How to Build a Dream Team as an Entrepreneur (for Startups)
The purpose of this guide is to help you build your startup from a team of one to a team of many. You’ll know how to identify your startup needs, find the right people to fill those needs, and how you can bring those people together to create a high-performing team.
If you want to get your ideas off the napkin and on the ground running, it can be helpful to prioritize the growth of your team. These are people that you can mold into your workflow, and bridge the gap between your expertise and business knowledge. Not only will you have to expand it, but also make sure these individuals have a strong foundation to launch from.
Have a Clear Vision for Your Startup
If you’re reading this you probably have an ideal plan for your business, but the development ofa business ideastill has to be completed. Either way, solidifying the vision is a great first step toward a clearer direction.
Once you’ve outlined your idea or “vision”, set SMART goals for building your future team. As a refresher, these are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound. They can always be adjusted throughout the different stages of your startup so don’t limit yourself, or feel limited to sticking to your original plan.
During the stage of crafting your business’s vision, find individuals to network with and learn from. They may have gone through a similar process before, or have a well-rounded knowledge of establishing a startup. If conversations go well, and you build trustworthy work relationships with others, you can always further the mentorship process and ask them to be an advisor for your startup team.
These don’t have to be full-time employees, but more of a mentor or phone call away if you needed a helping hand. Without one, you could be missing out on necessary industry and experience-based knowledge so take additional time to prioritize those networking events, and connect with as many people on LinkedIn as you can!
Once your advisor or board of advisors is established, make sure to take the time to review expectations and schedules with them. Take their areas of expertise and experience into consideration when developing a strategic plan for your business. ask questions such as: How involved will they be in the process? Will there be weekly or monthly meetings?
Evaluate Your Startup Needs
As an entrepreneur, you may pride yourself on being self-sufficient and independent, but you doing everything by yourself can actually lead to burnout. Skills that you may lack, another person could really excel at. Instead of thinking that you can do everything the best way, delegate the tasks to other people and work along with their strengths to help build your business.
Write down what skills you can improve upon, and what the main needs of your business are, and find the gaps in between each to create roles for your future team. Remember, self-awareness and honesty are key to benefit from this exercise.
Hiring people who are different from you helps to create a well-rounded team with a diverse skill set. Diversity leads to more creative solutions to problems. Hiring people who are not only equipped with different skills and backgrounds but also different personalities and interests can lead to more success. While keeping diversity in mind, there are a few key abilities and traits that you should also look for when bringing on team members.
First and foremost, startups can be completely unpredictable. Most of the time, they may be strapped for resources, tools, and possibly money. You will want people who can bounce back from mishaps that are bound to happen when you’re working in a company that’s in its early
stages. People who are adaptable, innovative, and capable of multitasking will thrive in this ever-changing and evolving work environment.
Use Your Connections to Your Advantage
This may seem obvious, but making connections is essential when you’re recruiting new business team members. Take advantage of networking events, industry-focused workshops, and other opportunities that may broaden your social reach.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to first find someone (or maybe even multiple people) you trust to serve as an advisor on your team. Depending on what you’ve identified as your business needs, you’ll need people to fill those roles. Typically, the starting lineup of any company will include these positions:
Chief executive officer
Chief marketing officer
Chief financial officer
Chief technology officer
Business development manager
Customer service expert
However, don’t feel tied down to building your dream team around these positions. You can adjust or delegate multiple roles to team members.
If you feel like the number of connections is looking limited, don’t hesitate to use hiring platforms to build your team too. Indeed, Linkedin and Glassdoor are reliable for finding and recruiting top talent. If you’re not confident using this method by yourself, consider involving your advisor in the hiring process. They can assist you in interviewing and choosing candidates, and it never hurts to have a second opinion on something that’s going to affect your business.
Another thing to have handy in the hiring process is an employee checklistfor candidates you’ve decided to move forward with. You’ll want to make sure your employees are set up for success early on in your business beginnings. On the note of successful beginnings, make sure your team is properly compensated whether it’s monetary or otherwise from the start of employment.
Take your advisors, for example, they’re not just doing you a favor by mentoring you through your startup journey. There are a few ways to go about compensating advisors, one of the most common is to utilize the FAST Agreement from the Founder Institute. This is a flexible approach to providing compensation as it depends on the company’s maturity and the level of advisor engagement.
As for your other team members, you may be wondering how you can not only compensate top talent but also entice them to work for you. For startups strapped for financial resources, it might seem like working for a startup is undesirable. Job seekers might opt for work at a larger company with higher pay and better benefits. But, how long does it take until those benefits are outweighed by a lack of satisfaction?
It all depends on an employee’s value, and how they are able to connect with your start-up’s overall mission. Even though a larger company is most likely more established, it does not mean they are prioritizing employee growth and opportunity. It’s all about how you advertise your business to those who you want to hire. Relate to an audience and show them that, even though you’re smaller and in a more development phase, it could give them a lot of experience!
Working at a startup and on a smaller team fosters a sense of belonging and purpose as well. There is a clear goal for the team to work towards, and reaching that goal is the most satisfying feeling. Furthermore, a startup with a clear vision and personable leadership is more attractive than a big corporation with less than ideal morals and goals. As stated earlier, a startup may lack resources and constantly change. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, it gives employees a challenge that they can benefit from professionally.
Making and utilizing connections is an effective way to form a team but it’s also crucial for finding support outside of your internal team. You’ll need people to advocate for your startup to help you achieve your goals. Accelerator programs are a great resource for breaking through a heavily saturated market.
Rafael Ilishayevand Yakir Gola, co-founders of the delivery company Gopuff, understood the importance of having an advocate in the early stages of a startup through their small business accelerator program. These are great for business-minded people who are starting their own companies because it gets them in front of the right people to find funding or other resources that can set them up for success.
If you’re looking to expand, take advantage of the resources and opportunities that these company-created programs give you especially as you’re growing your team. And who knows, maybe one day you can give back to the entrepreneurial community with your own accelerator program or fund!
Instill Strong Values In Your Team
When you have finally assembled your team, consider having them take a personality assessment. This test can give you an idea of how individuals will work with you and the rest of your team. Remember, it’s less about who is on the team and more about how the team works together. Once you’ve done this, you know how your team can most efficiently work together.
But, that’s not the end of things. What foundation are efficient and high-performing teams built on? A few things; trust, consistent communication, respect, and honesty. If your team consists of people with all these traits, they’re more likely to be there to support you and each other. From day one, you need to set up the expectations of these values for your team.
Re-evaluate Your Team as Needed
Now that you have your team and know how best to work with each other, it’s important to keep track of your progress as a business. If you find your team is missing something, like a specific skill set or perspective, consider bringing someone on to help. You can either hire someone to fill a role on your internal team or you can outsource an individual or an entire team.
Let’s say you’re lacking the marketing tools to propel your business and you find your team unsure of how to tackle this issue. Ask yourself, “Do I hire a team to do in-house marketing, or should I outsource?” While there is no right or wrong answer to this question, and it depends on what works best for your business, this outsourcing vs hiring guidemay help you find perspective on what to do if you find yourself in a situation like this.
At the end of the day, your team is what makes or breaks the success of your startup. Hence the saying you’ve probably heard countless times, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” By utilizing the tips mentioned above, you’ll build the startup team of your dreams in no time.
Lead generation is crucial to any business – but that doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive, or difficult. Blogging to generate leads is one of the most powerful, easy and effective ways to generate leads; and these 3 methods will have you inundated with new leads in no time.
Blogging to generate leads through SEO
Search engines represent the most direct route for generating leads. Prospective customers search for businesses and products through the likes of Google and Yahoo!, and click the most relevant links – with 33% of all search traffic going to the business ranked #1 in the search engine results page. Blogging allows you to climb these rankings by filling your webpage with relevant keywords and links.
The more times you include a particular keyword in a page, the more likely that page is to appear high-up in the search engine rankings. Blogging allows you to regularly create keyword-rich pages, boosting your websites search engine visibility and directly generating leads.
Great blog content is also regularly shared; and the more people share it, the more links your website receives from other sites. This is great for lead generation for two reasons:
1. The more links your site has, the higher it will appear in search engine results. This generates leads because of your increased visibility.
2. If other websites share your blog content, your post becomes visible to a whole new target audience – generating traffic and leads as a result.
Blogging to generate leads through Social Media
Social networks, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn , allow your business to engage with thousands of potential leads. Each social network is home to industry-relevant communities – from health and fitness through to digital marketing – and every single community member represents a potential customer.
Your business can attract these leads by blogging. Social networks are built on sharing, and by making your blog a resource of problem-solving, industry relevant content, you encourage people to engage with and share your posts. If your business is blogging to generate leads in the health and fitness industry, create content that answers the common questions in that niche:
* How can I lose weight?
* How can I gain muscle?
* What’s a protein shake?
Sharing this content across social media attracts visitors that are looking to answer their questions; and by the answers, you achieve two things:
You bring your visitor one step closer to purchasing a product or service.
You create gratitude for your business, for providing your visitor with beneficial information.
In other words, blogging to generate leads not only creates the lead; it also sales-qualifies them.
Blogging to generate leads through email marketing
Great content is half of the puzzle; and to generate as many leads as possible with your blog marketing, you need to publish consistently and regularly. By tackling the latest industry issues, and periodically releasing new and beneficial information, you create an incentive for your visitors to regularly return to your business website. This allows you to create a blog subscription call-to-action, and build an opt-in email mailing list.
Opt-in email is a tried-and-tested lead generation technique. It allows you to communicate and engage directly with your blog readers; building trust and appreciation of your business, and encouraging visitors to become leads, and eventually customers. By sending out a monthly blog summary, you ensure that your lead is regularly benefiting from your great blog content, and as a result, they’re more likely to respond to your promotions and special offers. Best of all, you can keep track of your leads through email open rates, and continue the process of lead-nurturing with further, targeted emails.
QUESTION: Do you regularly use keywords, social media and mailing lists alongside your blog? Have you used blogging to generate leads for your business? Let me know in the comments!
Networking is a crucial skill every entrepreneur should develop that can help you grow your business. But, many small business owners avoid networking thinking it requires schmoozing and slick selling. Successful networking is actually the opposite.
Here is what I have found to be the top three business networking mistakes. And, don’t feel bad if you’ve made any of these mistakes. Many of us have once made these same mistakes too. Let’s just focus on which one might be hurting your business and get to work on fixing them to start seeing positive results from your business networking.
Networking Mistakes #1. Using your 30 second commercial to recite a long list of all your services.
I’ve watched people’s eyes glaze over many times as they try to process the long list of services the business owner is rattling off. Here are a couple examples:
BEFORE Example 1:
“I am the owner of ABC Natural Healing Center. We offer: acupuncture, chiropractic care, Myofascial release, NAET, Neuro Emotional Technique, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, Reiki and yoga classes. Come in for an appointment at our offices in Anytown.”
Yikes! Most people probably don’t even know what half those things are!
How about this example:
BEFORE Example 2:
“I am a business coach. I offer personal one on one phone coaching, group coaching, training courses, mastermind programs, marketing consulting and speaking engagements. I also have a free newsletter and I offer free webinars and business coaching discovery consultations.”
“I am the owner of ABC Natural Healing Center. We help kids and adults recover quickly from sports injuries, back pain, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and many other chronic symptoms without using pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.”
My Own AFTER Example 2:
“I am a business growth expert. I help solo entrepreneurs and small business owners recover quickly from sales slumps, scattered focus and overwhelm. I can help you create and hit the right business goals in 90 days or less.”
Networking Mistakes #2. Focusing on converting customers at networking events.
If you evaluate whether a particular networking event was a good or bad use of your time based on whether you made a sale or picked up an immediate referral you are probably focused on the wrong goal. Objectives for networking events are different than for trade shows.
First, understand It’s not your fault.
It’s only natural as a business owner to want to see immediate results from your networking efforts. After all, much of your success was due to your unbridled commitment to being results focused.
You invested several hours to attend the networking event, so of course you feel as if you should get something from your time.
Why is this a networking mistake? … Because that’s not how people buy.
Solution: Focus on making new friends not just new clients.
Since you are networking to grow your business, it might feel contrarian to NOT focus on getting new clients out of it. But, if you’re trying too hard it shows. People can feel when someone is looking at them as just their next sale.
In order for networking to be successful, you do need to connect with people. Be genuine and sincere in making new friends. That’s not to say you should be passive and avoid talking about your business at all. But, first, focus on just being yourself, and not just you the “company” or you the “sales person”.
Years ago I attended an evening networking event for coaches. I was taken aback by a woman who sharply interrupted a conversation I was having with another attendee. Without any announcement or waiting for a pause for permission she shoved a flyer in our hands and told us to sign up for her certification training today because the $2,000 price expires tomorrow.
Here are key reasons why this tactic doesn’t work:
Her sale offer was to spend $2,000 today, but $2,000 is not an impulse buy price point.
The problem wasn’t so much that she handed me a flyer. The problem was how clear she made it she was on a mission to leave with lots of sales.
There were about 80 people at the event. Instead of leaving with 1 or 2 sales, she could have easily left with 50 to 70 new subscribers, especially because this was such a targeted group of people. Over time, she could convert 25 to 45 new customers which is far more valuable to her business than the immediate 1 or 2 sales.
This is a much easier networking strategy, but it does require having a list building system.
Networking Mistakes #3. Not having a list building system.
What is a list?
This is an email list of people who are potential customers and clients who are subscribed to be on your email list.
You can not simply take the email addresses off of business cards or directories of people you met and put them on your list. That is actually against the CANSPAM laws.
Why have an email list?
You may have heard the expression, the “fortune is in the follow up.”
The problem is it’s really hard to keep up with the follow up when you’re taking the manual approach of sending one email at a time. A list building system makes follow up a cinch.
What is a list building system?
It starts with having an irresistible, free lead magnet.
A lead magnet is a free offer people receive instantly when they opt in with their email address.
You let subscribers know they will also receive more tips from you through email.
You stay top of mind and convert more clients over time when you follow up with valuable tips you deliver through your email system.
Remember, 10 new subscribers is worth far more to your business than 1 new sale.
SOLUTION: Shift your focus from getting more sales to getting a more subscribers.
It takes time to build trust and confidence. When you have a subscriber list you can scale building a relationship with your group of prospects.
Networking is one of multiple marketing tactics you need to have included in your marketing plan today. Be sure to grab my free printable MARKETING CHECKLIST to develop your winning marketing plan today.
QUESTION: Share your comments. What is getting in your way of creating a list building system for your business and networking?
Strategies for Building High Performing Sales Teams – Luminary Interview with Yoon Cannon
Sales teams are at the heart of growing your business at every stage from startup to main street to middle market. How do you create the right sales systems? Find top sales talent? Clone yourself?
Steve Dailey from Entrepreneur Excellence interviews Business Growth Expert, Yoon Cannon where we discuss actionable strategies for growing your sales teams, cloning yourself as the CEO, strategic planning and more.
Here’s an overview of the sales team questions Steve asks Yoon Cannon. Scroll below to watch the video of the full interview.
Question 1 02:58
You know I’d like to invite you to share with us some of the common frustrations that you see small business owners bumping into when it comes time to duplicate themselves through other people as the sales engine.
Question 2 07:12
So how do you begin to formulate a selling system that can be translated or taught to somebody else?
What are the important components of that?
Question 3 11:35
So you mentioned Sandler there and and you know we can go out into the, you know onto the internet or into a, you know, on Amazon or into a bookstore and and get just fire host with all kinds of sales, books, techniques, you know, tactics and strategies and all this kind of stuff. Where does that stuff fit in to creating a winning hand off to a new sales team?
Do you do that stuff? Do you adopt it? Do you introduce it?
What’s your feeling about that?
Question 4 15:36
Would you say that bringing in new people to enhance, accelerate, expand our sales efforts, is that, is that a good time to introduce new ideas that we might have been thinking of or is it better to, to just bring people in to what we’ve done and, and what we know is good business and then build the new things in as we go, when is the best time to think about that?
Question 5 25:55
So I know that you’ve got all kinds of formulas and check sheets and things that people might find useful. Tell us how to get more information about how to figure out this sales puzzle and duplicate ourselves in the marketplace
Do You Need Help Growing Your Sales Team?
Whether you’re interviewing for a VP of Sales, a Fractional Chief Sales Officer, a Sales Growth Advisor or you’d just need clarity what the best next steps look like for you to take your company to the next level …
I invite you to book a complimentary discovery call with me here:
6 Powerful Leadership Principles to Bring Out the Best in Your People
As a business growth coach I am often asked the question, “What’s your advice on achieving fast business growth?”
My one line response, “Never try to do it alone.”
Whether you are the CEO or a key manager, the quickest road to fast business growth is through having a team of committed people. Strong development is what will allow you to laser focus on your core areas of competencies and not fall into the trap of wearing too many hats, which will only slow you down. (more…)