The first hire after your core team: a great office manager

Excerpts from The Controversial First Role to Hire After Your “A Round” by Mark Suster:

Your first hire after that first round of capital is an office manager / company-wide assistant.

Your single most valuable asset in the early days is your senior team and presumably nobody is more valuable than the founding team. And you’re bogged down in expense claims, booking hotel rooms, scheduling meetings, dealing with a leaky toilet, processing payroll, ordering computers, etc.

So what would you look for in an ideal world? Somebody who:
– Knows that their job is to be administrative so that they won’t feel like they’re being asked to do a role they feel is “beneath them”
– Aspires to be more than the CEOs admin
– Is extraverted and pleasant and has great “bedside manner” with customers, investors, press, recruits, etc. who might be calling
– Is organized, disciplined & trustworthy
– Can work with many people. You’re not looking to hire a personal assistant so much as an “office manager” who doesn’t mind helping with coffee, copying, faxing
– Is numerate and can do some basic data entry, accounts payable, collections, etc, until you’re ready to bring on more accounting staff.

One thought on “The first hire after your core team: a great office manager

  1. In the comments was a link to this excellent article: Crucial first hire: the “do-it-all office admin” http://www.currentlyobsessed.com/2009/12/16/crucial-first-hire-the-do-it-all-office-admin/

    Personal characteristics to look for:

    Self-driven, tenacious, energetic – this person will need to be able to take a loose project description and drive it to completion, with little help.
    Eager to gain experience – they may not have experience but they are eager to prove to the world how they can shine. Startups are great places for these types.
    Smart – because smart people will respond to challenges like “figure out a way to get free pastries from that new bakery downstairs for our next board meeting”
    Trustworthy — this person will invariably have access to sensitive information like cap tables, employee records, bank statements and your email inbox (if you let them)

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