The Key People and Teams of a Startup

Last week, we defined the four main stages of a company: Ideation, Venture, Scale, and Growth. In each of these stages, there are critical teams that pave the way to success.


Ideation Stage Teams

During the Ideation Stage, all businesses need two key teams: the founders and makers (engineers, chefs, etc). The founders and makers can be the same person or separate teams. The founders provide the vision and guidance needed to get a business off the ground, while the makers create a roadmap to bring the vision into reality.


Venture Stage Teams

During the Venture Stage, the founders will typically perform sales and marketing roles until the business has the capacity to support additional teams. Once the business earns an investment or makes a profit, hiring more sales and marketing team members will allow the founders to focus on their leadership duties.


Scale Stage Teams

If a company grows beyond a small and medium business (SMB), it will transition from Venture to Scale Stage. During this transition, the company should form its last two core teams: product support and C-suite. Product support is essential to not only supporting your customers, but also keeping tabs on customer feedback. Product support serves as your eyes and ears on the ground. Strictly speaking, this team provides insight into your product’s performance in the market. Research shows that exceptional product support is the key to minimizing churn (lost customers). The C-suite consists of executives, who are assigned titles and responsibilities based on key business activities, such as the Chief Sales Officer, Chief Technology Officer, or Chief Operations Officer. The C-suite is crucial in helping founders step back from day-to-day activities, allowing them to lead their company rather than get lost in operating it.


Growth Stage Teams

During the final transition from Scale to Growth Stage, supplementary teams will arise to support the makers, marketers, salespeople, and upper management. These departments are Human Resources, Legal, and Accounting.

Of course, these teams can be outsourced or established as you choose, but this is generally the order in which they develop as a business grows.


Come back next week to learn more about the intangible parts of a company, such as the mission, values, and KPIs (key performance indicators). Without these intangible pieces, a company is just a group of people with no cause or direction!

"Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a teamwork, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."

-Vince Lombardi


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