While many entrepreneurs are focused on the wonderful, unique idea they have and how successful their product or service will be, there are other key components to being successful as a startup. The team that you put together can make or break a startup, so this is an area that you should focus a lot of attention on and get advice from your business lawyer on how to go about this process. The following are some of the criteria you should look for in building the team for your new business:
You should hire people that have experience in all the core areas of your business. Your goal should be to hire people as smart or smarter than you are. Don’t let your ego get in the way! If someone is smarter than you, think how great that is for your business! Hire people that have experience in areas where you lack experience. This will “fill out” your team and help ensure a good start. If a candidate for your team has been a high level member of the team of another successful venture, this is a definite plus for that candidate.
A person’s resume is one thing, but personal knowledge of the candidate’s credentials and experience by you or another member of your team is a better way of assessing whether the candidate will be able to perform at the level expected. Personal knowledge of the candidate will also help you determine whether they will fit in with the culture of the start-up, as well as the other team members. You should also consider the school they went to, their undergraduate major and any honors received. Post graduate schooling is another very important thing to consider.
Since most startups have limited funds in the early stage, they often need employees who are willing to work for a lower salary until the business takes off. Many startups will use stock options as a way to entice great candidates to come on board. The candidates are smart enough to assess the likelihood of success of the business, so the promise of stock options that could be very valuable in the future could entice those great candidates the startup wants to take an initial lower salary.
To ensure your company is hiring the best candidate they can, they should start with a detailed job description. The job description should prioritize the criteria that are necessary for each position. The description should be used to rate every candidate that a startup evaluates. It also goes without saying that you should check references on any candidate being considered for a position. Don’t delegate this job. Do it yourself, so you can hear what the person has to say, determine the tone of their voice and “read between the lines.”
You have focused on hiring smart candidates who best fit the criteria of the job description for their position. Your team is invested in the success of your business. They are smart people who can provide you with invaluable feedback on your product or service. Don’t forget this crucial step. Solicit the opinion of your team on your product or service and ways it might be improved.
These tips for startups are also very useful for established companies in ensuring their success. Your business lawyer should have a lot of experience in this area and can guide you on picking an “A” list team.