For late-stage companies, a common mistake would be not rolling out an executive team early enough. If you are a first-time founder in particular, or if you have never run a team to scale, your instincts are often to hire very smart individual contributors and you don’t really understand the leverage of having a great executive in place. That’s why often when you see second-time founders start a company and among their first 15 people, they have three or four VPs and a CXO, and often, as a first-time founder, you ask why does this person need all these executives, it’s only a 15-person company, but then after you have been through scaling a team and company rapidly once yourself, you realize the enormous leverage you get by building out an executive team.
A common mistake that startup founders make is that they overpromise. Your first salesperson is not going to be the VP of sales, the first engineer is not going to be your CTO, the first HR person is not your CPO. This is because the ability of a company to scale is much faster than that of the individual. You have to set expectations very clearly, and this is a problem that founders should know beforehand. You cannot over-promise because that would prevent you from hiring better talent. As your company is more successful, your access to better talent increases. When smarter people look at your company and want to join a promising startup like yours, you have to make sure that you are not setting yourself out for failure.
YOUR FIRST SALESPERSON IS NOT GOING TO BE THE VP OF SALES, YOUR FIRST ENGINEER IS NOT GOING TO BE YOUR CTO, THE FIRST HR PERSON IS NOT YOUR CPO.
– GIRISH MATHRUBOOTHAM