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Scaling Fast: How to Make Sure You Have The Startup Team to Keep Your Momentum

Specno
February 21, 2024

When scaling is vital, finding the right startup team members is critical to your success – here’s how to ensure you have the right team at the right time, what you really need at every startup phase and how to supplement so you can keep growing

In winner-takes-all industries, moving too slowly can be fatal. Mckinsey showed in its report Grow Fast or Die Slow that startups who maintain a 60% growth rate are 8 times more likely to reach $1 billion than those who just manage 20%. Hence VCs often make decisions based on growth ability, not long-tail profitability.

That’s doubly true in Tech where most products hinge on the “network effect” – your product gains value the more people use it; like Google, Twitter or the likes of SA startups OfferZen and FinMeUp. See what startup support you need to make it happen.

The challenge is getting the right startup team members when you need them. 

The right startup team at the right time

As we saw in our post on outsourcing and insourcing, it’s time-consuming and costly to hire an internal team, which is why you likely need to supplement near-constantly with external professionals – see why your business needs a digital consultant.

But before you even get to that, it’s vital to have an idea of what kind of startup team you’ll need at every stage of growth…

Building and Organising a startup team: core roles and Responsibilities

Different startups, ideas and products will have different needs, but in general, we can almost always group Tech startup team skills and capabilities into 3 main categories:

Engineering

Design

Product

  • How do we build it?
  • Does it work?
  • When do we ship?
  • How do users experience this?
  • What is their behaviour?
  • What is the problem we’re solving?
  • How do we measure this?
  • What is priority?

Your startup team always needs the right mix of these core skills, just at varying degrees at different startup stages.

What should a startup team consist of at various startup phases?

Again, different businesses need unique solutions, but, in general, this type of mix works well in Tech…

The Garage Era

Time to Scale Up

In the Big Leagues

  • Dreamer – CEO

  • Builder/Engineer – Chief Tech Officer

  • Hustler – Sales Officer

  • Growth hacker – Marketing Officer
  • Same as before, plus…

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

  • Business Development Manager

  • Customer Service Representative
  • Product Team

  • Design Team

  • Engineering Team

  • Product Components Team

  • Feature Development Team

  • Business Support Personnel

 

As you can see, assembling the right startup team goes way beyond just building a development team (also see why you need a scrum master). You need to know how to increase active users. And then you have one particular challenge many established companies don’t face – you need people with startup experience. 

The vital ingredient: People with startup experience

Let’s just face the facts right now: in the process of building your startup, you’re probably going to get a lot of applicants with no startup experience. And they’re going to tell you they are up for it, but how can you really know?

Working at a startup requires a level of dedication, responsibility, and both individual and team effort you usually don’t find at an established business. 

Not to mention the constantly changing environment. US entrepreneur-mentor Steve Blanks famously said a startup is “a temporary organisation looking for a repeatable business model”. Let’s face it, you’re probably going to want to/need to pivot at some point, and the ideal team in that environment is people who love change – i.e. people who love working at startups.

We at Specno know it because we’ve been around the block a few times…

Specno’s startup team and scaling experience

Yes, we are a software development agency, but we invest heavily in developing our startup ecosystems. Specno has worked with over 100+ startups, like:

  • FinTech: Personal finance platform: FinMeUp
  • E-comm: Last-mile B2B platform: Jumla
  • Ticketing: Leading SA ticketing provider: Quicket
  • SaaS: Team management software: ServCraft and the ServCraft App
  • Blockchain: Web 3 solutions: Momint

To name but a few.

And we work closely with 200+ Tech investors, offering specialist services just for startups.

Also see our guide to scaling your software.

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