Jim Davis and Adam Shnitkin

When an early-stage company begins their ascent, it can be exhilarating. Countless hours of labor, strain, and creativity finally bear fruit. That feeling should be protected. Amid that upward trend, the loss of a key employee can be devastating.

Early on, a business relies on close communication across a small staff. Teams must explore, iterate, and quickly evolve. Individual team members become resident experts in their specific fields. It would be costly to lose one of those experts. If they decide to leave (or have to be let go), it can massively derail progress. It happens.

When a key employee leaves, hiring fast can lead to a hasty decision, the wrong person, and more trouble down the road. Not hiring can leave a gaping hole in the operations of the business. How should a company bridge that gap?

We know that the ups and downs of startup life can feel like a rollercoaster; though it would be nice to take everything in stride, the threat of losing what one has worked so hard to create can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, KWILL can support. Our years of experience, breadth of knowledge, and wide-reaching ecosystem is the guidance startups can use to weather the storm of early-stage employee departure.

Can You Afford to Wait?

One of our long-time clients made a difficult but necessary decision to relieve their CFO of his role. The client was particularly concerned about the move because they were amid a Series A equity raise, but it had to be done.

The client was worried that their progress would suffer if they did not quickly make a new hire. Their stress was magnified, which they feared would impact decision-making ability. They did not want to rush into a new hire. Could you imagine hiring hastily, only to be in the same position 6 months down the road? They also did not have the capacity to keep the business on its current line of progress without someone running finance. They felt stuck.

That’s where KWILL stepped in. We let our clients focus on the day-to-day operations of running their business while we got to work.

First, we conducted an analysis of available and receivable funds compared to current operational needs to give them a clear idea of how long they could take for their hiring process. In a moment of uncertainty, that degree of clarity proved invaluable. We used our models to run several conditional (what-if) analyses on potential hiring scenarios. Exploring different start dates, salaries, and which roles to fill first. We provided them with the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Though the hire is still essential, the evaluation brought comfort in knowing that they did not have to rush. With that clarity, we were able to begin a more thoughtful search, one which incorporates company values and seeks a good culture fit.

We were then able to consult with the mindset of an interim CFO, guiding them through investor relations and financial model updates. This way, business can stay on track, hire appropriately, and have our support along the way.

For more, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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