Founders of early-stage startup companies spend a lot time thinking about the types of products they want to build. That doesn’t necessarily mean they do a lot of thinking around the types of resources they’ll need to get those products to market. When they eventually come to the conclusion that the right time to hire a developer is now, it will suddenly become your top priority to go out and find that person as quickly as possible. Here are three things to keep in mind even before your founder tells you to make developer hiring a priority.
For some startup founders, letting go of some of the technical reigns can be difficult. Our CEO Joel Spolsky once quipped that he started his first company because he couldn’t find a company that provided a great environment to work in. In an ironic twist, the company’s success took him away from coding. While there’s no formula that will guarantee a startup’s success, the responsibilities of a CEO inevitably shift when the company begins to grow. What does this mean for your startup company? If your founder is spending too much of his or her time fixing bugs and writing the code for new products, it’s probably time for someone to come aboard to take those things of their plate.
Few people in your position complain about a light workload, which can make it especially jarring to read about a competitor who has improved the features of their product or made their pricing more competitive. Instead, take an honest look at the current landscape of your industry. If your prospects are repeatedly telling you they’re choosing the competition for a certain feature or two, that highlights an obvious hole in your current product offering. It also makes it very clear that to stay competitive, you’ll need to hire a forward thinking developer capable of building features that will establish your startup company as an industry leader.
I bet your company spends a lot of time at meetups and other tech events to build awareness and generate buzz around your business. If so, odds you’ve probably met a few developers that have impressed you in one way or another. Maybe one of those people knows a programming language that you know will be an important piece of your technology stack down the road, or maybe another had an idea for your business that your founder would love to explore. it’s important to determine if you can afford to add someone on a full-time basis before you pursue any type of developer hiring strategy. If you meet someone at an event whose skillset or ideas keep coming up in conversation, you should take this as a strong indication that you need additional bandwidth to help your company take the next step forward.