Hiring your first few employees is one of the key decisions you will have to make. You will have to decide what positions to fill first. Founders need to be willing and able to do everything themselves initially, ranging from selling to customers to taking out the garbage. Your hiring plan should be linked to your business goals and the availability of funds. The team should be kept lean , and all the non-core activities should be outsourced. Hire for attitude - make sure that the employee believes in the mission of your company , and is willing to take ownership and work in a high paced and unstructured environment.
3 major sources for hiring are: Personal Network, Online portals and Referrals from existing team members. Since the third option is out and the first one may also be unavailable for many founders, online hiring is the most promising option left. Some of the best online portals are internshala, lets intern, angel list and linkedin. Pick up the phone and talk to people, even those you dont like much from the resume. Every interview is a learning experience for you. Hire people who want to work for equity and compromise on cash salary because these are the ones who believe in your idea and the venture.
One misconception some founders have while starting up is that a great idea is enough to raise seed funds. It is rare that an investor will invest in a company only on the basis of great idea, investors want to see some traction before they are willing to invest in a start-up. Initially , you may need to bootstrap ( run on the money that you get from paying customers) ; or arrange a small amount of capital , either through your savings or from your friends and families to get things going. Start developing your Minimum Viable Product and build your business step-by-step. Another misconception is that all young businesses are meant to raise funds. There are several businesses which are not suitable for VC money , because VCs need an exit, which means they demand exponential high growth. Don't forget that there are many great businesses who have never raised VC money ! Also, investor money can be an expensive way of raising funds, so do look for alternatives, including venture debt and crowd-funding.
• That investors can be fooled with buzz words like AI, ML: If anything, an overuse of jargon only upsets them • A great idea is enough: Investors want to see some prototype, user validation, team quality and huge growth potential before they even give you a second meeting • That it's a free ride: It's a big responsibility • That it lasts forever: It evaporates much faster than you projected • That if 5 investors have rejected the idea, perhaps it's no good: I know founders who were rejected by 36 investors before being decently funded • Any money is good: A bad choice in investors will be a costly decision in the long term
Running a start-up solo is an extremely challenging task. It is a good idea to have at-least one co-founder alongside, who can help you deal with the ups and downs you will encounter. If you don’t have any person in your circle who fits the role , then you will need to hunt long and hard to find the right co-founder . Look on online social networks; attend offline events; and reach out to your network of friends and ex-colleagues. Before joining hands with your potential co-founder , make sure that you have several meetings with the person . It's a good idea to go together on a 7-day holiday, to check if the chemistry is right. Do you have common interests and complementary skills ? Remember this is one of the most important decisions that you will have to make while building your business from scratch - and a mistake can prove to be very expensive later on ! Make sure you sign an inter-se agreement, in case you fall out later on.
One interesting thread on being careful while selecting a co-founder : https://twitter.com/tweetingva/status/1102435884014678017