When I earlier talked about bootstrapping (in the time of funding announcements), couple of entrepreneurs wrote back sharing the biggest challenge is not with bootstrapping, but of hiring great people.
Here is what some of the successful bootstrappers have done. They have created a hiring brand for themselves. They have announced what they stand for – great technology play, great revenue, a daring vision etc. They have been extremely consistent in their positioning and messaging.
Looking for an example? The closest that I can think of is VWO (Visual Website Optimizer). They have mostly focused on 2 clear positioning statement : 1) Great Product (example) 2) Customer Acquisition (example).
By defining a clear messaging, you also making it easy for candidates (especially the intiial team members) to self-select you. And the ones who would like to talk to you are the ones who believe in your vision/your style of execution and are genuinely interested in you.
The bitter truth is that most of the candidates, when they hear the word ‘bootstrapping company’ tend to assume that the company has NO money to pay. While it could be true to a certain extent, people do want to work for those who are showing signs of growth, have a a great future ahead and are transparent in their vision / growth plans.
So think of a few metrics that creates a hiring brand for you. Go hard on those metrics. In any public conversation, talk about only these metrics – and keep your brand associated with these. That has worked for some – so maybe, trying something new won’t hurt!
BONUS Tip : Clearly share the salary range when hiring. If you have money to pay, be extremely transparent about it.
If you are a bootstrapper, we would love to know your hiring experience.