How To Build a Team That Will Thrive
Building a great company means building a great team. Whether it’s technology whizzes, marketing experts, or someone with the project management experience to lead it all, there’s a good chance you won’t be going at it alone. Hiring your initial team can sometimes feel daunting, but once you have everyone in place, you’ll be happy you did.
Research suggests 60% of new ventures fail because of problems with the team. Having experience (especially working together) can help, but it’s soft skills like passion and entrepreneurship that can really make your group shine.
Don’t know how to get started? Here are a few ideas for finding the perfect fit:
Focus on Function
According to experts, the best startup teams don’t include an army of VPs. Instead, focus on finding staff that fulfill the core functional needs of your business — like designers, software developers, marketing pros, or sales leaders. By finding a balance between employees who are highly skilled in technical areas (such as an app developer) and finding generalists (like hiring a marketer who is also skilled at sales or web design) you’ll manage to cover all your bases more easily.
Your business plan should give you some idea of what it will take to create (and sell) your product. Whether it’s a team of freelance designers or a full time developer, building a team that meets these needs will not only get your product to market faster, it will lead to a more effective workday — research shows employees are more satisfied and more productive when they feel they add value.
A team who knows what they add and where they fit within an organization are more likely to add the ‘soft skills’ (like a shared vision or passion for the product) necessary for success.
Balance Teamwork with Technical Skill
Research suggests that there are two ways organizational teams find each other — the first is interpersonal bonds (like going to college together or working in the same organization) and the second is by seeking out people based on their capabilities. According to experts, a combination of both is key, although it can sometimes be hard to do.
“A hybrid formation strategy works best,” according to University of Maryland professor Brent Goldfarb. “But few startups actually use it. That’s likely because it is more difficult.”
The good news is, building a team is an iterative process: as you start to hire for more roles, both functional and leadership oriented, you can find the right mix of chemistry and capability. For example, if you and your cofounder met through an interpersonal link, you can focus on hiring your initial team for the capabilities you’re missing. If you’re finding the chemistry is off, you can bring in someone more familiar.
Keep Budget in Mind
If you want great staff, you’ll need to pay them — and this can mean larger capital needs up front. Hiring crucial staff members (such as the people who are going to create and build your product) is one good reason to raise funds
Having a solid business plan will give you some idea of where you’ll need to spend. Whether it’s product development or marketing to the general public, your core role as a founder will be finding a way to generate sustainable revenue. If this means hiring a full time software developer, then this is a good reason to raise capital. If you have the product already, taking it to the next level could require a marketer.
No matter which route you go, finding the right mix of people should have one goal — building a healthy, successful business. As you put the pieces in place for who you need to hire and what they will cost, keep your ROI in mind. Building a successful team can increase your capital needs, but it can also pay off big time in terms of helping your business grow!