Every successful startup founder who wants their business to grow eventually comes to a major crossroad. Their choices are to keep going it alone or hire a team.
If you’ve reached this point (or soon will), you’re probably thinking:
- You don’t want to give up control or lose ground on what you’ve worked so hard for
- You’re worried about bringing the wrong person in the door
- You’re concerned about money
Deep down, you know what you should do, but you’re afraid. You’ve run into the terror barrier.
But here’s the thing. You’re never going to be able to take your business to the next level by standing still. You’re also not going to be able to do it alone.
Growing a business is a major undertaking that will require you to take on many roles—accountant, marketer, programmer, designer and more. No one person has a skill set for everything that is required to run a growing business.
So, rather than wondering if you should build a team, ask how you can build the right team. Feeling more confident that you know how to do that will ease your anxiety and help you move through the fear.
I’ve been running companies for more than two decades, and I’ve created many teams. So, I’d like to help you move this process to build a team that helps you meet and even exceed your goals.
While there’s no tried and true formula, looking for these five characteristics will help you build a winning team:
1. Familiar to you or someone you know. In your company’s early stages, delivery is critical. You don’t want to have to worry about if you can trust the team to work together to get the job done.
You want to feel comfortable that they will come up with strategies that build on what you’ve already established and get your product out to as many people as possible in an efficient way. So, hire people you know or who come highly recommended by someone. It will increase your chances of success.
2. Believes in your idea. Many entrepreneurs hire or partner with someone whom they think has the right experience, but the person doesn’t believe in the idea strongly. That’s a big mistake.
Running and growing your startup will involve long hours and lots of hard decisions. So, you will need all the passion and energy you can get. If the people you bring on board don’t believe in your idea, they won’t be enthusiastic about their work, and they won’t have a vested interest in the company’s success.
Your first team members should bring additional value to your business. That’s far more likely to happen if they’re excited about what the company is doing.
3. Eager to grow. Education and experience are important. However, if you find people with the right attitude (more about that in a minute), education and expertise may not be as important as you think.
Two executives in our company are former nannies. With no experience or education in our indstry, they worked their way up the ranks to their current positions.
If you find people who believe in your idea, and they are eager to learn, make the most of themselves, and are self-motivated, don’t turn your back on them solely because they don’t have the education and experience you are looking for.
Instead, find out what people like doing. If there’s an opportunity for them to do something they enjoy in the company, perfect! They will take pride in their work, they will love their job, and they will likely be good at it. That’s a win for the company and them.
4. Able to do several jobs. During the early stage, be upfront with people about your current resource constraints such as money and time. Look for individuals who can and are willing to do several jobs at the same time—payroll, billing, manage the phones, etc.
People who want to do just one job and require a huge payday from the start are not a good fit for a startup. Your first hires need to be prepared to hustle hard. Later when the company grows, you can recruit more specialists and pay higher salaries to each member of the team.
5. Demonstrates a positive attitude. As I mentioned above, an employee’s attitude is often more important than their skills or experience. The only time it may not be more important is when you’re trying to fill a narrow, specialized area or highly technical position. Then, attitude may have to take second place.
Here are some of the things I look for that relate to attitude:
√ Takes a positive view of things and wants to contribute
√ Gets things done without being given a step-by-step task list or requiring constant supervision
√ Thinks ahead of the game
√ Figures out excellent solutions to existing problems
√ Doesn’t shy away from trying something new or finding a different way to do things
√ Gets involved in self-development to attain desired results
√ Expresses a willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill the duties of their position and develop new ideas to make the company better
Startups need employees who come up with new ways to accomplish existing tasks and approach goals. Employees with this type of attitude know their ideas might not work out to be the best way to do something, but it would be a bigger failure if they didn’t give new ideas a shot.
You’re only as good as the people
you attract to the company
If you can find individuals who meet the above criteria, you have a great chance of putting together a winning team.
Take your time with this process. Don’t compromise and take on someone just because you need help. It is important to be with the right people because even if the idea is wrong, the right people will figure out what to do.
Think of it this way: the first employees will be leaders at your company for a long time (hopefully), so bring on people you like and can trust. People you’ll enjoy sitting in the same boat with.
These are my five tips for hiring an excellent startup team. Now, I’d love to hear from you…
Have you started to build your company’s team? How’s it going—are you finding success or has it been challenging?
Please leave your comments below.
Thank you for reading this post and sharing your thoughts, insights, and experiences with our community.
To more and better,