Building your amazing startup team is hugely important since your team provides the expertise needed to build, distribute, and market your brand. Plus an amazing team collaborates, working together to achieve the overarching goals established as guiding principles for your startup. With a mediocre team or a team without the right skills, you struggle to achieve goals, which may result in irreparable damage to your nascent brand.
Finding, hiring, and motivating your amazing startup team is one of the most important tasks you face in efforts to get your business off the ground. The team you put together must include a variety of skills, as well as experience facing the challenges you anticipate. Commonly, as you search for funds needed to start your business and, later, expand your opportunities, you’ll find investors and banks weigh the quality of your startup team heavily in their investment decisions.
Today, we provide a detailed overview of the factors you must consider when building that amazing startup team early on and ensuring it’s capable of propelling your startup towards growth and success.
Building an amazing startup team
An obvious first step in building an amazing startup team is determining your immediate needs, as well as planning for future needs. These needs vary greatly based on your business plan, but a marketing professional must be one of your first new hires because marketing is really the fuel that drives the success of your startup. Newer management philosophies, such as lean and agile, inherently respect the core elements of marketing necessary for success in advice to hire your marketing team before writing your first line of code or producing your first prototype.
Finding your amazing startup team
Finding the right people to drive your startup is challenging. Often, the best opportunities to find new startup team members come by mining your contacts, since those folks, in essence, participated in a long interview for the job. Folks from former workplaces, new colleagues, and close connections are individuals you know well.
Similarly, ask contacts for referrals when you don’t know folks with the right skills. Some larger cities have meetup groups designed to help connect skilled workers with startups needing talent or groups formed around interests in certain skills, such as PHP or Python. Becoming a member of these groups gives you great insights into folks who might fit with your amazing startup team.
Write great job descriptions
When hiring the first folks for your business, ensure you’re clear about what skills you actually need to get the job done right and, maybe, more importantly, to grow into new roles as the business expands.
One of the ways to do that and to avoid being approached by people who aren’t up to scratch is to write great job descriptions providing great detail on the exact skills you need, including both hard skills like coding and marketing, with soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, and communication.
But, don’t include criteria just because you think you should. For instance, do you really need a college degree to handle the requirements of the job? Is it critical that folks work for X number of years or would someone who shows their skills in volunteer organizations offer a better fit?
The job description itself says a lot about your company, and it should say even more about what you’re looking for in your new hire.
When hiring, it’s all too easy to get sucked into focusing on a person’s past and what they achieved in prior employment. But that’s not always a helpful way to look at things, especially when hiring for a startup. Instead of looking at what people offer now, think about what they might offer going forward and what they contribute in terms of their long-term potential.
Similarly, there’s a vast difference between working for the same company for 20 years and broadening your experience by working for several firms during that period. Also, if a person held the same position for 10 years, do they have 10 years of experience, or do they have a year’s worth of experience that they repeated for 9 years?
Look for specific talents
It’s important to seek out employees who have particular skills and talents that you know you need to build your amazing startup team. Identify the talents and skills your startup needs and then take the hiring process from there.
Again, great skills only take you so far. Sometimes it’s the softer skills that make the difference between an amazing startup team and a mediocre team. Think about how important communication is for your firm and how well prospective new hires work with other people, for instance. Also, empathy is a critical skill, especially in front-line workers in the public eye.
There are plenty of resources out there that can help you find folks with the right skills and talents, and it’s good to know that employers can also use practice match, which is a great hiring and recruiting tool.
Skills you can’t teach
There are some skills that you either have or you don’t. There are skills conventional wisdom suggests you can’t teach, and you should certainly look for folks already possessing these skills when you hire. If you’re concerned that your team lacks certain talents that can’t really be taught or trained, it’s important to look for those core skills and abilities when you hire someone new.
Although, we’re discovering you can teach an old dog new tricks. For instance, we used to think that great salespeople were born not made but recent studies show that simply isn’t true. With proper training, you can teach nearly everything you need in your amazing startup team, with the possible exception of hard work and a positive attitude. Although, you can motivate these behaviors through a combination of financial and non-financial rewards.
Offer flexibility to attract the best people
It’s not just about finding the best people, it’s also about ensuring those people actually want to work for you as well. The right policies and procedures ensure you attract and retain the “right” people. Otherwise, your amazing startup team dwindles as they get more lucrative job offers, leaving only the low performers that no other company wants.
That’s why you should try to offer your team as much flexibility as you can and as many perks as you can afford. You don’t want them to choose a job offer from a rival company because they feel like your business is not quite offering them enough.
Attracting and retaining top talent involves different strategies in different industries. Leaders like Amazon and Google set the standard when it comes to attracting top talent with free gourmet meals, flexible hours, architecture that encourages teamwork, and even entertainment for off-hours. Not only do these perks help attract and retain talent, but they also help build a cohesive community that works together with less strain.
Building your amazing startup team is something that you definitely need to work hard to get right. As your business launches, you can’t take chances when it comes to the people you surround yourself with. This is the team that will hopefully drive your business on to success, so take the time to get it right.