I was in a conversation with a co-founder of technology startup and discussion was around how instrumental to have a supporting team; which will help build, scale a startup. Having a product idea, having VCs and product-market fit are crucial. Having a plan of attack on how to get your product to market is important as well. With so many factors in this equation, which defines the success-failure of a start-up; how to work with this ever challenging environment?
A good place to start is with the people you surround yourself with. A team which you can trust and which can challenge you, can take risk along with you, can extra mile with you and more importantly who can standby you when going gets tough. A great idea is the catalyst to gets things in motion, but at the end of the day, it’s the team you hire who will ultimately determine the success, or failure, of the company.
We concluded, this is a strategic decision and instrumental part of the equation, we concluded. While there is no super success ready-to-use rule book, but there might be some points which can help any start-up focus on building the teams.
1. Know your weaknesses and where you need support
Weather it is single cofounder or a team of cofounders, it is important to know the skill gaps and where is your weakness. Take stock of the voids in your skillsets, and prioritize which positions you need to hire first.
For example, if you (or your-co founders) are tech savvy but lack the skills to sell a product, you may want to hire someone who is good with sales & marketing or an executive who builds relationships. Most importantly, make sure you’re aware of which roles make the most sense for your industry and for the phase of the startup is in to at that point in time.
2. Lean on your network
It’s not just the people within the company walls who are pivotal to your business’s growth, it’s also the people you bring in from the outside. Advisors, mentors and board members aren’t just for show — they play an important role in helping to guide you both personally and professionally. Lean on your individual networks to find industry experts and veterans who can advise on matters with the hindsight of someone who’s been there before.
3. Hiring right set of people
You’ve got your outside network built but now it’s time to find the people who will help drive the day-to-day success of your business. Recruiters are great, but if you want to find people who are going to be the right fit for your company, plan on doing some of the legwork yourself. Make a list of professional skills and personality traits you want in your team, and then actively seek them out. Get creative and don’t be afraid to use all of the resources available — from board members to LinkedIn.
4. Hire for the culture
In good times this may not seem important, but when things get rough —which in a startup can happen on any given day — it’s the team with a strong culture and purpose that will pull together and push through. So, be selective in hiring the team which fits in to the culture. Team member might be exceptionally brilliant individually, but does he/she fits in to the culture you want to build?