This article was written in collaboration with Taxumo, the country’s leading online tax compliance tool– helping freelancers, self-employed professionals, small business owners, and corporations file and pay for their taxes from wherever, whenever.
Ask any startup owner, and they’ll tell you that turning their startup idea into reality didn’t feel like a sprint, but rather, a marathon.
Even by taking things one day at a time, there are a myriad of execution risks when growing your venture. One of them includes finding a balance between cash flow and revenue. To resolve this, startup owners are particular about the resources they invest in during the early stages of their business.
A key resource that you’ll be needing immediately is your team. Having the right people on board lets you maximize productivity and costs. And by nurturing these employees, you get to build a positive organizational structure.
Taxumo’s Story: The Right People at the Right Time
Taxumo is one of the estimated 700+ startups in the Philippines. Since opening its doors in December 2016, the brand has grown from a small-time solution to the # 1 tax compliance tool in the Philippines.
Fueling Taxumo’s success are founders EJ and Ginger Arboleda. During the early stages of the business, the duo had to wear several hats to operate. Nowadays, they’re leveraging the strength of their team to not only grow in various markets but also generate new ideas for the business.
“Taxumo started with 4 employees. Aside from Ginger and I, we had 1 person working in Operations, 2 Developers, and 1 in Marketing,” shares EJ. “Now, we’ve grown to a total of 14 heads working in different departments.”
“Half of Taxumo’s workforce are women,” he adds. “Ensuring gender diversity in our team helps us gain different perspectives on how we can improve our products and services”.
It also helps that the ever-growing Taxumo team comes from different backgrounds – some members are fresh out of college, while others have seasoned experience working for corporations.
Each team member, EJ assures, brings something new to the table.
“Team members who run businesses can identify gaps in our products – they don’t hesitate to share what we need to do to improve,” he says. “Those with experience working for corporations, on the other hand, identify industry trends, including platforms and strategies we need to leverage to grow.”
And finally, EJ states the advantage of working with interns and fresh graduates. “These people give us a fresh perspective, especially since they represent the next generation of end users. The learning never stops for both ends, so we always encourage fresh hires to ask a lot of WHY questions”.
Collectively, the team dedicates itself to delivering a failproof tax compliance platform. Their dedication has helped grow Taxumo’s audience from small businesses and self-employed individuals to content creators, gig economy workers, and even crypto traders.
“The more opportunities are there to legitimize these businesses, the more people are inspired to follow their passion,” EJ asserts.
To fuel this mission are Taxumo’s core values:
- Integrity. Integrity is one of Taxumo’s highest values, both within the organization and when it comes to serving customers.
- Ownership. The team is focused on bringing positive results – all while taking accountability of any mistakes encountered along the way.
- Customer-focused. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so the team commits itself to responding positively to any inquiries they may have.
- Healthy Discontent. Despite the risk of failure, the unending hunger to grow and contribute is always brewing within the team.
- Respect. Respect doesn’t just apply to customers – but applies to everyone, regardless of their background.
- Candidness. Candidness combined with respect is a powerful tool for innovating. By being able to define what’s working and what’s not as well as what’s needed and what to prioritize – Taxumo is able to create project timelines that coincide with the company’s goals.
- Urgency. Now is the best time for anything. Taxumo’s team exerts its efforts to deliver results in the shortest amount of time.
Speaking of now, it’s time we dived into the tips for hiring the right people for your startup. Read more about it below.
4 Tips for Hiring the Right People for Your Startup
- Start from the top
It’s always a smart idea to hire from the top and expand the team from there.
Experienced leaders have the credentials to take on various roles. They would also have the experience to properly manage existing partners and customers.
So, what positions would you need to fill to build a solid foundation for your business? Here are some ideas:
- Product Manager. Product Managers take charge of overseeing the product lifespan. They work with Engineering to ensure that products are competitive for the market. They also collaborate with Marketing and Sales to shape product positioning. In addition to these responsibilities, Product Managers also work with suppliers (and sometimes customers) to coordinate pricing and product features.
- Marketing Lead. You’d want to look for a person who is willing to take on multiple marketing tasks and is able to make data-based decisions. Since startups usually do not have a template they can simply copy, the marketing insights primarily come from empirical evidence collected via various experiments.
- Development Team Lead. Tech startups normally operate at a very fast pace. Having an external development team, particularly ones that operate with a Fixed Cost structure, usually means that any changes to planned work requires a lot of realignment and possible cost changes. Having an internal team simply allows for more flexibility.
Anchoring these key functions together are you, the Chief Operating Officer or Chief Executive Officer.
Of course, you can still hire externally to fill C-level roles, but founders typically assume them to take charge of their business.
- Leverage your existing network
Using your network to grow your team has its advantages. For one, you reduce the costs of hiring a recruitment agency or a human resource specialist at this stage of the business. You can also get trusted referrals from your connections.
Start sourcing candidates by sharing job ads on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
You can always sign up as a LinkedIn recruiter to start publishing ads. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can still connect with candidates via LinkedIn search. You even have the option to filter results by location, work setup, and industry.
Of course, LinkedIn is just one place to scout for potential candidates. You can also source talents via Facebook groups, job fairs, and good ol’ word of mouth.
- Determine your ideal work setup
Are you looking for full-time employees? Or will your business be better off with freelancers?
The answer depends on your industry and the roles you want to fill. For example, you might want to look for contracted or full-time workers when filling in customer service types of roles. Compared to freelancers, a full-time worker would be able to uphold your company’s values and policies.
And then there’s availability, full-time workers are contractually obliged to submit tasks within certain hours. With freelancers, you’ll have to be more flexible.
Of course, hiring freelancers has its advantages too. The gig economy has grown larger than ever, so you’re bound to find freelancers who specialize in your industry or niche.
For example, start outsourcing administrative tasks to virtual assistants. VAs can handle everything from customer inquiries to scheduling.
Another area you can outsource is your Accounting department. Without a background in finance, it’s quite a learning curve to learn all the compliance policies your business needs to meet. You can always outsource the work to an accountant to handle your finances. Or, you can opt to handle your business taxes yourself with a tax compliance platform.
It also costs less to onboard a freelancer and you can always count on them for short-term projects.
- Think quality, instead of quantity
Remember when we said that running a startup feels more like a marathon than a sprint? Well, that applies to all aspects of your startup – including recruitment.
Don’t attempt to fill all the roles at once. Assess where your business is going first. For example, if your goal in the next two years is to add features to your mobile application, then you’re not going to prioritize a social media manager.
Map out the areas of your business that you want to invest in, and then decide on the roles you’ll need to manage them.
Next Step: Retaining Top Talent
Recruiting top talent is one thing, retaining them is a whole different ballpark.
Even before the pandemic, businesses are more than aware that company loyalty isn’t what it used to be. This new generation of workers is constantly looking for the next best thing.
So, always be on the lookout for ways to retain your employees. Some ideas include encouraging flexibility and engagement, as well as promoting work-life balance.
Job security is also a top priority. On top of fair wages, look for ways you can help your employees submit their government contributions (SSS, Philhealth, Pag-IBIG, etc).
You can also help them comply with their tax dues. If you’re not ready to onboard an accountant, you can always rely on platforms like Taxumo. Taxumo lets you automate tax filing and payment, helping employers manage payroll taxes.
Top talent is difficult to find – and even more challenging to retain. Work on your recruitment and retention strategy to boost productivity and build teams that wouldn’t think twice about advocating your business.