How to Successfully Build a Team

You’ve done a lot of work over the past couple weeks and deserve a lot of credit! You’ve found a problem to solve, established a market, and identified your competition. And if you haven’t, no problem! Click the links above to learn how to do so. But so far we’ve just focused on you and your idea. Very rarely, however, does a founder operate under a silo when executing on their idea. Today we’re going to give a few tips on how to successfully build a team.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

African Proverb

1) Avoid Building a Team of Family & Friends

This seems counterintuitive, but in my experience, it is the ideal path for successfully building a team. The business world is complicated and often times ruthless. It can bring out the absolute best in human ingenuity, but also underscore the worst tendencies of human nature. You have to be prepared for relationships to fundamentally change for better or for worst when operationalizing your idea. While in the trenches, you may become extremely frustrated, lash out, or even have to fire people in order to bring your product/service to market. Further, family and friends are foundational elements for a well-lived life.  So, stick with Happy Fourth of July barbecues and keep family and friends on the sidelines for your new endeavor.

2) Build a Team of Experts

When recruiting team members, make sure they have mastered their craft to maximize the potential of your idea. Don’t be cheapskate, quality work is important. It’s important to ask prospective hires questions about their previous work experiences to see how their skills fit in with your overall framework. Choose the best to beat the rest.

3) Hire Your Weaknesses

To successfully build a team, you must take a survey of your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have any special gifts or talents? Are you an expert or licensed professional? By leveraging your strengths, you can save money and time building your concept. Perhaps you are a gifted salesperson but fail miserably when it comes to coding. That’s okay. None of us are perfect, so invite people on board that compliment your skills.

4) Everyone Must Love the Idea

Read that that ten times over. Startups are grueling and resources are scarce. Therefore, you have to find people that champion the mission when times get tough. Founding teams will often work for free for months to years on end before revenue or investment capital comes into the company. Therefore, you should pick people that are absolutely devoted to bringing your idea to life.

5) Build a Culture

Businesses aren’t just numbers and deadlines. Interact with your team, create social events, and build a culture around the idea. Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, often refers to himself as the “Mayor of the Airbnb Community”. By emphasizing community, Brian defines the culture around the brand that in turn propels the business forward. Your mission is their mission, so ingrain a culture of success right from the start.

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