Startup Pains – Thoughts From a Successful Entrepreneur

Startup Pains – Thoughts From a Successful Entrepreneur

Tips and Advise from Datto CEO and Founder, Austin McChord

Austin McChord, CEO and Founder of successful, and growing, data protection company – Datto – is no stranger of the mantra “anything worth doing is hard Capturework.” Being an entrepreneur is a sweaty, risky job, but when it pans out the rewards are abundant. Austin, who is a friend and supporter of the Connecticut Technology Council, has penned a walk-through, of sorts, detailing how he struggled to nurture what is now a global success. The following are a few of Austin’s tips and tricks for entrepreneurs readying for launch.

Growth States and Implications:

According to Austin, who dug up information from CV Insights, some of the most common reasons for startup failure are as follows: inability to scale, strong competition, loss of focus, and employee disharmony.

“As we [Datto] scale[d] past 10 to 15 people, my job was to eliminate my job. For example, if I was writing product code, my job was to hire more developers… There have to be shifts in how you run a scaling business. At 15 people, you will have your first meeting where you don’t include everyone, and that feels odd, at first.”

Austin also stresses that your company’s goals should be properly communicated not only to your management, but through them. “You’ll have people working for you whose names and stories you, as the CEO, may not know,” said Austin. At this point its important that employee focus be aligned with the company’s vision.

HR Tips for Accommodating Fast Growth:

When you begin a startup you are married to risks. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay because it’s the only way you learn.

“For a larger company, the cost of mistakes gets higher. When you’re small you can recover from mistakes quickly.”

When it comes to hiring,  small startups need people who have the right attitude. Skills can be taught and a jack-of-all-trades is more valuable than someone with an impressive resume. That being said, Austin stresses that knowing when to shift from an attitude-focused hiring process to a skill-based one, is incredibly important.

“Today at Datto, employee attitude and energy are still important, but skills are now the first priority as we scale. Holding on to someone who just doesn’t fit, or whose skills no longer suit the needs of the company can prevent the business from growing at the rate you want to grow. I’ve never regretted letting someone go for this reason.”

Five Questions To Ask Prospective Employees (to determine if they are right for an early-stage startup)

  1. Do you need to see rewards right away?
    A new hire who is solely driven by salary may not be the right fit in the beginning. You’ll need someone who shares the vision of the company and who can accept potential risks.
  2. How do you deal with frustration?
    Startups can have, and tend to have, more frustrating days than established companies.
  3. Can you handle risk?
    There is always the possibility that things won’t pan out. In a very real sense, everyone’s job is on the line.
  4. Are you a jack-of-all-trades?
    Startups need employees who are skilled enough to reach across multiple departments. For example “programmers who can sell and developers who can write.”
  5. Do you need to be in charge?
    Not everyone can be a chief. There needs to be a clear hierarchy and a growing startup will need its fair share of Indians.

Click here to read the full article How a Grew a Startup the Hard Way


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