Free Project Management courses

Huritt Global Business School is offering limited free Project Management courses online.

Available Slots: 3


  1. 2 Slots: Project Management Fundamentals
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Starting Date: February and March, 2019


  1. Commit 6 to 12 weeks
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  5. All the course material is supplied
  6. Must have bachelor’s or NHD degree

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Note: Project managers are the links that hold a team together, and the skills you will use as a project manager—superior communication, organization, and relationship-building—apply to many other areas of life as well. You’ll find that project management courses are helpful to you not only professionally, but also personally. This training course takes place entirely online, so the only things you need are your personal computer and an internet connection—it’s that easy.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Develop Self-Excellence

Why Entrepreneurs should improve in quality and demand personal excellence of themselves and their team members.
You can’t stop or give up when the going gets tough. Through your journey, there will be ups and downs and ins and outs. Rejoice on the ups and ins, but use it and ride it forward.

A decision to shift from a “quality focus” to an “excellence focus” organization tells more about you as the entrepreneur than the products or services you provide. According to ISO 8402, quality is the “totality of characteristics of an entity that bear upon its ability to satisfy stated and implied needs.” That suggests that in a quality-driven environment, an organization will work to improve the characteristics of its processes, products, and people in order to eventually satisfy the stated an implied needs of its stakeholders (presumably customer, the workforce, and even society if social responsibility is a priority.)

In order to understand excellence, below is a scenario:

A German once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you need two statues of the same idol?” “No,” said the sculptor without looking up, “We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage.” The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. “Where is the damage?” he asked. “There is a scratch on the nose of the idol.” said the sculptor, still busy with his work. “Where are you going to install the idol?”
The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high. “If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?” the gentleman asked. The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, “I will know it.”
The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not. “Excellence” is a drive from inside, not outside. Excellence is not for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction and efficiency…
A take away from this is that quality is driven from the outside (fueled by the needs of customers and other stakeholders) whereas excellence emerges from within an individual. A company that changes its strategy from a quality focus to an excellence focus must, as a result, have mastered the dynamics of being driven externally – and recognizes that additional process improvement requires turning inward.

With that said, why can’t we just craft organizational strategies that focus on both quality and excellence? I think many organizations actually do take this approach. The point here is that quality and excellence are different, and should not be treated as one and the same, but as a dynamic duo that can catalyze an organization to quality consciousness.


First, you have to be demanding of yourself. You can’t stop or give up when the going gets tough. Through your journey there will be ups and downs and ins and outs. Rejoice on the ups and ins, but use it and ride it forward. Out of the 100 people, 50 will be satisfied with their first couple of successes and stop there. People who demand excellence know that each success is a small step towards excellence. You must keep climbing. On the other hand, progress is not linear (or step-wise), you will fall on your journey. You will go backwards, not just leveling off but decreasing in ability. Recognize that this is also a step towards excellence. You must be the most demanding at this point. Do not stop just because you stopped improving. The dip in ability is the tear down before the build up. Ride it; it gives you momentum to overcome the next big hill. What happens when you work out at the gym? You must tear the muscle down before it can repair itself and become stronger. This will happen to anyone’s abilities if they want to become excellent. Out of the 50, 25 will leave when they become discouraged from decreased abilities.

Let’s say you’re one of the 25 people who demand more from themselves. What now? You have to practice every single day. People who are excellent don’t miss a day of practice, period. Vacation is not an excuse. Some things require days off — like body building. On the days of physical rest, you read about it, you visualize yourself doing it well (better than you currently can), you go out and teach someone else, there are hundreds of things to keep you doing your activity on your day off (if the day off is truly required). But beware, be sure that you really should be taking the day off, rather than making an excuse not to do it. Also, it is even more important for those people to get back in and continue practicing on the days they should be. We will lose 13 more people, leaving us at 12 out of the original 100.

You must practice correctly! Practicing everyday is bad if you are practicing incorrectly. When you practice incorrectly, you reinforce bad habits. This can be the hardest step for most people — especially without a teacher. Demand more than just consistent practice from yourself — demand excellence! There are ways around the teacher issue, but finding a good teacher is always the best solution at this stage. If you are a body building, read about proper posture, and get a mirror and check your posture. If you are trying to learn music, get a tape recorder and record yourself. The recording does not lie. Listen for what is wrong. Does it sound good? Are you on pitch? Can you even tell? If you can’t tell, then you know what the next step for improvement is. I want to say that 90% will fail at this step, but I’ll stick to my estimate. Of the original 100, only 6 will practice correctly every day regardless of improvement or failure.

Identify your weakest ability, and work on that. Most people — even the 6 who made it this far — only like to work on things they are good at. Be critical every day, and keep a journal. Write down what went well and what went poorly. Analyze what you did that day. Then the next day, work on the thing that needs the most improvement. It is too easy to keep building up the skill that we are best at, and it causes a level off in overall ability. This level off will be permanent even following the above advice if you don’t work on the things that need improvement. Of the original 100, only 3 will do this step along the above steps.

You must be intrinsically motivated. Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to be excellent at this thing? If it is for money, or power, or fame, or something external in the world, you will probably never become as good as you could be. You must have a desire, a passion, to be good at what you do. Without this, you cannot achieve excellence. I find it hard to believe people could do all the things above without some internal burning desire to be excellent, but this chops off 2 of the last 3 remaining people. Following the above advice, you can be the one excellent person for every hundred that try. Now stop reading and go out there and practice!

From the Desk of HGBSE President

Explaining Yor Vision To Investors

How to Handle It When Your Investors Question Your Business Vision

There might come a time when a small business needs to take on investors to grow. But when your vision for the future of your company does not coincide with your investors’ visions for the company, this can spell disaster.

When your investors don’t believe in your vision, you have three options: whine, complain or acquiesce; fire the investors and get new ones; get out of the business,” notes entrepreneur Aaron Norri of real estate investing company The Norris Group. “If you’ve truly done your due diligence on the market and your product and you know, for certain, that your vision is solid and the only way forward for a profitable venture, whining and acquiescing to investors should come off the table because that makes firing them and going after new investors the only other option. Either that, or your business model is no longer working and it’s time to move on.”

But before you do, ask yourself some important questions. “One of the best pieces of advice I ever read regarding getting the approval of an idea is to move away from the ‘Why?’ and move towards ‘Why Not?’. A lot of the time your ideas might seem like a no-brainer, but to investors they appear as risky, ambitious or like they involve a lot of effort,” offers Luke Jordan, owner of Rank Zero Ltd.. “These people would often like to see you doing more of the same, no risks with small and consistent yields on their investments. You need to ensure your ideas appear like a no-brainer to people who don’t understand your business in the same way you do — you see everything every day and understand all of the intricate details of your industry, most don’t.”

And, there are ways to try and protect your vision while not alienating your investors.

“The entrepreneur needs to do/take into account the following: seek to understand first, then explain; what are the specific areas of disagreement and can they be separated out for addressing piece by piece,” advises Rai Chowdhary, CEO/founder of The KPI System and author of the new book new book 101 Questions and Answers from Experts. “What is the best alternative (for the entrepreneur) if negotiations stall/get into a logjam; what are reasons for holding the particular view/position; and how does that fit with the overall priorities for the business.”

You may have to leave your company, and this does happen. “The best piece of advice I would give is to have an exit strategy lined up before ever agreeing a deal. You need to know exactly what happens if you no longer see eye-to-eye (although working out your problems should always be the first, second, and third options),” says Jordan.

So before calling it a wrap, think about what your investors are suggesting. Do they want to go in a new direction? If you’ve got investors with some insight and knowledge in your business and they suggest tangible ways to improve what you’ve created, you have to take that into consideration. What you want and what the business needs isn’t always the same thing. But, at the end of the day, you only stay in business if you’re profitable,” suggests Norris.

You may also try to get your investors to come around to your way of thinking. “Hopefully you’ve surrounded yourself with investors that know you and the business. They’re investing in you just as much as the business. They should see you as somewhat of a market or product expert. If that level of respect isn’t there, it’s very difficult to get on the same page and have a mutually respectful relationship. You’re simply a money maker and they may or not be at all interested in your longevity,” says Norris, who adds there are to shape that relationship.

Examine motives and attitudes going in. “If you sense investors that are difficult, high maintenance, or have even rude, stop there. Your poor investor selection will take up your time and energy at some point. Cut it off on the front end so you don’t have to deal with it later,” advises Norris.

Make sure your vision is inspiring and motivating. It is well communicated? Is it relatable? Your vision should be concise and easy to understand. “Be the expert and communicate. Continue to be the market expert and communicate to your investors what happening in the industry, how you’re shaping the business, and be transparent about success and failures. When they trust you and you communicate transparently, intent is almost never an issue,” Norris points out.

Follow that age-old advice and never put your eggs in one basket. “If you’re surrounding yourself with only a handful of investors and one of them decides they no longer believe in your vision, you may be stuck. Cultivating other investors and relationship gives you the power to say, ‘I’m the expert, I’ve proved it, and I know where we need to go. I appreciate your support, let’s give your investment back so you can move on to something you believe in,’” says Norris.

By: Ann Brown, The Network Journal

Growing Your Business Through Strategic Partnerships

How to Effectively Create a Strategic Partnership for Your Business

Strategic partnerships are often an ideal way to get more brand traction, expand your audience and customer base, access additional resources and talent, and stimulate revenue growth without going out and acquiring another company. You can create a temporary brand partnership through a joint marketing campaign or you can aim for a longer partnership (like a joint venture) to create new products or services to bring to market. Having worked in various partnerships throughout my career, I’ve found some tips that help approach and manage these in a way that creates a win-win.

Define your individual and partnership value

While a strategic partnership can increase your value as a brand, don’t forget to put your own value on the table so that it is recognized within the relationship. Defining this value up front is important to maintain equal footing in the strategic partnership and illustrate why the other brand should work with you.
Before formalizing the partnership, make sure you have answers about the value you both bring, how that value is enhanced, and what additional value is generated through the partnership for customers. If you don’t have those answers or they don’t add up, then you know you shouldn’t proceed. If you are satisfied, then it’s a strategic partnership that will likely deliver a solid return.

Work from a shared vision and principles

As part of the strategy you create with your partner, there should be a written vision and principles that guide everything you do together. Although you are not forming a company, it helps to write these down and use them as a foundation for how you will interact and collaborate. Think of it as a temporary culture that is in place as long as the partnership.

Also, partnerships will have friction. You are both separate companies with agenda and objectives that may not always mesh. This is where the shared vision and principles will help. They can be consulted when there is a conflict to find common ground to negotiate through the differences.

Take your time and do it right

Any relationship where people rush into it typically does not go well — or last long. It’s OK to take the time to get to know one another and feel each other out. Spending time on a social and professional level can help you understand each other’s quirks.

Conduct due diligence on each other, and have follow-up meetings until each of you is satisfied that it is the right decision to collaborate. Also, once you are in the partnership, don’t rush to end it if you sense anything that makes you uncomfortable. It will take time to get into a flow with each other and settle into focusing on what you can create together. If there are problems, talk them through rather than ditching the partnership immediately.

Create parameters

Give each other parameters on working together. This structure will bring meaning to the partnership. It will also minimize any misunderstandings that could derail the value you are trying to develop.
These parameters should be in the form of an agreement that describes the roles and responsibilities of each partner. It should also list the goals you want to achieve, the metrics you are using to measure the results, and specific timelines for achieving those results. It will also cover the financial aspects and how the strategic partnership ends in terms of estimated time frames and exit strategies.

Train, assess and communicate regularly

I’ve seen situations where brands partner, decide on some tactics and then assume it will just go as planned. The better approach is to invest in training each other’s teams to understand the brand benefits on an individual and combined basis. All those involved in the partnership should regularly communicate through connecting each other’s project management systems and maintaining a schedule of regular meetings.

Assessment is a must-have strategy to ensure the tactics are doing what both brands want. This is where having those metrics in place really helps: If anything is not working, regular communication can prove invaluable to helping pivot as quickly as possible. The integration of sales and marketing teams can also help maximize the resources used for deployment and changes.

Add more partnerships in a thoughtful, strategic way

These types of partnerships are probably the only type where you can play the field and have numerous going at the same time without feeling guilty or looked down on. Yes, it’s OK to create more than one brand partnership at the same time — as long as they make sense, follow the above tips, and do not conflict with each other. Most brands understand the value of multiple partnerships, but you do need to tread carefully or go a different direction if you are considering strategic partnerships with two companies that may be competitors.

Not every business will be in a position to take advantage of strategic brand partnerships. If you are in the early stages of development, you may not have the value that other brands are seeking. You also may not be prepared to work with others if you need to build more experience and knowledge for yourself about your industry and business operations. And that’s OK. You can always circle back in the future and consider how a strategic partnership may work with your company as it develops over time.


Grow and Scale Your Business

Are you ready to grow and scale your business?

A business that doesn’t examine itself won’t improve. Small businesses, especially those that have become somewhat successful in their industry, often reach a self-determined plateau where they feel comfortable with their level of growth and sales.

If you are satisfied with your current level of success, you won’t be able to see pitfalls and opportunity that appear in your path.

So, how can your small business drive higher sales and look out for snags before they cause stalled growth or failure? Based on experience with hundreds of small to mid-sized businesses, there are five things you can do to drive significant sales growth.

1. Write a Business Plan

Based on numerous studies, companies that write a business plan are 2 times more likely to be successful than those who don’t. – Smallbiztrends

Before you enter the next part of the year, carefully consider what key initiatives you hope to achieve.

Break down the initiatives both quarterly and yearly to stay on task. Consider:

  • What are your top 5 business objectives?
  • What strategies will you need to adopt to achieve these objectives?
  • What changes will you make to your sales, marketing, operations and management structure to drive these strategies?
  • Who is responsible for driving these changes?
  • How will you measure success?

Don’t forget to include specific and clearly-defined tactics for achieving each goal. Determine the employee or team responsible for implementing those tactics to avoid confusion.

As with many successful plans, your business strategies here will need realistic, but challenging, deadlines to push your team to greater heights and accomplish success.

Outline specific times in your plan for reevaluation – measuring the success of each initiative and objective you have determined a priority for your business. This means your plan will be under continual revision as you determine what is working, what needs adjustment and what should be dropped altogether.

Just like a professional athlete, you will be continually examining your tactics and skill sets to see where improvements can be made to rise above the competition.

In order for your team to be a part of active collaboration, create a document that can be an integral part of your ongoing operations and share it with the team. A tool like Google Drive can enable you to share your documents and the changes you or your team members make throughout the year.

The best business plans are dynamic and evolve over the course of a year as business conditions change.

2. Maintain a Marketing Management Calendar

Without a focused marketing plan, you and your employees will be like a ship floating out at sea. Direction is vital to getting somewhere in your industry; allowing the waves of whim to take you wherever they please often means aimlessly getting by, but not really going anywhere.

Your company will grow the fastest when you (and your team) are crystal clear on your vision, your ideal client and your unique value proposition.

In order to narrow down a strong target market, build a consistent brand voice and measure your success, you will need to build a comprehensive marketing plan that is focused on your Ideal Customer Groups and your Unique Value Proposition.

Identify Your Ideal Customer Groups: Too many businesses want to be everything to everyone. While you might think that advertising your products to everyone will increase sales, it actually will lose them. The customer needs to be told why the product is designed specifically for them – not everyone in the world.

You may have one very specific target market, or you may have several. Determining who your strongest leads and most loyal customers are is the first step towards discovering your target market. The goal is to refine your marketing to attract more of these Ideal Customers.

Understand and Market Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP): After you have determined who your target market(s) are, you will next need to determine what information is important to them.

Today’s customer is all about value and what they get out of the relationship. How does your company uniquely serve your customers? What do you do that is different from your competition?

One great way to uncover this information is to simply ask your current customers. “Why do you do business with us?” and “What do you like best about our products and/or services?”

Engage Your Audience: When you understand your Ideal Customer and Your Unique Value Proposition, you can craft marketing that will truly engage your target market.

With your Ideal Customer in mind, you can target social media networks, forums, attending physical events or prefers receiving physical publications. You will know what content form is best for your audience: long articles, short blog posts, podcasts, newsletters, videos, press releases, white papers, e-books or another form.

Plan Ahead: A sure-fire way to produce mediocre content is to try to churn out pieces under the pressure of a deadline. We highly recommend using Marketing Management Calendar to help you organize your content marketing goals and stay ahead of your deadlines. Include the deadlines, business goals, marketing metrics and company events in your calendar.

Track upcoming events (grand openings, product launches, seminars, etc.) and holidays to help drive ideas for your content. Track goals, metrics and deadlines to push specific types of content, start dates and focused call to actions (CTAs).

Be Patient and Consistent: Companies tend to think of content marketing like a sprint, when it is really a marathon. Don’t track your success too early or you won’t get accurate numbers.

Instead, post your content consistently for at least 6 months before evaluating your success and measuring your ROI. Consistency and value is the only way to build an audience that trusts your brand.

Your most popular post is most likely to be from a previous month, so be patient and continue to chug away for a reasonable amount of time before expecting great results.

Remember to focus on the quality of content and leads, not just the quantity.

3. Improve the Middle:

Manage Small Improvements with Average Employees Your sales people can be classified as top, average or low performers. Most businesses easily have a top 20%, middle 60% and bottom 20% in their sales team.

It is those 60% that make up the core group of your sales team and should be focused on to improve your overall sales: In fact according to research from Maritz, since the 60 percent core group is so large, by increasing performance by 5 percent from the middle, an organization can yield more than 70 percent more revenue than they can through a 5 percent performance boost among top performers. A-level performers are already exceeding your expectations.

Recognize their performance to retain this top performing group. – Inc. You can see how your workers could break down, based on their sales level, to imaginary grades.

You will want to focus your management efforts on B/C (mid level) performers – or those that have the ability to become A-Level performers with coaching, clear goals and the proper incentive program to perform. These employees have the potential to become A-Level performers and achieving this creates a huge shift in your organization’s overall sales performance.

The time, energy and budget needed to focus on encouraging the B/C-Level performers should come directly from the D/F-Levels. Quickly identify and, when appropriate, dismiss D/F (low level) performers. This sales group does not have the ability or motivation to perform at high levels.

Many managers spend a disproportionate amount of time focused on underperforming employees and miss the opportunity to grow their average employees and improve sales.

4. Create Stretch Goals

Asking employees to change and improve their performances can be met with frustration, failure and sluggish change. In order to boost employee achievement, allow the teams to set their own performance expectations and stretch goals.

According to the Harvard Business review on setting excellent business goals: Regardless of context, there are two keys to the effective use of short-term stretch goals.

The first is to make sure that the immediate goals are part of a larger, more ambitious effort so that whatever is achieved and learned is a building block, not an end-in-itself. In other words, extremely ambitious stretch goals need to be deconstructed into lots of short-term stretch goals, sometimes with multiple cycles.

Second, intentionally design the short-term stretch goals in ways that force innovation, collaboration, and learning — so it’s not just a matter of working harder for a short period of time. In this way, each short-term success builds capability and knowledge for the next and the next. Challenge your team to create their own ideas for growth in order to generate incremental revenue.

Allow your team to determine their own performance expectations, or the minimum requirements for a specified metric. Goals should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

5. Optimize Your Virtual Presence:

Improving Traffic with a Website and Marketing Strategy. You’ve already focused on building a better marketing plan, focused on your Ideal Customer and your Unique Value Proposition. Here is where you focus on the platform for it. A great website will draw in the customer and clearly direct them towards an end goal. Poorly designed websites allow too many products and messages to scream at their customer, creating distraction and confusion.

Explore Your Options: Don’t just stick with one type of content, use a number of different methods to communicate your message – including videos, images, captivating copywriting and blogging. Different mediums will bring in different types of traffic and promote different kinds of sharing.

Focus on SEO: The new SEO doesn’t include keywords stuffing, but the tried and true method of consistently producing value. If you want to rank higher for a specific keyword, then you need to produce valuable articles on that subject.

Consider what your customers are looking for and frequently asking your sales team and write on those topics. Just like with marketing, don’t try to focus on covering every possible keyword, but focus on select topic matters, products, areas and services that are specifically designed to attract your customer base.

Consider Format: Today’s audience is highly likely to visit your site from a mobile device and will not be likely to stick around if your website isn’t optimized accordingly. A responsive website adjusts to desktop, laptop, smartphones and tablets, seamlessly presenting your website in a cohesive format that fits the screen it is displayed on.

  • 65% of internet users in 2016 were accessing the internet from their mobile devices
  • 4 out of 5 consumers shop on mobile – ComScore
  • 40% of people will use a different search result if the first one isn’t mobile friendly – Skillcush

Organized Information: Consider the ability you have to offer product reviews, testimonials, company updates, product tutorials and more with a well-organized blog. Create posts that clearly feature a valuable piece of information, include a CTA (call-to-action) and are clearly archived. Keep your blog simple and use captivating images to appeal to a highly-visual audience and make your posts more shareable.

Branch Out: As you develop your strategies, you will want to look into a blend of social media activity, blog posting, PPC (pay per click) ads, email newsletters and traditional marketing methods (TV, radio, mailers, etc.) to best reach your customers. Always set dates for reevaluating your progress and success in these areas, but remember to give them enough time to adequately measure their success with your brand and your target audience.

Focus on the methods that will drive in quality traffic that can be nurtured from leads to loyal customers.

Have a plan, but always be ready to adapt.

You can’t simply step back and watch your sales numbers grow – it takes dedication, planning and effort to improve what you’ve started. Don’t allow yourself to be caught in a rut. The best business managers are always adapting to the most current trends, technologies and industry climate.

Staying open to improvement means never holding tightly to a specific procedure, plan, method or way of thinking. Learn from what your competition does right and where they are weak. Examine what companies you want to emulate and recognize where your company differs in ability, size and skill.

Companies that keep their eyes open, test and adapt are the ones that thrive.

Startup Teams: Structuring Your Startup Team as Your Grows

Often, startups overlook organizational structure until it’s too late. Here are some considerations for founders as they grow their companies.
A lot of startups share the same mythical origin story — a couple close friends plotting and scheming in a basement or garage, trying to build a company that will change the world. But, if they’re lucky, the story doesn’t stop there.
As a company grows, it transitions from two founders to a team and moves out of the garage and into a real office. While this is an exciting transition and, usually, a positive sign, it is also the time that certain growing pains can begin to emerge.
One such problem that startups can run into is organization structure, or how a company defines roles, teams, and supervision. By carefully planning for that growth, startups can avoid some common headaches.

Here are considerations for startup founders as they strategize on organizational structure.

Defining roles
Early on in the life of a startup, founders will often fill as many roles as possible to save money and simply get the work done that’s on the table. When a company is founded by more than one person, the multiple founders will often have complementary skillsets.

As important that it is that you’re not stepping on each other’s toes, you have to be open to change. Executives and founders should revisit their roles from time to time to make sure that there are no “holes” present in the skillset needed to make your business successful.

If the holes are significant and are impeding sales growth, capital raising or any other key component of your business, it’s a sign that you need to bring on professionals who will fill those holes.
Roles can be fluid, so it’s important that founders don’t lock themselves into a structure that doesn’t allow for shifts.

Architecting the structure
Once you have some leaders established, it is critical that you determine the remaining hierarchy (if there will be one) and how you’ll delegate tasks. Then, you will need to establish a team structure and how those teams will be led.
Decide who oversees each department head at the C-level and avoid managing by committee ever.

Different companies will have different needs as far as teams go, but it is important that founders consider how they want to structure their teams and how they want them to interact.

Small teams allow for autonomy, rapid experimentation and innovation. Small teams will enabled your company to grow and scale, and at the same time maintain the same level of passion, hunger, resourcefulness and productivity the founding team had on day one.

Nothing is set in stone, but founders should have an idea of the culture they want to build and how teams fit into or perpetuate that culture. Also, factor in the end goal when you are structuring your company.

You will build differently if this is a lifestyle business that you intend to operate for income as opposed to selling the company at some point or undertaking a public offering.

Building your team
Obviously, you’re not going to grow your team without hiring. As a founder or executive, it’s important that you realize you can’t do everything by yourself, but it’s essential you involve yourself in the hiring process.

The first hires you make will be some of the most important hiring decisions you make. Your early hires will depend heavily on your business model and the market you’re in.

If your business model depends on selling, then your first hires will focus on salespeople who understand your services or products inside and out, so you could scale the business past the first couple of customers you managed to win on your own.

While founders should be as involved as possible in hiring, there’s a point where you need to bring in someone to manage the process.

If you’re having trouble remembering everyone’s last name in the company, you need a full-time in-house HR/talent head. That usually happens when you grow past 50 people.

Bring in the professionals
Once a company reaches a certain point, founders will need to consider talent to fill specific leadership roles in the company. One of the most important aspects of your business in this regard is legal.

Quite possibly the first place you’ll need to bring in advisors and professionals is anywhere in the organization that involves intellectual property, which is likely your greatest asset.

In addition to a defendable intellectual property, companies need money to keep growing. As you raise capital and have more money to account for, it’s a good idea to bring in a financial professional. However, avoid hiring a CFO early on. Instead, hire someone at the director or VP level and hire a CFO later on.

Additionally, as you seek to expand into new markets or further scale your existing opportunity, it may benefit you to hire experienced sales and marketing personnel.

Communicate with the board
A board of directors can be one of your greatest assets as a startup founder. As such, communication with the board is key. Don’t wait for board meetings to ask advice or convey new information. The process doesn’t have to be formal. Your communication should be “casual but frequent.”

All of your advisors and peers can be helpful, but your board has a vested interest in your success and, hopefully, experience to back up their advice. Your board members have also likely been through the startup process before, maybe more than once, and can help you navigate the waters as you build your business.

Outside insight can be tremendously helpful, but remember that you, as a founder or executive, must be comfortable with the decisions being made as your organizational structure takes shape.

You should absolutely listen to your team, peers, advisors and supporters, but at the end of the day, the most important person you will have to answer to is yourself, so make sure you are in line with the decisions that are being made for your company.

From the Desk of HGBSE Founder