Building a team as an entrepreneur - Blossom Accelerator

Building a team as an entrepreneur

Written by Jwana

December 30, 2019

As an entrepreneur, the popular thought of “being your own boss” must have excited you at some point. This is often a key attraction to enter entrepreneurship for those who are tired of negative work environments or corporate cultures. However, as your startup grows, you have to be more than only your own boss. You finally have the opportunity to build the work culture and team that you’ve always dreamt of working with!

 

Yay, your company is growing! However, hiring the dream team is no mean feat. More than anything else, your team will contribute directly to the success of your startup. Here are some pointers on how to build your team. 

 

Ensure it’s the right time

The first step is to evaluate that you truly need to grow your team at this point. Read our blog post to ensure this is the right time to hire. 

 

Hire slowly and carefully

It’s a great feeling when your customer base starts to grow and demand for your offering increases. There is bound to be a dramatic shift in how you spend your day, and you will inevitably end up feeling stretched. This could lead to a sense of pressure or a great sense of urgency to appoint a big team. However, hiring both well and at scale is not a reality. Rather hire slowly and carefully, ensuring every new team member will build rather than dilute your mission, vision and culture. Keep in mind that once candidates become employees and have quit other jobs or foregone opportunities to work with you, it’s hard to let them go. 

 

Present it as an opportunity

The right people are out there, and they are seeking exciting opportunities. At the early startup stage, you would ideally like to hire people who are capable of starting their own businesses should they want to. As applies to all relationships, don’t seem desperate! The best people need to choose to join your team just as much as you need to choose them. Present your vision and business as an opportunity that is a privilege to be a part of. 

 

Set realistic expectations

While presenting the opportunity, it is important to set realistic expectations. Sugarcoating the reality might lead to the attraction of less suitable candidates. Be candid yet professional. While the candidate doesn’t need to know all the quirks of your startup’s culture, you are ideally looking for someone who is excited by the reality of hard work, fluid job descriptions, uncertainty and an environment that demands agility, with the promise of potentially highly rewarding outcomes and great growth. 

 

Don’t compromise on quality

You are perhaps bootstrapping your startup or need to be budget conscious,and it takes time to recruit the right people. Yet, you should not consider compromising on quality of the people you hire. Take it from those that have gone down this road, and regretted it (which is a lot of entrepreneurs! Oh, the horror stories). People are infectious – both the good and bad ones. If you want a quality business, you need to hire all-round quality people. 

 

Be generous

The best people have access to great opportunities. You won’t attract the best by offering the least. Understand that investing in this person is a direct investment in the future of your business. Be generous not only with equity and salary, but also with trust, responsibility and learning opportunities. 

 

Value aptitude over experience

This applies to most roles. At the startup phase of your business, find people who have a proven record of getting things done, are able to think on their feet, and invest in developing their skills. While experience is valuable, it could also have a downside as it might bring certain expectations and set ways. Dependent on the role, find ways to test the availability of aptitudes that are necessary. 

 

Get great at recruiting

At least one founder should spend time to get great at recruiting. Don’t leave it to others, in the long run it is worth the short-term time investment per recruitment drive. The best CEOs know the importance of being personally skilled recruiters. No one understands your vision as well as you do, so it makes sense that you be the one to explain it to the candidates while screening them. 

 

Learn the labor laws

Get familiar with the labor laws of the country you are operating in. Do research on the contractual requirements, benefits you legally have to provide, probation periods and other nuances to ensure this fits into your long term plan and budget. If possible, consult a labour consultant that specializes in startups or small businesses. 

 

Retain your team

After investing resources into recruiting the dream team, it is essential to retain them. Strive to be the best manager you could possibly be, and ensure there are high levels of ownership and feelings of belonging among the team members. Set clear reciprocal expectations for each team member and check in regularly to ensure that it’s still a positive choice for everyone to come to work daily. 

 

Clearly, now is the time for careful consideration and calculated decision-making. Similar to product-market fit, employee-startup fit is a real make or break! Applying these tips will definitely have a positive impact on how you build your team. Try it out and share your feedback in the comment section below.

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