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5 Secrets to Staffing an Early Stage Start-Up

Building the right team is crucial. Do you know who you want on yours?

Launching a great start-up is not easy. But one thing that can make it easier is a great team, writes Michael Fertik, CEO of, in The Harvard Business Review

Here are some things to keep in mind when assembling yours:  

Pick the right co-founder. "A good co-founder is vital, especially since co-founder issues are the reason many early start-up crash and burn," Fertik says. Partner up with someone whose strengths complement yours. If you're an expert in one field, make sure their expertise differs.   

Find a chief technology officer who won't break. To survive the "make it or break it" stage of launching a start-up, find someone who will work through the tough times. "Without this person, there is no product. You need someone whose intelligence exceeds your own and whose hunger to be the driving force behind bringing a product from concept to creation is overwhelming," says Fertik.   

Hire a forecaster. Every start-up needs a specialist who understands the product/market fit. "You need that person to be a forecaster, both a realist and a dreamer, who can give you reasonable assurance about the right direction to take the product and company at different point in time," says Fertik. 

Be efficient. "Don't hire people you don't need," warns Fertik. Instead of focusing on hiring PR, focus on the product and managing your finances instead.  

Be realistic. Don't focus on things you're not ready to do yet, such as hiring IT and getting your product to scale. "Remember -- the easiest money in the world comes at the end of this phone call: 'I'm turning away 90 percent of my orders because my servers can't keep up with demand,'" says Fertik. 

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Jun 10, 2013


Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

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