Image Courtesy: kookkai-nah
Startup team- When to build
biggest challenge will be building a great team.-- John Doerr
Startup businesses have to be lean in the beginning.
A start- up having 2-3 promoters and who take up different roles in running the business or the sole proprietor who can manage the business with the support of family members can afford to hire employees a later stage. The employees need to be hired right from the beginning in some start-ups like manufacturing or a franchises.
Startup entrepreneur has to devote time to build network, acquire customers, manage money etc. The entrepreneur also needs to spend time in shaping the organization by focussing on strategic issues to meet medium /long term goals.
In any business, there are routine jobs, which are also important like follow up of material supplies, paying utility bills, follow up of customer payments, attending customer calls etc. The entrepreneur should avoid spending time on these activities once the business has acquired reasonable number of customers. Building team has to start at this stage.
Before getting the first
employee on board startup should know
how to manage employee expectations while balancing the organizations’ requirement .
i. Walk the talk
ii. Willing to delegate
iii. Set Goals / Expectations
iv. Be a part of the team
v. Coach the new hires
vi. Reward & Recognition
vii. Multi Task
viii. Celebrate Success with the team
better to hire experienced staff, on part- time basis than entrust the job full
time to a raw recruit. This way the entrepreneur need not waste time in training on follow-ups or worry whether things will be handled right in
i) Outsourcing delivery and book keeping etc
ii) Hire temps or on contract
iii) Full time employees
i. Entrepreneurs’ own Network
ii. Head Hunters for small businesses
iii. Colleges & Universities
i. Passionate Individuals
ii. Willing to multitask
iii. Need Salary for survival
iv. Not looking for a 9-5 job
Develop a selection process matrix giving with higher score for a critical.skill
A written test to assess technical skills required for the job.
Startup with partners can conduct individual interviews and share notes on assessment.
Do not look for an exact clone of you. You will never get a perfect fit.
Interview alone may not be the best option. Hire employees on a three-month contract basis. This will enable the entrepreneur to assess whether they fit in with the culture of the organization.
If the startup team is young and employees are in their twenties , then it will be advisable to have one middle aged person (40+) in an administrative role who may bring in stability to the team.
Building a team is a continuous process. It does not end when someone is hired. This means having strategies in place for training, promotion, and career development which serve as incentives.
Sweat equity / stock options will help in retaining talented employees. Communicating and interacting as often as possible with employees is crucial and the time invested in this will pay rich dividend.
Startup entrepreneurs have a dream and they are the ones who will be sowing the seeds of work culture.
The more people we have on our team, the less room there is in the elevator and the more complicated everything gets. -- David Karp- Founder-Tumblr
Ian , an entrepreneur, was aware that he could not compete with large players in acquiring skilled workers.
He himself was not an engineer. Therefore, he worked in the shop floor of a friend’s fabrication shop and learnt the ropes before he started his business. He hired only unskilled workers who were earlier farm laborers without a steady income. Most of them had completed only primary education. He trained them and paid salary on par with large industries.
Even after two decades those employees still work with him.