How to Stack the Perfect C-Level Team for Your Start-Upby QArea Team on September 13, 2016
This question is similar, if not identical, to “How can I make a billion dollars?” A solid team of the professional dedicated development team can easily pilot a project to a huge success. The project will still need reliable financial support, an impactful business idea, and talent to back it up, but it will reach its full potential only with the help of real C-level executives.
Any modern start-up needs a bunch of different specialists who can maneuver around various obstacles that a start-up faces.
The bigger a start-up gets, the more dedicated professionals it needs to continue succeeding. At some point, the company grows into a well-oiled machine that has a plethora of “Cs” at its disposal.
Only these machines generate sizeable revenues and make a business as efficient as possible.
How do you get to the point where every single important process is being closely supervised and the corporation works like a naturally cohesive ecosystem?
You start small and build up your team, filling it with suitable employees and efficient managers. Let’s talk about the process of building up a team and creating enough room for your future C-level staff.
Who are the best Cs?
A C-level executive is basically a manager who is a chief of a particular aspect of a business. There are various chiefs with detailed sets of tasks that they have to do.
For example, a Chief Information Officer oversees the IT aspects of a business, a Chief Content Officer manages various content types produced by the company, etc. There are over 120 corporate titles and all of them have a distinct set of responsibilities.
The Cs are the pillars of any corporation. They act as joints between various departments and usually reroute information from said departments to the top level executives.
The bigger a corporation grows, the more processes it starts to run in-house and the more C-level executives have to be added to the team. The network needs more corporate “joints” to operate properly. This is the nature of corporate evolution.
Yes, the very concept may seem like it bends the very nature of the free-spirited start-up concept. But think about having to worry about several teams. You can start in a garage in a small group of three. But as more and more employees are attracted – they will demand efficient leaders.
They will need a beacon to follow and you’ll thank additional shoulders to lean several troubles on.
Is it possible to run a company without assigning C-level executives and trying to manage a multitude of business processes on your own? Yes – if you enjoy painful agonies 24/7. If you are sane – the answer’s “no”.
If you don’t feel like outsourcing, pay attention!
First and foremost, having a C-level executive enables responsibility and accountability. People in charge are responsible for the results, and it is much easier to pinpoint the real issues with your company when there are accountable officers managing specific departments.
Secondly, the amount of crucial business processes grows exponentially with the expansion of the company. If your company grows fast and you do not have specialized professionals helping you to control the growth, you will simply lack time to fill the gaps with the right people.
Cs are important, especially for modern start-ups that have a good boost from crowdfunding or angel investors and start growing before starting to actually generate profits. Often, when the product or a service needs those Cs to succeed, it has none and falls flat when it truly matters.
Sometimes, the problem is in poor marketing. Sometimes, your engineering solutions turn out to be lackluster. There are always reasons why a failure happens. However, most of the time, it is the lack of C-level management that causes your company to fail.
Start small and grow big!
This is advice that many do not follow. Our contemporary start-up owners get carried away by the amount of funding they receive and it leads to a scenario which causes much concern.
Instead of amassing resources and building a proper managerial infrastructure, a start-up owner starts to invest in expanding the staff, building distribution channels right away or enhancing technological capabilities of the company.
When the time comes, the company is simply not ready to generate enough profit. Why? Without proper research, distribution channels do not work as intended.
The lack of staff management makes it hard to control a big squad of professionals. Without a VMO or a similar structure, IT aspects become expensive and drain the budget.
Our advice is to grow slower and refrain from spending money uncontrollably. Instead, invite a couple of responsible C-level executives, let them create a proper plan for their respective departments, cut the expenses where possible, and allow them to conduct necessary research and studies before spending your capital.
This means that you need to find these C-level executives.
How do you find a good C-level executive?
Some people believe that a good C is a person who has a specific education. However, this is far from true. Having a degree is certainly very important, but not as important as actual skills and experience.
Without those, a C-level will never be efficient enough to justify having their corporate title. Here’s an incomplete list of skills that we believe are vital for a good C-level executive:
- Specific knowledge. It is impossible to hire a cook to coach a basketball team. Similarly, it’s not a good idea to put a person without any business management experience in charge of marketing.
- . Having deep experience in specific domains is welcome. It’s possible that a young specialist can perform well as a C-level manager, but an experienced professional will always provide more meaningful expertise.
- Great personal qualities. Responsibility, result oriented, enthusiastic—you name it. A weak personality cannot become a leader. Any C-level executive is supposed to lead their department or at least a part of your team, so personal traits are very important.
Undoubtedly, you can find such people by simply browsing through innumerable profiles on LinkedIn or asking various agencies to seek employees for you following a specific list of criteria.
However, one of the most obvious ways to build your own team of C-levels is to assign your current capable team members and move them up in ranks. Be careful and do not promote your employees just because they’ve been with you for a long time and you believe in their loyalty.
Make sure that your employee has all the skills and characteristics needed for the position.
Grow bigger and expand your C-level staff
One of the most important positions amongst C-level executives is CHRO (Chief Human Resource Officer).
This manager essentially manages your employees and makes sure that you always have enough manpower to solve specific business problems. At the same time, this manager helps you to expand your team. Generally speaking, a CHRO searches for good Cs for you and enables you to grow your staff easily.
How do you ensure that you have the right people?
It is imperative to continually search for staff upgrades. Whenever you meet other people from the industry, make sure you share contacts with them and talk about their experience.
You may need to change staff members, replace leaving officers or simply hire additional executives, and having an expansive list of business contacts helps greatly.
Another important thing is nourishing in-house talent. While many specialists simply cannot be raised, there are certain positions in your corporate hierarchy that can be filled with people purposely trained to fill them.
For example, if you run an IT start-up, chances are that you have a knowledgeable IT engineer who knows the technology well. When you allow yourself to hire additional staff members, you can easily assign this person to a C-level position and hire a less important employee in his stead.
Force your employees to continually improve and learn new things that can be useful for a C-level executive. Send them to various conferences and meetings; buy online courses for them. When they have enough knowledge, they will make perfect Cs.
Lastly, a team full of great C-levels will definitely deliver great results. You will need to keep them motivated and interested in continuing to perform up to the expected level.
Nice payments and bonuses, little presents, teambuilding practices—combine them together and make sure that your employees and especially C-level executives feel comfortable working for you and alongside you.
Make sure that your employees have room to grow. Eventually, C-levels have to move up and become senior managers.
Again, you need to make sure that your Cs constantly learn and improve. The corporate philosophy should be quite transparent in terms of accountability. The higher you move, the more responsible you are, so make sure that your C-level executives understand that and are always ready to be promoted.
This is another reason why you should be careful and selective when choosing the right people for your C-level management.
A good team of C-level executives provides you with lots of data to work with and free you from supervising different branches of business process, allowing CEOs to operate much more efficiently.
Without Cs, a team will fall flat when it matters.
Let’s wrap up our advice in a short summary. To stack your team with efficient C-levels, you need to:
- Constantly scout for available professionals;
- Allow your current employees to be promoted, thus encouraging improvements amongst your staff members;
- Provide good employment conditions for your C-level executives;
Start small and grow your team and company step-by-step.
Contact us for further guidance and support!
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