This is the magic number of employees when a startup CEO's role starts changing big time

Vivek Sharma and Michael Nutt97018Movable Ink CEO Vivek Sharma.

In the early days of a startup, a first-time CEO should do every job, according to Movable Ink CEO Vivek Sharma.

Sharma has built his dynamic email startup into a profitable company in just 5 years, and he says part of the reason is that he understands most jobs at the company.

But there’s a specific number of employees a startup reaches when trying to do too much as CEO swiftly becomes a detriment. Sharma says that magic number is 40 people.

“Under 30 people, you have to do every job,” he says. “You can’t try to delegate too early. If you are a first-time founder, you have to learn every piece of the business at its core. I wrote the first sales deck, closed the first deals, changed the coffee, took out the garbage, and negotiated the lease,” he says.

But that has to change by employee 40, otherwise you’re in trouble. “At employee 40, you become a bottleneck for everything,” he explains. “You are going to be harried and the team is going to be upset that they don’t have the structure they need.”

Now that Movable Ink has hit close to 90 employees, Sharma says a big part of his job is creating a methodology about how the company hires, and picking the right people to take the company forward.

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