the product development team, aiding the timely upgrading of the product.

Product managers must have the business expertise to understand numbers and deal with stakeholders. They must be able to research and analyse various aspects of the product apart from showing exceptional communication skills. 

4. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Your company's success depends on having a team member with expertise in technology and development, especially for tech startups. You can hire freelance front-end and back-end engineers, but it's helpful to have a team member oversee this area. 

A CTO can assess what will work best for your firm tech-wise and monitor the integration and management of numerous systems. They will consider everything, including mobile technologies, software, and hardware.

The CTO can also take the initiative to optimise your internet presence by collaborating with the marketing manager when necessary.

5. Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

The CMO will pay close attention to your clients and how they perceive your product or service. To ensure that many people see your vision, you must hire a professional with exceptional marketing and promotional skills.

Typically, a CMO should be able to write copy, build landing pages, run ad campaigns, and handle social media marketing until you can expand and find specialists for each of these responsibilities. Once you have a team, the CMO should lead your startup's marketing front.

6. Sales Director

The Sales Director will create new leads and generate revenue for your business. A great sales representative or manager can generate handsome revenue, which can be used to hire more staff.

However, this is undoubtedly the most difficult job to fill. Finding a candidate with the right drive and skills will help your startup see significant results in no time.

7. Chief Finance Officer (CFO)

A CFO oversees all of the business's finances. The CFO accounts for the revenue and expenditure and has an eye for detail. In the early stages, the CFO’s responsibilities will range from obtaining bank financing and leasing properties to paying suppliers and managing petty cash. The CFO works closely with the founders or the CEOs to deal with factors like investor scrutiny and accounting compliances in the later stages of the startup. 

8. Business Development Manager (BDM)

While comparable to a sales manager, a business development manager looks for opportunities to expand your company from a marketing and sales perspective.

The BDM thinks about new markets, potential growth regions, new alliances, strategies to penetrate existing markets, and plans to attract your target audience. They will also look for offers and methods to differentiate you from your competitors.

9. Customer Support Executive (or) Customer Service Representative

Customer Service Representative (CSR) is the foundation of your brand to develop effective interactions with your clients and build good relationships with them. They help your brand connect with your customers by ensuring there are easy-to-access communication channels for the customers. They also interact with customers, address their concerns, and resolve them in the best possible manner to ensure they are satisfied and return.

10. Chief Creative Officer (CCO)

The CCO oversees all creative initiatives and activities within the organisation. The CCO chooses the company's creative direction and guarantees consistency across all creative channels.  

They ensure that the creative campaigns achieve specific objectives. They must have a wealth of creative ideas and good interpersonal communication skills to collaborate with various creative teams and departments. They are also familiar with technologies and applications for content generation and visual design principles.

Final Thoughts

The startup roles mentioned above are critical to launching a product and turning an idea into reality. However, some of these roles can be handled by the same person in case of a money crunch. It may seem excessive if all of these positions are occupied by different people, particularly with all the perks and salaries that come with executive positions. 

For instance, a CMO can also take on the role of a CCO if they are adept at multitasking and if each role does not require a separate person. It all boils down to the skills the hired person brings to the table. Once there are enough funds to expand, you can hire a specialized person for each role as deemed necessary. 

Hiring the right startup roles to see promised growth can take time and effort. Scalix is a resourceful platform that helps founders find their rhythm and scale their businesses.

Find out more on how Scalix can drive your startup journey.