For many start-up businesses, the success of the company in the early stages requires the founder to work in a variety of key roles, with sales being one of the most important aspects. However, this is not sustainable over the long term.

Retail experience in the early stages

Many business owners do not have direct retail experience and naively believe in many cases that the product will sell itself. This can become a steep learning curve, with owners having to pitch the business at every level from potential investors to the end retailers. Although sales skills will improve over time, many start-ups are beginning to look into retail executive recruitment at board level in the early stages to ensure future growth of the company.

A struggling recruitment process

Working with a start-up can provide many opportunities, as the role will grow as the company expands. Many business owners have spent time struggling through the retail sales environment and know the skills which they are looking for. They understand that hiring a poorly skilled salesperson can be very costly to the success of the business in these early stages, so are now looking to hire retail executives with a vast amount of experience behind them. This could be the reason why an annual survey by First Round, the ‘State of Start-ups’, found that sales leaders were the most coveted and difficult hires, with 26% of respondents reporting that these positions were the hardest to fill.

Increased demand for retail talent

In the past, many believed technical talent for start-ups were the most critical members of staff to fill. But, expert retail executives are now being employed early on, to help the business as a whole improve its sales skills and find the first clients. Sales at the start are critical to success and many businesses find it tough to secure retail talent, due to a lack of branding and in many cases a poor budget. To find the right people many start-ups are beginning to raise the budget for sales, to attract people with desirable skills and experience. Although a start-up may not have the budget for a high basic salary commanded by many retail executives, they are often in a position to offer incentivised equity shares in the company itself as well as more flexibility and scope for progression.

As recruitment experts for the FMCG industry, we have vast experience recruiting retail executives at board level and above. Whether you have a position to fill or are looking for a retail executive role, contact our team of recruitment professionals today to discuss your requirements.