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.
Did you know that nearly 60% of companies are outsourcing tasks to cut costs? Many small companies are falling behind.
They don’t have the ability to afford in-house specialists to keep up. This is due to fast pace technology making business more competitive. Outsourcing is the main key you might be missing for your company to thrive.
Today, IT and other professionals are very expensive to hire. Leaving small businesses in the dust if they can’t afford them.
The benefits of outsourcing are countless. You can outsource mundane tasks so your in-house team can focus on essential assignments that require time and effort. Outsourcing offers both big and small companies significant money-saving opportunities and the ability to stay ahead of the game.
Three Types of Outsourcing
There are three main types of outsourcing. There are many types of jobs and ways to outsource. The key is to find what is best for your company and your needs.
This is the most common type of outsourcing. Many small companies cannot afford to outsource expensive specialists. This includes specialists in accounting, administrative, and legal work.
In most cases, you don’t need an in-house full-time professional to do these jobs. You can outsource work to a company or professional when necessary.
Outsourcing IT Experts
Not only are in-house IT experts costly, but they aren’t necessary all the time. The majority of the work they do can be done from anywhere.
Why not hire remotely a professional that has the expertise in the latest technologies.
From app development, system administration, and software design to maintaining your website. You can find less expensive IT experts around the globe that are a fraction of the price of hiring locally.
Outsourcing Copywriters and Marketers
When it comes to marketing, many small businesses turn to their in-house employees. Creating text and design for pamphlets, websites, social media, and blogs.
There is a lot more that goes into creating a quality marketing campaign than just writing text.
Today, with proper content, a company can go far. Outsourcing professionals in the field can help boost their image and put them in the limelight
Outsourcing Benefits and Risks
Did you know that 47% of companies choose to outsource work to reduce capacity issues? Paying for office space costs a lot more than hiring a freelance professional.
Benefits of Outsourcing
1. More specialized talent. – As a small company, it’s not always possible to hire professional talent. They tend to be costly to hire in-house. With outsourcing, you have access to professionals around the globe at a lower cost, depending on your specific needs.
2.Save Money. – A company may spend $1,252 per new employee training alone. This doesn’t include additional costs of office space and expenses such as sick pay, pension, and others. Also, you have more access to professionals with more experience and knowledge that cost less on average.
3.More transfer of knowledge. – A strong team made of experienced experts can cover everything across the board to keep your company up to date.
4.Higher performance. – Most outsourced professionals work per-project basis. Focusing only on the task at hand without distractions that an in-house employee may have. As a result, they deliver work faster and of a much higher quality.
5.Reduce expenditures on new technology. – Technology is always changing. The moment a company finally has the funds to invest, new technology is on the rise. By hiring experts already using the latest technology, the company doesn’t have to train in-house employees to implement it.
6.Improve in-house productivity. – Allow your employees to focus on the crucial tasks. Keep your business moving forward by outsourcing mundane tasks such as data entry.
Drawbacks of Outsourcing
As with everything else, there are always drawbacks. If you pay close attention, do your research whom you outsource to, and always read the fine print, you should be fine.
1.Loss of control. – If you assign work to an outsourcing company or freelancer, be aware. Without controlling the results, you may find yourself worse off than before. Outsourcing requires a bit of organization and work on your side to maintain quality and move forward.
2.Hidden costs. – If you choose to outsource work to a company, be diligent about what you are signing up for. There is often a small print that may incur more costs than hiring in-house. Always review the contracts carefully. Make sure you are aware of what you are paying for and which added costs might come up.
3.Security risk. – If what you plan to outsource requires sharing personal customer or employee data, it could pose a risk. Always consider what type of work you plan on outsourcing and hire trusted companies and freelancers.
4.Time difference. – Many outsourcing companies and freelancers may be working in a different time zone. This might make it challenging to sync with your schedules. However, with good time management, there are always ways around it.
5. Language barriers. – Remember that many outsourcing companies and freelancers are not native English speakers. This could pose a problem with the language barrier. However, if you do your research well, you can find fantastic professionals with perfect English.
6.Moral dilemmas. – One of the moral dilemmas may be denying someone from your team an opportunity to grow by outsourcing work. The possibility of stumping the growth of your community by not working with a local talent agency. Another issue is that some consumers frown upon outsourcing.
In essence, the benefits of outsourcing for small businesses outweigh the drawbacks. This is because you need to keep up with the big guys if you wish to grow as a company. The best way is by having experts on your team that many small businesses can only afford in-house.
A small business requires a dream team to advance and keep up. Outsource as much as possible by finding companies, or freelancers on sites like PeopleByTheHour and UpWork. Even small businesses could build a dream team,save money, and keep up with the latest changes in technology.
Which tasks you feel could be outsourced in your company?
Question: Would you outsource to give your in-house team more time to focus on important tasks? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Hristina Nikolovska is the appointed Community Manager at WhatToBecome. Using her extensive background in digital marketing, as well as her social media and public relations experience, Hristina’s passion is helping others stay organized through clear communication and pushing for the realization of projects of every sort.
You need a quality business dream team behind you if you want to find success in this day and age. There’s no such thing as a one-man show. If your team of small business employees isn’t doing what you want to them to do, it’s easy to get frustrated. Small business is big business. Small businesses with less than 100 workers account for over 98% of all small businesses, and that means your team matters more than ever.
When your team doesn’t do what you want, you don’t have a team problem. As much as it hurts to admit, you likely have a leadership problem. Before you blame yourself, take some time to reassess the situation. Learning how to be a great leader is all part of mastering how to start a business. All hope is not lost. There are many things you can do to get your small business team back on track for success.
1. Hire the Right Employees
If you’re noticing a trend in dissatisfaction amongst your current employees, you might not be hiring the right people to begin with. It’s worth being choosy with your team members in this era. When you hire the wrong people for the job, they don’t enjoy the work they do, and you won’t be impressed with their results.
Remember that the most experienced employee might not be the best fit. You’ll need to weigh things like company culture, expectations, and experience level when making a decision about who to hire. In addition, make sure you’re presenting your company and the role accurately. The internet job platforms are full of poorly described positions which will only lead to more confusion.
2. Improve Employee Happiness
How are your employees responding to their daily work environment? Is it full of stress, confusion, and dissatisfaction? If so, you need to reevaluate employee happiness. While nobody should expect to have a fun, exciting day at work (at least, not all of the time), that doesn’t mean it can’t be a satisfying, stress-free place to be.
There are new ways to improve employee happiness that don’t cost you a thing. The first is simply delegating work effectively. When employees feel they’re reasonably able to handle their daily tasks, they perform better. We’ve all dealt with the stress of not being able to meet deadlines and requirements.
Finally, one reason your business dream team might not be doing what you want them to do is because they’re spending too much time on inefficient tasks. So many of our workplace practices today can be automated thanks to new technology. Yet, so many small businesses, in particular, are still holding onto the older ways of doing things. The older way tends to take longer, be inefficient, and wastes valuable time.
Chances are your employees likely know more about these inefficient tasks than you, and they should be your first line of defense for solving these problems. The employees time is valuable. How much of it is going to waste doing things that could be automated or skipped altogether?
Conduct regular team meetings to discover if there are any areas you could invest in automation, artificial intelligence, or modern solutions. The cost of implementing these programs likely will be more than worth it in the long run.
Your business needs strong leadership that pays attention to your employee’s mindset and feelings. These tips above help you put your small business dream team first so you can get more done together. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-do stress of being a small business leader, so taking the time to notice where your employees need support is key.
Even just taking the initial steps to bridge these gaps in communication will go a long way to repairing employee morale. Your employees want to do their best. Make sure they’re in a position for finding the most success.
QUESTION: What is 1 key aha you’ve had from thinking through these 4 tips? Share your comments and questions below.
Summer is a great time to take off to explore new destinations, experience new adventures or just enjoy lazy afternoons poolside.
But, I meet business owners all the time who are either too buried in the business to get away at all or they take their work with them on vacation — which doesn’t feel like a real vacation. Growing a successful business does not mean you have to be a workaholic. You can easily work less, so you can play more this summer … all while still growing your business.
This freedom is possible when you learn how to outsource and/or hire effectively. If you have a higher level salaried position that you are struggling to fill, let me say you should first check out some staffing agencies who can provide you with an abundant supply of potential candidates.
But for those times when you’re just trying to fill an hourly job or an entry-level position, here are 9 tips to help you find your next great hire and build more freedom into your business:
Hiring Tip #1: Hire part time freelancers.
I find the biggest obstacle for many small business owners when it comes to hiring is often the fear of taking on a full time employee. If you’re just getting started, start small. You can work with someone virtually either on a one time project basis and/or just 5-10 hours a week.
Hiring Tip # 2. Post an ad in your local Craigslist.
If you prefer hiring local workers Craigslist is a cheap and effective way to get the word out online for people who are looking for work locally. Not only do you want to post the ad on Craigslist, you want to take a look at how you’re wording the ad.
Hiring Tip #3. Place an ad in your local print newspaper in the classified section.
If you’re in a hurry to find the right employee consider implementing a multiple prong approach to get the word out both online and offline. You can also post an ad in your industry newspaper or magazine in the classified section. That way your opening is being seen by a niche audience of other professionals who are already in the industry.
Hiring Tip #4. Establish a finder’s fee program.
You can write up a simple handwritten poster to explain your finder’s fee program. Offer a bonus. For example, $50 will be paid to the person who refers an applicant you end up hiring.
I would wait 30 days before you pay their finder’s fee to make sure the person is going to work out for you and doesn’t quit after the first two weeks.
You can also make it even better by making it a $100 finder’s fee with the stipulation that they would be paid $50 after the employee’s first 30 days and then they would be paid another $50 on that person’s six-month anniversary of working with you. That way you’re helping and motivating others to send you candidates who are likely to be more long-term for you.
A simple way to put this information out there is by putting it on a poster where they can tear off the phone number. That would be the guerrilla marketing approach. You can also transfer that same information and have it printed on a postcard, so when you meet people who would have a possible candidate in mind or perhaps even be that potential candidate, you can hand them a postcard that explains the opening and the finder’s fee offer.
Hiring Tip # 5. Promote the Finder’s Fee program at your place of business.
If you have a brick-and-mortar business for customers where they are coming into your building, you can promote the opening to your customers. Have signage where they can see that you are offering a finder’s fee program for your opening.
For example, you can offer your customers $50 in free services as a finder’s fee after 30 days, and $100 or $50 after the first six months. Let your customers, who love you already, help you fill the position that you need.
Hiring Tip # 6. Poster locally.
You can do a simple marketing approach and create posters – the kind with phone numbers you can tear off at the bottom that promote your help-wanted position along with the finder’s fee offer.
You might as well kill two birds with one stone and create a second poster that really describes your business. This one would be addressed to appeal to your customers. Keep a bunch of copies in your car and as you go throughout your day, you can post them at some key places where there’s a lot of traffic. Write down what those key places are so it will help trigger the reminder for you when you are in the car.
Grab an index card and write things like grocery stores, health clubs, coffee shops, churches, YMCA bulletin boards, community college bulletin boards, etc. Of course, your target list of locations will depend on the type of opening that you have and where it makes the most sense where those Ideal applicants may be hanging out.
If you want to boost this passive approach, you can either hire some high school students to go and blanket your town with these posters, or even utilize non-paid high school or college interns to do things like this for you.
Hiring Tip #7. Post your opening as an update in your LinkedIn feed.
Let your connections know that you have an opening and let them know about your finder’s fee program. You can even post the same update several times a week to have that message to catch different people who log on at different times of day.
Another thing you can do, is utilize the specific targeted LinkedIn groups. It doesn’t cost anything when you post in the groups under the job discussions tab. If you wanted to boost visibility, yes, you can pay to purchase under the LinkedIn recruiting program.
Hiring Tip #8. Look for local job boards online.
You can do a search using a variation of keywords like the name of your city, help wanted, and job openings. You can also search the exact position that you offer and see where competitors have posted their ads.
There are many Facebook groups, as well, that may have targeted communities of business owners in your local area. Share your post or your announcement about your finder’s fee program to other business owners who would likely also have past and current applicants that they have in their files.
Hiring Tip #9. Direct recruiting.
You may have a hard time filling a position, particularly if it requires a degree of industry specific experience. In this case, you can go out and meet those types of people directly as a customer.
You can do direct recruiting right in LinkedIn by searching for variations of the job title you are looking to fill. LinkedIn is a great way for you to view people’s resumes for free. You can short list your top picks and then reach out to the ones you’re most interested in to invite them to apply for your position. This is a great practice because statistics have shown that often the best hires are the people who were not actively looking for work, but were recruited.
Utilize these nine steps listed above, you will be well on your way to not only filling your position quickly, but finding a candidate that is a good fit for you and your business. It is possible to easily work less, play more and earn more through your business.
Outsourcing your tasks and hiring other people is your pathway to building a thriving freedom business you love.
QUESTION: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to finding and hiring great help?