A vision inspires you to establish a startup, and one paper shows that the support of the right team is what makes that vision into reality. So, two heads do think better than one, while five heads most likely think better than two — and better thinking saves time, that most precious resource for all startups. But, to make this work for you, you have to make sure you have the "right" heads close at hand.
So, when hiring your team, be clear on who you’re looking for, and what you’re looking for in a candidate - here are the main points to consider:
So, the first thing you need to work out is a controversial question — when looking for the candidate with the best hard skills, who should you choose? A formally educated candidate with no hands-on experience? Or an experienced candidate who lacks a formal education?
Yes, in an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to choose. Instead, you’d stumble upon passionate, formally educated candidates with rich experience every step of the way. But, these exceptional professionals are usually hard to find (and expensive for new startups with a limited budget). So, what do you do when you have to choose between education and experience?
In my experience, education is a desirable element when choosing the right candidate — but it’s not crucial.
For example, to be an efficient programmer, you don’t need a degree — someone who loves programming and testing out various programming tools gains the necessary experience spontaneously. And, in the end, experience helps build knowledge the best.
For that reason, give an advantage to passionate candidates who managed to build their expertise through practical experience — and pay less attention to the number of fancy degrees they own.
So, we’ve concluded that experience builds hard skills the best, but when assembling a team, you’ll also want to consider their soft skills.
People tend to view soft skills as less important, but they’re more than just filler words in a resume. Each serves as a building block meant to help improve teamwork and bring your startup closer to your goals:
Perhaps it would be too much to expect all these qualities from one person - but that’s part of the reason why you build a team, instead of hiring only one person.
Yes, dependability, flexibility, and cooperativeness are the essentials for everyone. But you’ll only need one or two problem solvers, creative prodigies, and born leaders. In the end, you should let your team members complement each other’s qualities.
Your team will also need a specific personal — so make sure you equip your startup with the right people from the get-go.
First, you’ll need an engineer. This person will bring your startup’s vision to reality.
Next, you’ll need a product manager. This person will work on your prototypes and analyze your product’s progress.
You’ll also need a persistent salesperson. This person will tackle repetitive tasks such as answering the phone up to 50 times a day, and actually selling (or pre-selling your product).
Next, you’ll need a marketer or a growth hacker. This person will use every marketing strategy in the book to help your startup and product gain recognition and grow.
To make sure the team you’ve put together sticks around, you’ll also want to hire an office manager — also known as the organization wiz. This person will handle team building activities, office events, help new employees manage their way around the office, order supplies, and perform other administrative activities.
Finally, you’ll need a skilled financial team. These people will help you legally protect your idea, ensure your company is viable, and provide the initial cash meant to help put everything into motion.
These are just the essentials - you’ll hire more people and expand your departments when your startup gains traction.
Once you establish your team, you’ll also have to make the extra mile and offer them some guidance. So, on your part, you’ll have to delegate tasks, outline expectations for those tasks, define milestones, and often check-up on your team member’s progress, preferably on a time card calculator. In the end, your guidance and the expertise of your carefully chosen personnel may not guarantee your startup will succeed — but it’s the perfect way to start.