How to Build a Team That Won’t Sink Your Startup

How to Build a Team That Won’t Sink Your Startup

The people you choose to work with have the ability to make or break your business. Consider the long-term vision for your business. Personalities matter A sure-fire way to sink your startup is to hire team members who don’t get along. But you should get to know your team. But if you want people who are going to do great work for the long haul, make sure that their goals are aligned with the job. They ensure that each performer works together to create a seamless show. That’s who you want to be for your team. It’s your job to put the right personalities or skills together so that your team can perform at their best. No matter how competent a person you hire, training should be continuous. That’s why it’s important to keep evaluating your team even after they’re hired.

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Many successful entrepreneurs won’t admit this secret.

But I’ll let you in on it.

There is no such thing as a solo entrepreneur.

Nobody who’s ever scaled a business from the ground up did it alone.

In fact, left to themselves, they wouldn’t have a business.

I recently read a book about legendary businessman and investor Warren Buffett.

Buffett spent years trying to convince his longtime friend, Charlie Munger, to be his business partner.

He never went looking elsewhere.

He never settled for anybody else.

He knew Charlie was the man, and he did everything to get him on board.

Reading this story just solidified what I already knew.

The people you choose to work with have the ability to make or break your business.

If you look at research on why startups don’t make it, the wrong team is among the top reasons.

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It is imperative that you are selective and strategic about your team.

If you’re just starting a business, this is likely something that you’ve thought about.

I know because I get this question a lot:

“How do I choose the right team members for my startup?”

In this article, I will give you my best advice for building a team that will carry your startup all the way to the top.

Best of all, I’ll let you in on some actionable strategies for ensuring that your team is fire-proof.

Nothing will kill your startup faster than having to put out fires every step of the way.

Still with me? Good, let’s get to it.

1. Start with you

At the risk of sounding cliche, I’ll say this:

Self-awareness is the foundation of everything good.

A formidable team begins with you.

Here’s the proof:

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The reality is, you won’t have every single skill that it takes to scale a startup.

First, objectively evaluate your skill set.

What are you great at?

What do you lack?

And it’s not just about hard skills.

The soft qualities come into play as well. As many as 77% of employers agree that soft skills are just as important.

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Your personality, your values, and your beliefs are all things that you need to take into consideration.

After you’ve got a solid grasp of what you bring to the table, you can start thinking about your team.

Do what you’re great at.

Find competent people to handle the rest.

It’s as simple as that.

2. Hire action-takers who can get the job done

No business has ever taken off based on an idea.

It is execution that transforms an idea into a legitimate, revenue-generating business.

You want to build a team that’s capable of accomplishing things instead of just spouting off ideas.

Before you think about anything else, consider candidates for the hard skills that they possess.

Why the emphasis on core competencies?

Startups are grueling.

Things move at a rapid pace.

Challenges get thrown at you at every turn.

Perhaps that why there’s been a significant decline in startups over the years.

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It is imperative that you have team members with the agility to deal with problems quickly and efficiently.

With the competitive nature of business, you also need people who are resourceful.

The ability to innovate and to come up with creative solutions is a critical asset.

Many entrepreneurs wait until things go wrong, then scramble to get people to fix it.

Think about the potential challenges from the outset, and build a team that can handle whatever comes their way.

3. Don’t build a team for a startup

Isn’t that what this entire article is about?

Yes, but let me explain.

The startup phase is temporary.

While it’s true that many businesses don’t make it past that initial phase, that’s not what you want your trajectory to be.

Here are the failure rates for small businesses across several years:

5 Reasons Why Businesses Fail Infographic

Don’t let this discourage you.

You can have a business that remains viable for years to come.

But, it’s important that you build a team for the long term.

What exactly does this mean?

Build your team with the entire organization’s structure in mind.

Consider the long-term vision for your business.

Write down all the different departments that you will need to bring that vision to reality.

Here are some examples.

  • Product design and development
  • Accounting and finance
  • Research and development
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These are pretty standard across many industries, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

This exercise is simply about mapping the architecture of your business.

Bear in mind that you don’t need a team member to represent every possible function.

At least, not in the beginning.

Think about the functions that are necessary to give life to a minimally viable version of your business.

What does this mean?

Here’s an illustration of minimum viability:

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When you have that laid out, hire people who would be leaders for each of these functions.

This way, when you’re ready to scale your business, there’s far less friction.

You already have a leadership structure in place. You can make a seamless transition into expanding your team.

4. Hire people who understand the importance of customer service

Customer service should not be the sole responsibility of one department in your business.

Every team member should be driven by a desire to do right by the end consumer.

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s good for your bottom line.

I get it.

Revenue makes all the difference. You should be thinking about the numbers.

But if you can build a team that always places your customers front and center, you’ll have no trouble meeting your revenue goals.

This goes for established businesses, but it’s even more crucial for a startup.

When you’re just starting off, you may not have the resources to hire a large team.

This means that everybody may be involved in the sales and marketing functions.

That includes direct interaction with potential customers.

So ensure that your team is equipped with the right attitude to serve.

Here are some of the factors that matter to customers:

Customer service trends are you being served Marketing Week