by James D. Earnshaw
Hiring the best people can ensure that your invention goes from idea to market in the most optimal way possible.
But with more and more startups popping up, competition to reach the market and get funding is getting even tougher. In fact, the startup failure rate within the first four years of operation is approximately 44%.
Joining an inventors’ club from Inventors’ Digest or the United Inventors of America is a step in the right direction. It gives you an opportunity to learn from other inventors. However, this should be one of your initial steps. There are many more things that you need to address such as infrastructure.
One of the key elements that help startups succeed is having a highly productive but flexible team. So with that in mind, here are the five vital positions you should hire to equip your startup with the best possible chance of succeeding:
Usually known as the Chief Executive Officer, a visionary leader is the main strategist in the company. While not necessarily the highest paid or the highest equity holder, the CEO leads the team, sets the pace, and steers the company in the right direction. A great CEO is also a dreamer. Choose one that exudes passion and believes in the product or service your company provides.
The Operations Manager
The heart of any startup is the Chief Operations Officer who streamlines processes and organizes the workflow. As operations manager, good COOs set targets with business strategies, fiscal management with growth timelines, and internal processes with employee responsibilities.
Inc. magazine reports that having the right COO can mean the difference between success and failure. In terms of hardware, COOs are crucial in creating an effective strategy for shipping and logistics, warehouse organization, return policies, manufacturing, and supply chain management. COOs oversee the organizational structure and make sure that it is in line with the project development scheme appropriate for your invention. Simply put, a good COO will restructure your company to ensure your product has the best chance of succeeding.
Chief Legal Officer is a leader that minimizes the risks and protects the company from any legal challenges that may arise.
A post-mortem study on failed startups by CB Insights revealed that around 8% of them failed because of legal hurdles. From protecting intellectual property to limiting liability, startups can get bogged down with an influx of legal issues even before reaching the market. Special Counsel outlines several attorney personality types which could be useful in determining the legal professional that you need to be on your side. While the extremely results-oriented “Rainmaker” can help inventors with pressing legal aspects when pitching a new service or product, the rational “Litigator” could be more useful if you’re expecting to be sued by competitors.
Chief Financial Officers are vital not just because they know the financial flow of the company but because they are also strategists in growing revenue and cutting costs. Without a good CFO, your company might be at risk of pursuing a non-viable business model to push your product. VCs expect CFOs to stand as the mentors of CEOs and the company.
Medium reports that 42% of startups fail because they didn’t solve a market need. With such a competitive marketplace, startups must solve a meaningful problem for its customer base if they hope to survive. A Chief Sales Officer bridges the vision of the company to the public. Great CSOs come up with strategies to not only ensure sales but to create loyal customer bases for the product or service the company renders. Choose people who have a high aptitude for openness and feedback from your customer base, and people who will continuously research methods that will help find a market for your product.