As the market makes way for growth in women’s health, hiring, scaling and storytelling are top of mind for founders. By Stephanie Winans (Co-Founder and CEO of Iron Health) and Katelyn Marini (Managing Director at The Bowdoin Group)
With investments in women’s health trending upward, going from $500 million in 2020 to $1.2 billion in 2022 (Pitchbook), the spotlight on women’s health and support from the venture community continues. As the market makes way for growth in women’s health, hiring, scaling, and storytelling are top of mind for founders.
Step 1: Define your hiring strategy.
Many companies hire too quickly or too late, resulting in either a drain on cash without a positive ROI or lost revenue opportunities. Creating a hiring plan that includes critical milestones as triggers for those hires is crucial. The milestones should include financial and business goals, such as completing a fundraise, meeting projected revenue targets, and proving product-market fit. In addition to milestone-oriented hiring plans, it is key to understand which hires are nice-to-have and which are critical to the growth of your business objectives. Understanding this difference requires strong strategic planning and an understanding of your growth trajectory. Advisory input can be helpful to ensure you are not waiting too long to prioritize hires tied to growth or that you are not getting over your skis in a way that will not be sustainable.
Step 2: Look outside your network.
Your network is a powerful resource. While your instinct may be to hire from your network and prioritize familiarity, there is a benefit to also looking at the broader talent market. You are more likely to build diversity of thought, and you will have more confidence that you have found the best-fit candidate for the role when you look outside. A robust hiring process will encourage both.
“First-time founders are inclined to use their networks first – which they should do. The issue arises when they are not simultaneously considering candidates who they do not know and who could be excellent for the job. The benefit of seeking outside support is a wider hiring lens and strategic thinking around hiring the right candidate.”
Step 3: Tell the story for mission alignment.
It can be challenging for startups to differentiate themselves. Often the critical differentiator is the company’s mission. Being able to communicate your mission clearly and passionately can be a powerful recruitment technique and a driver of employee engagement. Mission-aligned candidates are more likely to choose your company and are more likely to stay as the market heats up. Developing thoughtful talent recruitment and retention plans is key as early-stage companies navigate this tough economic market. The time for women’s health is now— market timing and passionate leaders in this space will continue to fuel growth.
Watch Stephanie Winans (Co-Founder and CEO of Iron Health) and Katelyn Marini (Managing Director at The Bowdoin Group) in their latest webinar appearance, “Scaling for Growth.”