You’ve completed your business plan and now you’re trying to get the right people in the team.

Be patient as it’s going to take a lot of time and deliberation.

Critical to every organization, the team will play a big part in paving the way to success. A ton of responsibilities and tasks will be put on the plates of team members. So you’re going to have to decide very carefully. 

Who do you want in your team?   

Keep in mind that building your own startup is going to be very challenging and difficult. And you’re going to need all the help you can get. With a tight budget and very few people in your team, every member will definitely serve more than 1 role. 

We’ve broken it down to these 7 roles:

The Dreamer

In normal terminology, this position is usually referred to as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer). This is the person who had the big idea in the first place. He or she drives the passion within the team. 

As the leader of the team, one of the main objectives is to ensure that everyone stays motivated and doesn’t wander off the path. There will be constant reminders and meetings led by the CEO about why everyone is there in the first place. 

When times are bad or when outsiders believe that the company is a total failure, the CEO proudly continues to carry the baton. He or she always believes in their idea and never gives up. Often charismatic and a people’s person, others are willing to follow in his or her direction.   

Let’s take a look at some of the roles and responsibilities:

  • Setting corporate culture
  • Leading change and motivating employees
  • Management of the company’s physical and financial resources
  • Supervision of the company’s operations

Compared to the other roles, the CEO oversees many departments within the organization and does not only focus on one area. The job description, as well as, requirements will vary depending on the business and size of the company.  

Required Experience: 

  • Masters degree in business administration, management or a relevant field
  • Has managed teams
  • Has dealt with media and public relations

Some notable startup CEOs: Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), Travis Kalanick (Uber), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat).

The Accountant

While the CEO takes care of the overall leadership of the startup, ‘the Accountant’ handles all the financial aspects of the company. Otherwise dubbed as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer), he or she is in charge of the financial situation and direction. 

The CFO provides accurate and timely analyses of budgets, forecasts, trends, and P&L statements. 

The roles and responsibilities involve, but are not limited to:

  • Financial recording and reporting
  • Preparation of budgets, forecasts, and analyses
  • Developing financial and tax strategies

Required Experience:

  • Masters Degree in Finance, Law or Accounting
  • CPA certification is a plus
  • Has worked with e-commerce payment solutions

Some notable startup CFOs: Anthony Noto (Twitter), Sarah Friar (Square), Ajay Vashee (Dropbox)

The Salesperson

Also known as the CSO (Chief Sales Officer), this role has everything to do with hustling. The main objective of the CSO is to sell the product that the team has developed. In doing so, he or she will manage the sales team as well as develop all sales-related strategies. 

The CSO not only pursues all the leads and potential customers but also builds and maintains relationships with all the key people. 

Among the most important roles, the ‘salesperson’ will stop at nothing until the idea sells and reaps profits. Here are some of the roles and responsibilities:

  • Providing leadership and direction for the overall sales strategy
  • Monitoring sales channels and services
  • Analyzing the business, performance as well as competition
  • Establishing and maintaining long term relationships with key customers, potential customers, and strategic partners

If you’re looking to hire or team up with a CSO, watch out for some of these requirements:

  • Master’s Degree in Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Finance, or any other business-related field
  • Previous work experience in a high-level sales position in a fast-paced and dynamic business environment
  • Excellent communication, analytical, interpersonal and leadership skills

You may have come across this role before as the Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales. 

Some notable startup CSOs: Hunter Madeley (Hubspot), Luke Massery (OYO), Jason Marr (Sonarworks)

The Marketeer

Labeled as ‘The Marketeer’, the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is in charge of marketing, advertising, brand identity. He or she presents the company in the best way possible. This person crafts the story and mission statement. 

Often possessing tremendous leadership and communication skills, the CMO has to be innovative in creating marketing strategies. The aim here is to build the brand in order to have a positive impact on sales, awareness, perception, and other brand-related factors. 

Some roles and responsibilities of ‘The Marketeer’ cover:

  • Leading and supervising the marketing department
  • Initiating and implementing marketing strategies
  • Focusing on online and offline initiatives
  • Storytelling


  • Master’s degree in business, marketing or a related technical field
  • Successful track record in building brand awareness
  • Able to use marketing software
  • Possesses a good understanding of marketing analytics

From company to company, the name of the position varies, but the roles and responsibilities remain the same. The CMO is often referred to as the Chief Brand Officer as well as the VP of Marketing.  

Some notable startup CMOs: Kelly Bennet (Netflix), Seth Farbman (Spotify), Melissa Waters (Lyft).

The Artist

The creative person in the group, ‘The Artist’ is often referred to as the CCO (Chief Creative Officer) or Creative Director. Involved with the development of artistic aspects, the job description covers the creation of materials that can help promote the company’s products and/or brand. 

This role entails designing the app, website, and all the branding elements – all the work related to creativity and visuals.

Required Skills:

  • Strong creative talents
  • Able to manifest vision through digital and print media
  • Ensures visuals, messaging, interactive designs are on point

Required Experience: 

  • Master’s degree in business, visual arts or graphic design
  • Previous experience as a digital media specialist, copywriter, media production  

Some notable startup CCOs: Toke Nygaard (Zendesk), Bruce Campbell (Salesforce), Lee Mincy (Optimizely)

The Techie

Responsible for the development of information technology and information systems, ‘the Techie’ or also known as CTO (Chief Technology Officer) builds the product from the ground up. After building the product, systems are put in place to ensure smooth operation. All new technologies are often taken into account to provide better efficiency. 

The role includes the management of business technologies, infrastructure services, digital development, site, and software development, just to name a few. 

Required Skills:

  • Superior computer skills
  • Deep understanding of software technologies
  • Comprehensive knowledge of data management and processing

Required Experience:

  • Master’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Technology or any related field
  • Has worked in a senior engineering position

Some notable startup CTOs: Daniel Sturman (Roblox), Robin Ducot (Survey Monkey), Venu Venugopal (Udemy)

The Facilitator

This person oversees all operations, finances, legal, recruitment. Also known as the COO (Chief Operating Officer), he or she covers all the factors that keep the company’s engines running. 

A COO would expect to see these types of roles on a day-to-day basis:

  • Supervising daily operations
  • Reporting to the CEO about significant events
  • Conveying company policy and regulations to employees
  • Encouraging expansion and tapping into international markets  

Required Experience: 

  • Masters Degree in management, business or a relevant field
  • Vast work experience and knowledge of different industries

Some notable startup COOs: David Sangster (Nutanix), Emilie Choi (Coinbase), Scott Keane (Bitly)

The 7 roles mentioned above are key and detrimental to the success and failure of the startup. The roles, responsibilities and required experience may vary from organization to organization.

What about other roles?

Apart from the 7 roles, there are also other roles in the organization that you may have to think about. These other roles may range from assistance all the way to coding. 

Let’s take a look at how to deal with the hiring of other roles. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration. For example, you might have to budget wisely and be cost-efficient when it comes to hiring.  

In today’s digitally connected world, you can easily find skill and talent. When you need a specific job to be done, simply connect to the Internet and find a suitable candidate.

When it comes to accountability and tracking, use Time Doctor. You’ll receive screenshots and the exact time that was spent on each task. You’ll be able to monitor the productivity of your entire team.

For more info, visit Time Doctor

All in all, startups typically have these crucial roles at the core of the team. The general roles and responsibilities in all startups are basically the same. As for other roles, many startups resort to outsourcing, to cut costs where possible. 

It won’t be a piece of cake to assemble your team, but selecting the right members will certainly pay off. 



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Money, money, money. 

‘Money makes the world go round’. It is probably the sole motivation of many entrepreneurs.

A lot of people go into business for one reason – to make money. However, according to British business magnate, Richard Branson, it isn’t actually a good idea. If this is your main reason, your business is likely to fail.

On the other hand, if you are dedicated and passionate about a particular field, that energy can be highly influential. Not only does it inspire the people who work for you, your audience catches on to it as well.   

“When you believe in something the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals.” -Richard Branson

So… are you still interested in establishing your own startup?

If you are, you’ll have to figure out what makes you tick. You’re going to travel through time. Revisit your past, reflect on the present, and zoom in to the future.  

Here are some brainstorming ideas:

Reconnect with your Inner Child

Kids are always running around with tons of energy and I feel a little envious when I see how excited and hyper they can get. But I remind myself that I was once a kid, too. 

Try to embrace that inner child within you. And release it. The objective here is to rediscover your passion and feel super psyched again. Reminisce to your childhood days.

What were your childhood aspirations?


When you were 10 years old, what did you tell everyone you were going to be? 


What were your favorite activities and hobbies?


What did you spend most of your time doing? 


Remind yourself about who you were as a child. And that you are actually the same person now. You are still curious, playful, and spontaneous.
Grab a pen and paper. Write down all these memories from your childhood. It will give you plenty of ideas. 

For example, when I was young, my aspirations changed every month. In January, I wanted to be a doctor. In February, I wanted to be an engineer. In March, I wanted to be an interior designer. 

When I look back at these memories, I sort of understand why I didn’t only have one aspiration. Because I liked so many things. And to this day, I still like all these things.

I regularly read about health and technical stuff. My friends like to tease me and call me the Google Doctor. Or in my spare time, you’ll see me pinning nice interiors on Pinterest. I have an entire collection of bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens that I simply love to drool over. 

And although I didn’t end up becoming a doctor or designer, I’m still very much interested in these subjects. Who knows I’ll start a business in that industry one day. 

The first step is to brainstorm all these areas of interest. Brainstorm all the things you’ve liked since you were young up until now. And then slowly dig deeper.  


Focus on your skills

Everyone is equipped with skills. You may have picked them up over the years from school or your job or even from hobbies. These skills can be divided into two categories – professional skills and personal skills. 

These are some examples of professional skills:

  • Leadership and Management
  • Project Management
  • Presentation
  • Team Building
  • Critical Thinking
  • Research
  • Languages
  • Softwares

And some examples of personal skills:

  • Car Maintenance
  • Gardening
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Sports
  • Games
  • Arts
  • Cooking
  • Plumbing

Look into the skills that you have honed. Something that you have good knowledge about. You wouldn’t want to step into unknown territories. 

Choosing an industry where your skills lie will be beneficial. If you are skillful in certain areas, it will be easier and more enjoyable to carry out tasks. Keep in mind that you will be using these skills to be productive.

Think about what you’re good at and see if you can apply it to a certain expertise. This will give you a rough picture of what you’ll be doing on a daily basis. It also shows you which skills are lacking and the type of team you will need to put together. 

Along the way, you can also pick up new skills that you think will be helpful. There are loads of books and video tutorials available. Set aside some time for learning and growth.  


What brings out your emotions?

In order to be passionate about something, you need to care about it. There must be particular issues that bring out your emotions.

Whether that emotion is happiness, sadness, or anger, you need to figure out why you feel a certain way about certain topics. For instance, when you watch TV or read the news, consider the times when you felt all of these emotions.

Perhaps digesting the latest gadgets or football match recaps brings a smile to your face. Or hearing about refugees hits a sensitive spot in you.

Look back at all those times when these emotions converted into actions. Or almost did. 

Did you tell your friends and family about it?

Did you start a Facebook group for it?


It would be a good idea to make a collection of these feelings and scale-up. Be innovative and have a wild imagination. 

Maybe you’ve figured out a quicker way to get the latest updates on sports. Or it could be that you want to support a cause. 

Whatever it is, it has to be something that ignites your fire. That fire will give you direction and purpose. 


Envision the future

You’re not the only one. There are a lot of people out there that don’t know where to begin. Where to draw inspiration from. 

Let’s take advice from Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He is an incredibly brilliant individual. Some call him a genius. 

According to Musk, you don’t have to change the world. It’s good to dream big, but keep it simple. Think about something that will be useful to society. That itself is already good enough.  

Your idea could be a simple game or improvement in photo-sharing. Whatever it is, it must be good for the people. It could either have a high impact on a small number of people or low impact, but on a large group of the population. 

Fast forward 5, 10, 20 years and imagine what life will be like. What problems would need solving? Focus on how you could solve these problems. 

For example, when Musk was 22 years old, he thought about problems in these 5 areas. And he felt the urge to solve them. 

  • Multi-planetary life
  • Sustainable energy
  • Genetics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet

While studying in Stanford, he did not expect to run a company like Tesla or SpaceX. He simply wanted to be useful to civilization. 

Today, his main objective is to continuously improve technology to make sure that it gets better year after year. And he acknowledges the fact that it might take a really long time to materialize. But what matters to him is that he is able to make developments and pass it on to the next generation to continue.  

Be useful. Try to repeat these two words in your head when going through ideas and problems that need to be solved. 

You can also check out the interview carried out by Y Combinator: Elon Musk – How to Build the Future:


You’re closing in on your passion. What’s next?

You’ve gone through a ton of ideas and now you’re feeling super optimistic about it. The next step is to take some precautions. Do your homework first. You need to study the market before jumping into it. Try to minimize risks and potential issues. 

Here are several factors to consider before embarking on your entrepreneurial career:


The Internet offers a wide range of tools and services. You could also hire professionals for the launching phase. You will need to think of the channels you are interested in using to gain recognition. Find good opportunities to introduce your product to the market. 

A good place to start is by browsing events that are relevant to your industry. You can mark your calendar. At these events, you’ll be able to meet the right people.  


Identify a group of people who will benefit from using your product. Knowing your audience will also help you to communicate at a higher level with them. 


‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. You can learn a lot from your competition. If you are new in the field, you can pick up a few tricks from those that have been there and done it. 

Try to figure out their successes and failures. If you notice the things they’ve done well, you can also run things in a similar way. 

Identify Risks

Risks appear in various forms. It could be financial, legal, or even pandemics. Draw up several scenarios that may likely occur. If it is a risky business, you might want to stop here and think twice.   

Once you’ve figured out your business idea and done your research, you’re ready to proceed to the next phase. It’s time to pour everything into a business plan. 



Congratulations on reaching the end!

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