Key roles in startups

In any organization, the decision of whom to hire plays a very crucial role in the future of the organization

And yes, having an excellent business idea and funding is essential to start, but it’s not everything a startup needs to succeed. 

Startups are a unique type of business that require a team of individuals to work together towards a common goal. To succeed, startups need skilled professionals who can execute their responsibilities effectively and perform in strategic positions. 

Keep this fact in mind: according to research conducted by CBINSIGHTS, 14% of startups fail because they don’t have the right team due to their inability to hire the right talent. 

Related: New models of work and how the worker has changed 

How to define the type of talent you need?

When recruiting talent for a startup, the traditional ways are not necessarily the most efficient; looking only at knowledge, experience, or academic background is not enough to attract and recruit the right talent for a startup. And this is not it, to define the type of talent you need involves taking into account several factors, such as the vision of your company, its objectives, its stage of development, and consequently, the specific skills and experience needed to achieve those objectives. To find that top talent and depending on the stage the startup is in, these are some steps you can follow: 

  1.  Assess your company’s goals: Start by defining the vision, mission, and objectives of your business. What problems does your startup aim to solve? What are your short-term and long-term goals? Understanding your company’s goals will help you identify the skills and expertise needed to achieve them. 
  1. Determine your company’s stage of development: Consider the stage of development of your startup, as this will help determine the type of talent you need. If you’re in the early stages, you may need a more versatile team able to handle multiple roles. On the other hand, if you’re in the growth stage, you may need more specialized skills to help scale your business.
  1. Identify key positions: Determine the most crucial roles that need to be filled in your company, and consider that this will depend on your company’s goals and stage of development. For example, if you’re focused on product development, you may need engineers, designers, and product managers. While if you’re more oriented toward sales and marketing, you may need salespeople, marketers, and customer support.
  1. Define the required skills and experience: Once you have identified the key positions, define the specific skills and experience needed for each role. 
  1. Consider cultural fit: Besides the skills and experience, consider the cultural fit when hiring for your startup. Look for people who share your company’s values, are passionate about your mission, and can work well with others in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.
  1. Leverage your network: Finally, leverage your network to find potential candidates. Reach out to your contacts, attend networking events, and post job openings on social media platforms and job boards to attract the right talent.

Related: Guide on fractional hiring for 2023 

Chief executive officer (CEO)

The CEO of a startup is the visionary, the leader, and the decision-maker. Its knack is based on dreaming big and being passionate about the company, but among all these qualities, good CEOs have an important quality: they work as a team player. The CEO is responsible for the overall management of the company and for guiding the team, they usually report to a board of directors and investors, and in their hands is the future and direction of the startup.

What are the main responsibilities of a CEO?

  • Set the vision and direction of the business.
  • Fundraising and financing.
  • Build the team.
  • Lead the company.
  • Develop partnerships.
  • Represent the company.
  • Create and embody the corporate culture and values.
  • Hire and lead the company’s executive team.
  • Focus on the needs of everybody in the company: from investors to employees, customers, and the board of directors.

Chief operations officer (COO)

The Chief Operations Officer (COO) of a startup is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and ensuring that the business runs efficiently and effectively. The COO is typically second in command to the CEO and works closely with other executives to execute the company’s strategy. The COO juggles and articulates several aspects of the business: the company’s performance, leading innovation, and building relationships with stakeholders.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

The CTO has a crucial role within the company, and since they also work very close to the CEO, we could say that they are the CEO’s right-hand person. CTOs help refine the strategies, tactics, and business objectives that will drive the startup. In the first phase of the startup, the CTO’s role is key because they are in charge of the IT and development aspects of the business while helping to create the product. 

Although the CTO’s main job is to lead the engineering team, they can play one of several roles, such as strategic planner, customer relations link, and infrastructure supervisor.

Chief financial officer (CFO)

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a startup is responsible for overseeing all financial aspects of the business, while managing the company’s finances, creating financial reports and forecasts, and making strategic financial decisions to support the startup’s growth.

Some of their key responsibilities would include:

  • Financial management.
  • Financial reporting and forecasting.
  • Strategic financial decision-making.
  • Fundraising and investor relations.
  • Compliance and risk management.

Related: How to fit a CFO in your team 

Product Manager

The primary role of the Product Manager is to deliver to the target audience a valuable product or service. In the early stages of the company, the Product Manager must ensure that the product is ready to be launched to the market and that there is a fit. Many times, the Product Manager works closely with other departments such as engineering, design, marketing, and sales to successfully develop and launch the product.

The Product Manager is a bridge between the product and the customer since they develop the non-technical aspects of the product, such as product positioning, creating user and buyer personas, and pricing.

Sales manager

A sales manager in a startup is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to increase revenue through sales. They oversee the sales team and work closely with other departments to ensure the business is achieving its goals.

Some specific responsibilities of a sales manager in a startup may include:

  • Develop a sales plan.
  • Build and manage a sales team.
  • Develop relationships with customers.
  • Analyze sales data.
  • Develop pricing strategies.

A sales manager in a startup is a crucial part of the business’s success, as they are responsible for driving revenue growth and ensuring that the company is meeting its sales targets.

Business development manager

A Business Development Manager looks for ways to grow the startup from a marketing and sales standpoint. A professional performing in this position is in charge of seeking business opportunities, both within the organization and with other companies, by identifying new markets, areas of expansion, partnerships, collaborations, ways to reach different targets, and, of course, attracting and retaining target customers.

The goal of the Business Development Manager is to identify and pursue growth opportunities that can help the company expand its market share, increase revenues and maximize profitability.

How to hire the right people for your startup

As you can see, hiring the right people is crucial for the success of any startup

Hiring the right talent for your startup is crucial, therefore is recommended that in the first stage of the project, you rely on a group of people to define what you need in your team and what talent you are going to hire; to start, you can find the first members through word of mouth and personal recommendations.

If you already have this in mind or have done it yet, you always can:

  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities.
  • Use targeted job descriptions: 
  • Use a variety of recruitment channels (job boards, social media, and referrals.)
  • Conduct thorough interviews.
  • Check references and background.
  • Evaluate cultural fit.

If you follow these tips, you can increase your chances of hiring the right people for your startup, which can drive the success and growth of your business.


BlueQuo: The #1 growth partner through top talent, tech, and magic.

At BlueQuo, we understand that finding the right people is critical for the success of any startup. That’s why we specialize in connecting startups with the best and brightest talent in the industry to build high-performing teams that can drive innovation and growth.

Our team has a deep understanding of the startup landscape, and we know what it takes to build a successful team. We work closely with startups to understand their unique needs and culture, and we use this knowledge to identify top talent that is the right fit for their organization.

Lastly, due to our great pool of talented professionals, we can find the best talent for a company at record speed. Also, our rigorous screening process ensures that we only recommend candidates with the skills, experience, and cultural fit that match the startup’s needs.

If you’re seeking to work with flexible talents contact us, and we can find the best talent for your company! 

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