With an aim to build a retail tech platform exclusively for SME retailers, Mr. Rajesh Subramanian started Ghoshak. In this article, Mr. Rajesh shares his insight on the Hiring culture of a bootstrapped startup. He shares his experience & the challenges he faced while hiring the right talent, accordingly, he insightfully suggested measures, tips/advice on what Bootstrapped Startups can follow to hire right!
Before moving ahead, let's get a background on the speaker. Rajesh Subramanian, Founder, Ghoshak, has previously worked for Amazon and SAP. He has built several teams at Amazon from scratch and took more than 1000+ interviews. Ghoshak is an All in one Business App. From generating bills to inventory management, Ghoshak brings all your business operations in one place.
Let's see what Mr. Rajesh Subramanian (Founder, Ghoshak) has got to say on GAME OF HIRING for Bootstrapped Startups-
Remember the day when there was sudden lightning that struck through your mind and there, you had the idea for your startup. It is amazing to see so many innovative ideas coming to life every day. As a startup founder myself and going through every step of the journey, coming up with that one strikethrough idea, finding partners, setting up the place of business, getting yourself registered to make your first sale is an experience and learning for life. One aspect of a startup business, especially bootstrapped, that challenged me was hiring and coaching the right talent. The general notion attached with bootstrapped startups is getting the funding and finding the investors. If your idea caters to the demands of society and you believe in yourself, then you will easily attract people who will believe in it too. But getting people to work for you or with you is a different ball game.
Here's a list of India's top bootstrapped startups that are more than successful.
Getting CV’s is easy, hiring them is difficult
When you are solving the puzzle, you make sure that every part fits right. Anyone can work for you, but not everyone can work with you. When I was hiring, the CGPA and educational qualification were not my focus area. Instead, I looked for a person’s ability to solve problems and how intelligently they could navigate through ambiguous situations.
I took 120+ interviews before I hired my first two engineers, and I can proudly say that they are my top performers to date. It's not just identifying the talent but also the effort you spend in training and coaching them. Appreciate the strength they bring in and support them to work on the areas that need polishing. I am building an organizational culture where we refer to an individual’s shortfall as areas of improvement instead of weakness. Everyone has a scope of improvement, including me, therefore, learning should never stop. I want to create an environment where our employees can be vocal about their weak points and are ready to work on them.
The Hiring Curve
When you are laying the foundation of your business, it is wise to hire strategically. Especially when you are bootstrapped and have to allocate funds in a calculative manner.
A timeline can help a lot, and here is the one that I followed:
- 6 months - Lay the foundation with partners.
- 1st year - Have the core team members, Tech & Sales team to build the product and Finance team to regulate the money flow.
- 2nd year - Now you need the support, get your HR, Marketing & Design team to accelerate the growth.
Money v/s Belief
The truth is that a bootstrapped startup cannot pay as much compared to a funded startup. So how do you work your charm? Let your product or service do the talking. What you are putting out there is so convincing, and it helps society then hire people who believe in making a change too and can look at the bigger picture. History is proof that what started in a garage is a world-dominating mobile & computer giant today.
Gone are the days of Job Descriptions; this is an era of Opportunities
By posting a job opening, you may get a pool of CVs. Apart from the right skillset, one must gauge a person’s attitude and determination towards life. If a person is not ambitious from within, then no external push can work the magic. As a startup employer, the responsibility relies greatly on us, and I always try to set their expectations right. The definition of startup to many is a funky office, high pay, and great perks; while you may offer all that but when you are starting from scratch there will be possible ups & downs, restrategizing, and everyday hustle. One has to be a jack of all trades and not necessarily the master of one, which is the reality. In a bootstrapped startup ecosystem, we ideate, implement things, learn from them and grow together.
65% of business failures are due to management issues that can be avoided by hiring the right mindset, skill, and training. In the end, it’s all about the culture you build. If the foundation is strong, then the structure will always remain strong.