As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly weighing your options and trying to determine where best to allocate your time and resources. Do you need a CTO? Is it worth it to hire one? Or can you get by without one?
In this post, we’ll explore the role of the CTO for startups and help you decide if you can get by without one.
What is a CTO
The Chief Technical Officer, or CTO, is responsible for a company’s technology strategy. They oversee all technical aspects of the business, from product development to R&D to engineering. The CTO is the bridge between the technical and non-technical teams, and they play a crucial role in ensuring that all departments are aligned with the company’s overall mission and goals.
However, CTOs are much more than that during the startup phase. A CTO needs to be a visionary and a strategist, always thinking one step ahead of the competition. They need to have a deep understanding of the latest technology trends and identify which will be most impactful for their business. Furthermore, they need to be able to take on responsibilities outside of their direct area of expertise, such as marketing or business development.
In short, a tech startup CTO must wear many hats and be able to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. As the company becomes more stable and established, the CTO can then focus on more specific tasks and delegate some of their responsibilities.
The Pros of Hiring a CTO
So, do you need a CTO? Let’s explore the pros and cons of hiring one.
1. CTOs Can Help You Grow Your Business
One of the main advantages of hiring a CTO is that they can help you scale your business. A CTO can provide valuable insights into how to grow your business and expand into new markets. They can also help you build the necessary infrastructure to support your growth. Furthermore, a CTO can help you attract and retain top talent, as they are often well-connected in the tech community.
2. Having a CTO makes it easier to raise money
Startups that have a CTO are often more attractive to investors. This is because having a CTO shows that you’re serious about your business and that you have a solid plan for how to grow it.
The Cons of Hiring a CTO
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to hiring a CTO. As you’ll see, startups that can’t yet afford a full-time CTO may be better off without one.
1. They’re expensive
One of the biggest disadvantages of hiring a CTO is that they are often very expensive. Startups that are just starting out may not have the budget to hire a full-time CTO. In addition, a CTO may require equity in the company, which can be a problem for cash-strapped startups.
2. They need to be managed
Another disadvantage of hiring a CTO is that they need to be managed. They need clear direction and guidance from the CEO to be effective. Furthermore, the CEO needs to be able to handle the CTO’s expectations and keep them in check. A CTO is not a magician; they cannot work miracles.
3. Not all CTOs are created equal
Not all CTOs are equally talented or experienced. Startups that hire a CTO need to be careful to find someone who is a good fit for their particular business. The last thing you want is to hire a CTO who is not a good match for your company culture or who does not have the necessary skill set.
4. Changing the executive team
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that hiring a CTO will change the dynamic of your executive team. It’s vital that your team learns to work together and that the different roles are clearly defined. Otherwise, you may end up with a team that is not cohesive and does not function well together.
When Does It Make Sense to Hire A CTO For Your Startup?
As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to hiring a CTO. So, when does it make sense to hire one?
Generally speaking, you should only hire a CTO when your startup has become an established business with a solid track record. At that point, you will have the budget to hire a full-time CTO and need someone to help you maintain your operations.
Since you’re still a long way from that stage, you may want to wait to hire a CTO. Thankfully, startups have other options for building their technical team. You can outsource! Outsourcing your development can save you money and help you avoid the challenges of managing a full-time CTO. Furthermore, it allows you to scale your team up or down as needed.
CTOs are not a priority for startups. With so much on the line, it’s important to focus on more specific tasks and delegate some of their responsibilities. At Borne, we can help you do just that.
We’re a software development partner and venture builder. We help startups grow their business by building the necessary infrastructure and attracting top talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your startup!