The 5 roles you need in a startup


There are a couple of key roles to fill in an IT startup. I’ve recently recalled a great blog on “5 People you commonly find in a startup” by John Sharp in a couple of conversations as I feel that knowing what your strengths are and what sort of team you need around you can be key to business success. The 5 types are:


Visionary – The person who come up with the idea. The type of person that identifies the problem that the team will solve and the high level look at how to do it.
Wizard – This is the operations side of the startup, the person who works the magic and makes the impossible actually happen.
Wiseman – They’re your investor or Advisor. They bring money and experience into the mix.
Willing Slave – One of the most crucial roles is the person who can actually build the product. Outsource this at your peril.
Deal Maker – This is the guy who can sell the idea. They get investors onboard, find customers and sells to clients.

Now that doesn’t mean that every startup has to be 5 people, only that these 5 roles need to be covered. The Wizard can be the Dealmaker, or the Willing Slave or Wiseman the Visionary. Most times there are multiple hats worn by the same person.

I was recently looking at an opportunity with a friend of mine. It is a great idea with huge scope and lots of potential. I turned it down. Right from the beginning there was an obvious overlap in our skill sets. We were both Wizards, which led to big overlap in operations and decision time – something a startup just can’t afford.

Knowing where your skills fit in your startup is an absolute must. In the same breath, finding the right mix of people so that your startup covers all the bases is just as important. Especially if you are looking for funding.

I’m very happy in the knowledge that I’m about 60% Wizard and 40% Closer. Don’t ask me to come up with a world-changing idea, but give me one and I’ll draw you a road map. Where do your skills lie?

4 thoughts on “The 5 roles you need in a startup

  1. Greetings,
    we all have liked your articles and site. I shall return again, thanking you, please keep posting your great articles. Kind Regards.

  2. Hi Roger – I agree with you that these roles all fall within a spectrum. I’d say that I’m mostly “visionary” and “deal maker” with a bit of “wizzard” sprinkled in. Do you know of any examples of visionary / deal maker types whom I could read about to gain some inspiration/guidance? Do you personally know anyone with that mindset, and if so how have they succeeded?

  3. Dear Sir Roger,
    How are you? I am Roderick E.Casiple ,I am attaching my CV or Resume here with an intention of applying for the position of an Assistant Laundry or Steward in yacht. I would like to do this carrier shift to be able to make a sound position in the Hotel Department for the future. Anything you could doto help me would be highly appreciated and in return I will do my best in the job if ever I get hired. Many thanks…All the best.

  4. Dear Roger,
    Thank a lot for running this blog, there are so much things that will help new startupers to understand what they really are and what they really want to become and which is the most important – how.

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