Attracting Talent to Your Startup Organization
By Alan Olsen
Building a successful startup company takes a lot of work and there are several important factors that play a role in whether or not a company makes it. One of the most important factors is having the right talent in. However, that is also one of the biggest challenges for many startup companies, because not everyone, including many of the most talented individuals, wants to take that risk.
You Must Have Great Leadership
I spoke with Monty Kersten, a serial entrepreneur & angel investor, about his strategies for getting the best talent. Monty, who was the co-founder & CEO of VitalSigns Software, and now serves development-stage companies as an investor and advisor, spoke with me on my radio program American Dreams. I specifically asked Monty, who also serves as an independent board member of several private companies in Silicon Valley: How do you attract good talent? Monty shared several important factors with me but he told me that first and foremost you have to have great leadership behind the company.
Working for a Startup Comes With Risks
“The CEO, and if he has a co-founder, need to be strong leaders that can inspire confidence.” Monty pointed out that joining a startup is irrational from many points of view and that there are a lot of risks involved. Not only are you up against big competition but you also have many funding challenges as well. Many startups don’t make it and it’s often a lot harder to work for a startup. However, there are many pluses to working for a startup, too. Monty said it is “extremely exciting” and in fact he said, “Once you’ve worked in a startup you’ll never go back.”
Give Them a Piece of the Rock
Working for a startup is not for everyone. Some people will fit well and others will not. “There are startup people and then there are people that think they want to be startup people and then find out they’re not.” The way Monte sees it, if you want to attract those talented people who are the right fit for your startup you have to give them a “meaningful peace of the rock, classic stock option or participation in the company.” That means “true stock, common stock, none of these partnership units or other sorts of phantom stock. Just give them equity in the company. They vest over time, they work hard and they do all they can for success because they own a piece in the rock.”
The Right People Can Make the Difference
Every company wants to attract the best talent, but for startup companies it can be especially challenging. It takes the right leadership, the right business opportunities and the right incentives in order to get the best talent to come aboard. By making it worth their while, startup companies will have a much better chance to get the right people in place. To read more of Monte’s interview or about how startups can attract talent. Please visit our free website at www.groco.com and click on the American Dreams button.