I’ve been lucky—for the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to work for some incredible startups doing incredible things. And through those experiences, I’ve learned that the way we do business is changing.
Companies are embracing the evolution of business from working remote, to standing desks, to unlimited time off. But where I still see companies not breaking the mold is when it comes to staffing and building their teams during growth or transitional phases.
As a start up, entrepreneur or even medium size business, you may not actually need a VP of Marketing, a Head of Marketing, CMO or Director, just quite yet.
1. You don’t know what you don’t know
For many of you, you are just getting your business off the ground. You may have just come in to some funding or are at a point of growth, but you still don’t really know what the future holds.
You’re still not likely certain how your culture will evolve, how your business will perform or change, what other team members you need to bring on, what agencies or third parties you may still need to hire, what your marketing budget will need to include, the software you need etc, etc.
With the evolution of the business, comes evolution of the team and it’s good to give yourself some flexibility.
2. You can’t afford it
Well, maybe you can afford it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your precious capital. Instead of throwing out a high-priced benefits package, equity and a big salary to get talent you want, there are many ways to bring people on in a senior capacity for short or long term help without all the commitment. Give yourself options until you are confident in your needs, results and P&L.
3. Your business ebbs and flows
The marketing team (or any team for that matter) you put in place today, may not be the same team you need a year from now. I have found that businesses who are in a growth phases, this could be opening in a new market or launching a new product, will need to amp up their marketing for that timeframe, but then scale it down once the project is over. You may need someone super senior during those key strategic times, but less senior when demand is less.
4. You still need other marketing resources
Until you actually have a marketing strategy mapped out, it’s going to be hard to know what other resources you need whether it be money, technology or people. If you’ve spent your entire budget on a senior staff member, you may not be leaving enough room for junior marketers or other marketing needs. Try not to pigeon-hole yourself and create a potentially really awkward situation.
5. You aren’t a marketer
Well, you aren’t. You’re likely a business owner, entrepreneur, investor or founder and most of the ones I have worked with are the first to admit they don’t know marketing. Before you set up your marketing team, it’s best to work with an actual marketer who can asses your business and tell you what your marketing department needs might be or ways to improve the set up of your current team.
6. You are a fresh business with new ways of thinking
Times are a’changin’. We’ve got stand up desks, kegerators, afternoon meditation, unlimited PTO, virtual meetings, Slack and who knows what else. Businesses are becoming less traditional and more interested in creating cultures and environments that are efficient and effective. You should apply that same creativity to how you staff your team. Start slow and don’t feel like you have to fit your business in to some marketing-team template because “that’s how it’s always been”. Technology has made it easy for us to secure talent and skills from people all over the world with diverse backgrounds.
In fact, this strategy can be applied to most marketing roles (and often non-marketing roles). Would love to hear what you think about this or how you think this approach can help your business.