No one can build a business alone – even Steve Jobs was quick to admit that.
You need great people to build awesome products. You need people to market and sell those products. You need people to come up with, and execute ideas that you probably would never have conceived alone.
No matter how strong of a business idea you have, or how brilliant of an entrepreneur you are, the fate of your startup ultimately rests on the shoulders of your team.
Furthermore, you need to pay attention to the people on your team because it could take only one weak member to bring down your entire business.
So how can you be certain that you’ve assembled the right team? Here are five things to take note of when ‘assembling your Avengers’.
1. Use Your Personal Network, But Also Look Beyond It
The best bet to find your desired talent is through your personal network.
If there’s no suitable candidate in your circle, you can ask around for recommendations; and at the same time, tell them what you are building and the employee qualities you are looking for. This ensures a higher chance of quality hires because they can be vouched for.
Beyond that, be sure to also venture out of your personal network and find peers in the startup community and network with them. This is possible if you are spending time in a co-working space or attending any startup event.
Networking, whether online or offline, can put you in touch with like-minded people and help develop meaningful relations that will help you eventually come across the right partner.
2. Ensure A Good Cultural Fit
Traditional recruiting for tech startups has focused on finding the right skill sets. That’s an important variable, but it doesn’t help a great team to mesh.
Just because someone knows a programming language doesn’t mean that they will communicate well with other team members, help ‘carry’ colleagues on down days, or fully share the celebration when there’s a team triumph.
The key in hiring today is to focus first on people who will be compatible with a great team. If people on a team share the same set of beliefs and values, they are more likely to work better with each other and will ultimately achieve collaborative success.
The nature of your business and your plans of growing it will determine the culture at work. If you see yourself as heading a company that does things differently and is always looking for out-of-the-box ideas, you should hire accordingly.
In order to determine who is right for your company, you will have to ask relevant questions in job interviews. Only say yes to those who have the skill sets and aptitude you’d want in your team.
3. Spend Time To Hire ‘Right’
As a startup, hiring is completely the responsibility of the CEO and one of the most important and time-consuming activities you should be engaging in.
Mark Zuckerberg himself said this about his own hiring efforts: “The most important thing for you as an entrepreneur trying to build something is, you need to build a really good team. And that’s what I spend all my time on… I spend probably 25 percent of my time recruiting, finding good people… to put them in more impactful roles.”
It’s very important that you do not hire people out of desperation if you want your company to succeed in the long-term.
To secure good people into your team, you will have to shell out competitive salaries as well. See this as a very important investment in your company – people are your greatest resource, and you must make sure you hire the right ones.
4. Foster A Mentorship Culture
An excellent way to build team spirit and to maximise your financial resources for the hiring process is to bring on board a few experienced people with leadership skills. Once they have spent some time with you and come to understand their own roles in your business, you can pair the new employees with the experienced ones.
Your experienced employees will function as mentors and groom the younger ones for future responsibilities. The mentee-mentor role is a great basis for creating engaged employees, who in turn build strong teams.
Likewise, as the leader of the pack, your employees will look to you for clues on what’s acceptable, how to conduct themselves, and whether they are headed in the right direction.
As such, you need to be hands-on and lead by example. Give your employees constant feedback on how things are progressing, and smartly nudge them in the right direction when the need arises.
5. Quickly Let Go Of People When It Doesn’t Work Out
Firing is just as important as hiring.
At the end of the day, if an employee’s skills aren’t sufficient for the job, or they’re just not doing the job as well as you need them to — let them go.
You’re doing them a favour by freeing them up to do something they’re good at instead. However, be sure to let them go with compassion and help them find their next position.
However, be sure to provide chances first instead of giving immediate dismissal. Give your feedback along the way through frequent job performance appraisals, or immediate response anytime you notice something that isn’t quite up to the standard you’re looking for.
The Dream Team
Building the right startup team is among a startup CEO’s most critical tasks.
If you bring the wrong people on board, the path will likely lead to failure, or at the very least, be much more painful than it should have been.
But with the right team, you add strength and momentum, making the ride a lot more pleasant and increasing the odds for a successful outcome.
Featured Image Credit: Geek Culture