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How to Build the Right Team for your Startup

How to Build the Right Team for your Startup

As a new company your team matters- more than you might think. In a new venture, building a team should be a priority.

Team building is critical for several reasons. However, there are two that stand out. The first is scalability, meaning that until you build a solid team you will be forced to wear all of the hats. While this is something that almost all entrepreneurs do at some point, it’s not sustainable. At a certain point of juggling tasks yourself, the more you do the less efficient you become which is no way to build a business.

The second reason that you shouldn’t put off building a team for your startup is that your first team sets the example for everyone who comes afterward. If your initial team consists of serious go-getters, then your company will continue to attract ambitious people. On the other hand, when you go it alone you can be like a directionless leaf blowing in the wind, not knowing what to expect. If an ambitious team leads to more ambitious people coming onboard, what type of folks will an unsettled team be able to recruit?

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Building a successful startup is all about having the right team that can take on opportunities when they arise. If you can manage to get your team right, you have already won half the battle. As an entrepreneur these are lessons that I’ve had to learn the hard way, but you don’t have to repeat my mistakes. Here are several crucial factors and proven strategies for building a team.

Your Company Is Only as Good as your Team.

Always remember this when hiring new members of your team. They are not just individuals working in your business. They are the business. Seek individuals from diverse backgrounds so that you are well-equipped to successfully handle every aspect of business without having to look anywhere else.

Here are tips for choosing the right team members for your startup:

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  • Be frank about your goals and expectations from the business.
  • Offer them equity with a lock-in period apart from salary.
  • Get your initial funding right to stay afloat for a few quarters.
  • Do not hesitate to choose people who have failed earlier.
  • Always lead from the front to set an example to your team.
  • Have fun with your team once in a while.
  • Be ready to let go of ideas that do not work.

Be Honest with your Team.

Building a team is not just about hiring few people to work in your company. You should look for a common connection when staffing your startup to strike the right chord within your organization.

Never hide anything from your team. Be open with them. Even if you are not sure about certain aspects of your business, make sure to convey the message to your team; this will ensure that they can trust you completely if they agree with your vision. If they’re unsure about your goals, it is better that they back out in the initial stages rather than making an exit in one of the later stages. Be clear about what you expect from them and from the business in future.

Offer Equity with Salary.

This is the standard practice offered by many successful companies all over the world. Do not hesitate to offer some equity to your initial core team. It will motivate them to put in those extra hours that are so critical to the success of any startup. However, make sure that the equity comes with a lock-in period so that you don’t lose out should teammates leave in the early stages. Keep salaries as low as possible in the starting period as it will help you manage without external funding.

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Get your Funding Right.

Whether you plan to build a product-oriented or service-oriented company, you need resources for marketing and development. Any venture capital company prefers to have a team that can run on its own- that doesn’t have to over-rely on external resources. You must always ensure that you have enough funds to run the business for a few quarters without any hiccups. Even though external financing may come at a later stage, you should not depend on it in the initial stages of your startup. There are chances that it can be delayed due to many reasons and this should not affect your team in any way. Make sure you have enough money to pay bills and salaries on time.

Don’t Fear Failure.

Are you afraid of hiring people who have failed before? You should be happy to hire such people because running a startup is like walking on thorns, and such people will have valuable experience to handle failure. They do not immediately lose motivation, and this will be a big advantage when you are faced with some challenge.

Lead your Team.

You must always lead from the front and set a good example for your team members. If there is something that you do not want to do yourself and you tell someone else to do it, it will not be taken positively. Lead your team in every aspect. If you experience setbacks, be ready to take responsibility and motivate your team to get back to work and accomplish the tasks at hand.

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Don’t Forget to Have Fun.

While running a startup comes with its own responsibilities, it should not stop you from having fun with your team. Do not let the burden of work overshadow hobbies and other activities. Also, motivate your team to enjoy their personal lives. It will help you to have employees with a relaxed frame of mind.

Few things are as crucial to an entrepreneur’s success as building the right team. There are many rewards for bringing the right people into your organization. Chief among them is creating a culture around which you can build the business, while creating a system that allows the business to run properly even without your direct input.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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