Vol. 2 of Growing With a Startup
Growing With a Startup: operational yet personal lessons on building better organisations. Hit reply to tell me what resonates.
Growing with a Startup distils operational yet personal lessons for building better organisations. Fast.
This week, there’s just a single idea: Angel Operators. VP-level operational expertise to build teams from scratch. Fast.
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Hire Angel Operators before you build permanent teams.
Angel Operators are like Angel Investors: Instead of early investment, Angel Operators bring interim, first-boots-on-the-ground operational expertise. They help you build teams fast and avoid basic mistakes.
Think, a former startup VP Talent joining on a 2-month contract.
At Aula, we recently increased our hiring goal from 3 people to 30 people. Deadline: yesterday.
But we had zero recruiters. Panic. Not where you want to be as COO.
We decided not to panic-hire a full, permanent recruitment team overnight.
Instead, we brought in an Angel Operator, Tris, on a 2-month contract. Tris has scaled startups from 200 to 2,000 people. And runs a network of 5,000 recruiters. In short, Tris Has Done It Before.
Tris has been like a gift from Heaven. In 2 months, Tris and our People Lead, Ozzie, built a full interim recruitment team hiring 40+ engineers per year and helped find a permanent talent leader. Mariya starts on a solid foundation next week.
Now, Tris is phasing out. Job done for the Angel Operator.
Angel Operators have helped establish most new functions at Aula before we hired a permanent team. Helene built our support team in 2 months. Jess built our People Operations foundations in 2 months. Heather has built our finance function the last 12+ months, part-time.
The benefits of Angel Operators are:
Time. Don’t hire before you know what the team should look because your house is on fire.
Shortcuts. Experienced operators help you avoid basic mistakes.
Hiring. Instant access to networks. Get help attracting your permanent leader.
Find your Angel Operators:
Ask your board/advisors for recommendations. Ideal profile: former VPs/Directors with experience in an environment similar to yours.
Pitch the thrill of building something from scratch without the stress of a long-term startup journey.
Ask candidates practical questions. They need to be able and willing to be a 1-person team. For example: “Which CRM would you choose and why?”
Don’t underpay. The right Angel Operator can save you thousands of dollars down the line.