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How to Stretch Startup Money Into Salaries for Rockstar Talent

Tuesday, April 10, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
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The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth.

When recently asked what the top tips are for recruiting rock-star talent to a brand-new business when salary money is tight, YEC members had the following to say.

1. The perk of autonomy

Salary isn't everything, and talented individuals thrive on interesting work, challenges and the opportunity to make a big impact. You can recruit top talent by giving newcomers a lot of autonomy to execute upon what they think is important, and supporting them however you can. Of course, equity ownership (in the form of options or restricted stock) also helps. — Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of 99designs

2. Pitch the vision

If you have a vision, people will want to work with you to be a part of your cause, even if you don't have money. You must be really clear on what you are creating and where you are going, and be able to clearly communicate that to other people. Not everyone's highest value is money. Some people want to make a difference or be a part of something grand. So paint it beautiful. — Louis Lautman, founder of Young Entrepreneur Society

3. Freedom is valuable

The life in a startup doesn't always pay well, but there are other intangibles that far outweigh the financial hurdles. Working for a startup gives your staff freedom—freedom to work from home, freedom to introduce their own ideas, and freedom to truly grow exponentially in their role with your business. Don't discount these other important factors. — Matt Cheuvront, co-founder of Proof Branding

4. Bonuses and incentives

If the prospect is truly a rock star, he/she will be more interested in equity, bonuses and other performance-based incentives. These employees are inherently hard workers who are driven by passion. If you can leverage that passion for their own success, they will be very comfortable with the compensation arrangement. — Logan Lenz, founder and president of Endagon

5. Individualized offers

Tailor your offer accordingly. Not everyone is focused squarely on cash, so find out what else they desire. It could be flexible hours, a piece of the action, the nature of the project itself or even an innovative challenge. Learn what they want and shape your package to them. — Nicolas Gremion, CEO of Paradise Publishers

6. Perks and promises

Business rock stars want their talent to be recognized and to receive perks as if they were a Grammy winner. The obvious: equity options, profit sharing, flexible hours, mentorship, deferred compensation plan. The creative: sports/concert tickets, annual fundraiser for their favorite charity, dry cleaning pickup, dog walking service, weekly car wash. Thoughtfulness doesn't have to be expensive. — Evan Kirkpatrick, CEO of Wendell Charles Financial

7. Culture eats strategy for breakfast

People want to work for companies that truly care about them. So get clear on your culture values and what you stand for as a company. How do you invest in your employees? How are you working to make the world a better place? For many people, the rewards of belonging to something larger than themselves is priceless. — Michael Margolis, president of Get Storied

8. Beneficial positions

I recruit talent by emphasizing benefits and building solid relationships. Our company is entirely virtual, which is a draw for many folks who don’t want to relocate or commute to work every day. In our job listings, we make this benefit clear. I also try to connect with young PR professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter in order to have a talent pool to draw from when we do have an opening. — Heather Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended

9. Create high value

For many, the idea of working for a startup is exciting and a chance to create a space in a company—versus being one of the sheep in a herd. By creating high value for those individuals and creating a space that is attractive, you can bring in top talent who are there long-term, instead of for just a "job." Make your business a place that YOU would be excited to work so the passion pours out. — Erin Blaskie, CEO of BSETC

Source: Open Forum

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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