Like many successful young entrepreneurs, Merlin Kauffman constantly talks up his startup with friends, colleagues and, of course, potential customers. But passion -- and a gift for passionately pitching -- cannot alone sustain a business.
To run his company, a West Hollywood, Calif.-based in-home massage delivery service called Soothe, the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management program graduate onboarded a talented, tight-knit technical team. Their marching orders: to code the backend of Kauffman’s entrepreneurial dreams, the inner workings of Soothe.
“If you’re an idea person,” he tells Entrepreneur, “you really need to find a very strong technical person who’s willing to turn your dreams into a reality and not fight you on that too much.”
And by not fighting, he says he means following the leader and sticking to his original vision. It’s a delicate balancing act that Kauffman, who tells us he was hired by AOL at the age of 11 and bootstrapped his first startup at the age of 17, carefully treads. At Soothe, he makes his working style philosphies clear to his engineers and other employees from the very beginning, as early as during the hiring process.
“You need people who are cooperative and who can add onto your idea, and won’t detract from it,” he says.
Judging by the rapid expansion of Soothe -- launched in August 2013 and now available in some 25 cities throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom -- it appears Kauffman’s team did just that. Closing several venture capital rounds totaling some $47.3 million hasn’t hurt either.
To hear more of Kauffman’s advice on hiring the right talent for your business, check out the video clip above.