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prolificus's avatar

How would I go about finding a vice president for a start-up business (read: no working capital to pay salary)?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) March 21st, 2014

I started an s-corp last November with the intention of running an e-commerce. Quickly I learned that unless I have a huge inventory in a niche market, the e-commerce biz is more hassle than worth.

So, I regrouped and started an online marketing biz for other businesses to advertise and promote special deals. There is potential for growth in the target market I’ve chosen (I don’t want to share because I don’t want to promote the biz here).

In order for the biz to grow, someone will need to put a lot of energy in doing direct marketing to the target businesses. I don’t have the resources to do this alone. Also, I do not have the resources to hire someone. However, if the right person were to take charge of marketing, he / she could reap the rewards (commission and then salary once the biz is steady).

I’m already advertising for sales reps, but I’m not receiving any nibbles (I do all my marketing via social media: Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc etc.).


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8 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

People who are good at their jobs generally have options where they work. If they are good at marketing/sales, that transfers pretty well, and honestly pays pretty well. If you can’t pay well maybe you can figure out what you’re offering besides money for compensation and emphasize that.

Is there possibly a really big payday down the road? Are you offering equity in the business? Is the niche somewhere where there will be enthusiasts or a hobbyist market? Is it a fun thing to do with other perks? Does anyone dream to be a <blank>? Can they do it part time?

As an example, most bartenders are generally pretty high functioning folks who could make more money in another line of work. Some just like the bar scene and have the personality that makes it work. Some like the hours. Some use that job to find dates. Some just like being connected, but they all get something besides money out of the position.

Find people who love doing what you want them to do and motivate them with the other perks and possibilities. Be flexible so they aren’t taking too big of a leap on your word alone. Or, if you just need a warm body, get someone new to the field and offer experience and a level of autonomy they won’t find elsewhere.

Cruiser's avatar

I HATE to say it but you need a partner with those skills who will put up some of their own money to help make things happen. Otherwise you will have to dig deep in your pockets to recruit someone who has the skill you need. Have to tried Craigslist? I got lots of really good nibbles the 2 times I put ads there.

herculies's avatar

When I launched my business, my second was a school friend. It is important to have somebody who shares your vision, an ‘enlightenment’ of your ‘cause.’ You need to be ‘one mind one goal’

This might sound vague but at this point you need to be very focused but still pay close attention to the people around you. Any little contributing detail might be the one that raises your venture to a new level.

This almost sounds like a religion, that’s the way I started. I commited my soul to it and it payed off.

GloPro's avatar

Consider paying commission until you are profitable enough to switch to salary. Make that switch before they would rather have commission over salary, though.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’d think along the lines of “something old, something new”. Look to places like SCORE for their organization ideas, their valuable connections and executive-type experience, and look to interns for the high volume, high energy and scut work, with a chance (as long as you think it’s real – don’t lie to people about their chances) at rapid promotion.

Presumably, people from either place would not be there for the money, or at least for an immediate payout, but among the three of you (or people from all three groups), you could form a tight and mutually supportive team.

Oh, this is cool. I just learned how to make a tag for a hyperlink in Fluther. Like this

prolificus's avatar

This is what I can offer:

1. 60% commission (negotiable depending on experience)
2. Stock options

This person would be an independent contractor until the business can sustain hiring the person full time. Like @GloPro said, I would switch to salary before the person became too comfortable with commission. But, who knows, maybe the independent contractor part would benefit me in the long run because I would not have to worry about all the taxes and expenditures associated with having an actual employee.

I agree with many of the thoughts presented here, especially @herculies because of the nature of the business.

Thanks @CWOTUS for the link. <smile>

GloPro's avatar

Good point about filing a 1099 vs. a W2. Especially considering the new Obamacare penalties or insurance costs for small businesses, workers comp, unemployment insurance, etc.

herculies's avatar

As far as sales reps… I would look in similar type business and find someone who will also work for me part time, without leaving their current job. Maybe find someone unhappy with their current job. I would also post for interns at local schools, before some law is enacted forcing you to pay interns. Grad students are willing slaves… you just have to keep them enthused.

Does all this sound slightly unethical? No. You got to push boundries. Gymnists are taught to commit themselves fully and follow thru. Want this thing to work than commit.

Still… what you do in the first few minutes of the business will become habit. Develope good work habits and stick to them! Good Luck and Cheers.

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