How SnapBill Supercharged Their Start-up By Hiring Right

How SnapBill Supercharged Their Start-up By Hiring Right


Vital Stats

  • Company: SnapBill
  • Players: Jaco van Wyk and Josh Yudaken
  • Est: 2010
  • CALL: 0860 777 000
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Bad hiring decisions can result in lots of headaches and heartache for a start-up. All the passion and drive in the world will not make up for employing the wrong people.

This is one of the challenges that Jaco van Wyk and Josh Yudaken, founders of online invoicing and billing system SnapBill, had to confront when they launched the business in 2010.

“We had worked together on different projects for many years, starting in 2004 when we launched our first billing system,” says van Wyk.

“Looking at some of the factors for success when it comes to tech start-ups, one of the ones that really stands out is the benefit of having two founders. It’s almost become a determinant of future success. That’s why it made sense for us to partner. I am the sales guy and Josh is the technical whiz.”

Not an easy task

Given their relationship of collaboration and co-operation, van Wyk and Yudaken had a reality check when it came to hiring staff for SnapBill.

It’s a common start-up dilemma: If you have no experience in hiring and managing people, you may be forgiven for thinking that most of them have a bad attitude.

It’s not easy to gain the skills to hire the right people for the job, but for start-ups, there are a few guidelines.

The start-up mentality

“We had to find individuals with a start-up mentality. Most people are used to being employees in a formal organisation that has all the process and systems in place. In a start-up, that is not always the case. That’s because the business has to remain flexible, constantly changing and adapting its products with relative ease and little turnover time.

“A start-up mentality can allow more room for experimenting with new products. You can move quickly with your market and adapt your product based on customer trends.”

The risk factor

It’s important for new hires to share the founders’ appetite for risk.

“We had bootstrapped the business, so we knew all about risk. But we also believed there would be reward, so we offered equity in the business, rather than a market-related salary. Not everyone is keen to take up that offer, but when you find people who do, you can build an incredible team as you are all equally driven and motivated to succeed. Of course, they have to be in it for the long haul.”

Remember, start-ups come with a lot of stress. van Wyk says he found it critical to employ people who could remain calm under pressure and in situations of extreme duress.

Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.