Choosing inappropriate partners can predictably result in downfall, maybe sooner rather than later.

This reality frequently slips under the radar for several entrepreneurs as they are immersed in their product or market, only to grasp the gravity of the situation when it’s too late and they’ve drained their funds.

Therefore, pinpointing the right business partners takes prime importance – a lone entrepreneur lacks the capacity to scale a business as it’s impossible for one person to possess all the required skills needed for a company to function efficiently.

The challenge of picking the appropriate business partners is potentially the most vital for any entrepreneur. A compatible ally can back you up in difficult times, provide encouragement when your spirits are low, and supplement your skills.

Conflicts among business partners are unavoidable. The essential thing is that you and your partners work towards solutions collectively instead of scapegoating someone.

It’s easy to presume that substantial startup capital is a necessity to construct the right team. However, this is not usually the case. All you need to possess is the ability to spin a compelling tale – like Steve Jobs said: “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come…”.

Why do you need to be good at telling stories?

In the realm of business creation, there’s an imperative need to assume varied roles, one of which may indeed be that of a raconteur. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

At the core of any entrepreneurial venture is a well-phrased vision – A perspective that should be clear and comprehensible to all key players such as clients, employees, financiers, and even the leaders themselves. Typically, this vision springs forth from a dream nursed by the pioneer. Unfortunately, if this dream is only limited to the founder’s thoughts, it gradually fades away in obscurity, failing to reveal its prospective benefits.

This is a common plight faced by several start-up concepts. These innovative thoughts, brimming with freshness and potential, hold the power to transform societies. However, apprehensions of failure, exposure, and denial restrict individuals from turning these concepts into reality or discussing them openly.

In order to shift from ideation to execution, it’s absolutely essential to convince people that supporting your startup idea will have a rewarding outcome.

This is why it’s crucial to be skilled at spinning captivating stories and carving immersive narratives: there’s nothing more influential than a well-crafted tale. A compelling speech, when delivered to the right target audience, can motivate them to immediately join the cause. Even more so when the vision shared harmonizes with their objectives.

Building your team

Building a team of informed and dedicated individuals can substantially improve the likelihood of your startup achieving its goals.

Choosing the right co-founder(s) may initially seem like a random event, but upon thorough analysis, it will reveal itself as anything but incidental. It’s in reality a meticulous process of identifying the perfect person, comprising both aware and unaware steps.

The acquisition of the correct collaborator(s) is not accidental, but relies on a proactive approach. This dictates that particular intentional actions need to be taken:

1. Start by getting your personality right

The initial step requires you to undertake an all-inclusive self-assessment to identify your abilities, highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.

Recognizing areas where you thrive and those where you could improve is essential. This understanding becomes critical when looking for support.

Consider this: An individual highly skilled in technical know-how may have difficulties effectively promoting their idea or articulating it to prospective investors. This type of founder would greatly benefit from partnering with a co-founder who has a marketing or business-oriented mindset, aiding in communicating the mission to the target audience.

Technically skilled individuals, such as engineers, scientists, or researchers, frequently find the task of formulating a viable business strategy daunting. Developing a commendable product is one phase, while its market entry is a completely separate matter.

The ideal startup team would consist of at least two founding members. An optimal founding pair consists of individuals targeting both aspects of the business – the product and the market. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are prime examples of such a successful two-person team.

The puzzle requires more than just hard skills…

…A combination of hard and soft skills is crucial to the functionality of a business, as shown by many triumphant teams.

How you interact with people, your capacity to understand them, your body language, and how you express emotions are crucial factors in the business world. Refining your interpersonal skills, thus, becomes essential. However, it is equally important to remain modest – focus on your strengths, but ensure you employ competent individuals for all other roles.

2. Get team members who are not afraid to take action

The early stages of starting a new business are replete with ambiguity and a host of tasks to undertake, which is inevitable.

Having a team willing to embrace the experimental process and skilled at navigating the outcomes of their creative pursuits is critically important.

This is primarily because it’s simply unrealistic to expect you’ll be able to supervise every activity, and in some instances, learning through a process of trial and error could prove more expedient than adhering to a rigidly structured blueprint.

Moreover, seeking people who proactively take responsibility for their duties is crucial. As a leader, it’s key to view your team as equals, offering gentle guidance as necessary to avoid any potential risks that could derail your projects.

Ultimately, spearheading a motivated and productive team alleviates the strain of dealing with nonessential concerns, allowing you to focus your energy on priority tasks.

3. Build a collective that will stand the test of time

Hurrying individuals into becoming a team without adequate planning can lead to complications.

Instead, plan your team’s constitution with consideration for the overall organizational structure from the very beginning. The rationale behind this is that establishing a steadfast foundation ensures seamless future growth of the business.

Think of it in terms of building a structure for a business plan.

Your founding team acts as the solid groundwork that ensures continued stability, while any major upheaval could potentially jeopardize the entire venture. Hence, the selection of your founding members requires careful attention – premature alterations during the initial years might result in dwindling motivation, which could negatively affect profitability.

A critical aspect of such planning is to outline the various sections or departments you foresee as integral to your business. These might include:

  • Product development and design
  • Marketing and sales 
  • Finance and accounting 
  • Research
  • Human resources

When developing your Minimalist First Edition (MFE), you may find it necessary to assemble a team for support.

During the early days of your venture, efficiently spreading resources across areas like product creation and sales is crucial. The task of selecting division heads that will oversee the growth of these areas falls to you. As your business grows, these managers will be responsible for the enlargement of their specific divisions.

4. Find co-founders who know that the company is there to solve a certain problem – customers’ problem

The aim of each team member should be to prioritize customer fulfilment above all. Sure, the significance of the product is undeniable, but it’s pointless if it’s not designed to cater to the appropriate audience with suitable features. Sophisticated technology is meaningless if it isn’t focused on the consumer, affecting the anticipated revenue in return.

Many fledgling startups operate on thin budgets, implying that each team member might need to contribute to sales in some capacity.

For this reason, everyone on the team should comprehend the foundational aspects of providing excellent customer service:

  • Open Communication
  • Genuine Approach
  • Compassionate Understanding
  • Constant improvement
  • Personalization

To maintain healthy business growth, it’s vital that your startup’s lifeline – customer service – is kept in optimum shape. Without consistent attention to this area, the business could face problems scaling up on schedule, posing a risk to stakeholder promises.

There’s also the looming threat of competitors capitalizing on your market fraction before you can.

5. Make sure that the team gets along with each other

In-fighting among team members can stir up severe problems, especially in the infancy of the venture.

Don’t forget: A heterogeneous group of professionals doesn’t automatically translate into a harmonious team.

To forge a unified group, you need to find individuals whose skills and personalities gel together, birthing an environment where each component enriches the complete picture.

Resolving common conflicts may sometimes fall to you, as you work towards promoting equilibrium and togetherness. If a unified environment seems hard to achieve, consider reconfiguring the present team or restructuring, which may entail switching roles or eliminating certain components.

6. Diversify the team as much as possible

Every team player brings forth a diverse set of abilities different from the rest. Some may have a penchant for organization and structure, while others carry the flame of ingenuity that births groundbreaking ideas.

There are individuals who boast remarkable cognitive prowess, enabling them to crack difficult mathematical challenges without utilizing devices or software. The crux lies in the reality that each team player’s distinctiveness plays an instrumental role in the overall innovation of a startup. Hence, a uniform team is likely to fall short on the creative muscle demonstrated by a team with a wide range of skills where each member’s prowess complements the rest.

The key is to embrace the imperfections of each member rather than condemning them, focusing more on their valuable input towards the team and the organization.

A situation where team players share common shortcomings leads to a lack of performance monitoring, which subsequently results in entangled errors. If not rectified in due time, the outcome can spiral out of control, potentially reaching a point of no return.

7. Make sure that the team shares your vision

The seed of a blossoming startup is a formidable vision.

An important task for a startup founder is to instill and nurture a sense of belief in their vision among their team. A lack of this fundamental belief could have disastrous implications.

Misunderstandings among team members can trigger instability and a drop in team morale.

A lack of clarity about the company’s ultimate objective can lead to a defeated team that might collapse under stress. It’s crucial to understand that such a scenario is catastrophic for a startup.

So, how can you align everyone with your viewpoint?

Before stepping onto the path, it’s vital to reflect on the organization culture you aim to create and how this culture aligns with your proposed enterprise vision. Do you favor a commanding or amiable environment? Do you lean towards result-oriented strategies or process-oriented ones? The answer has substantial impact and it can either build or shatter your ambitions.

The corporate culture should mirror the vision. Once established, it directs the team to work on customer issues, contributing to the success of the company’s structure.

In summary – Creating a great startup team is a science and art

Building a startup is a natural evolution for a handful of companies, where team formation can occasionally appear haphazard.

A startup’s primary team may comprise a unique mix of friends, coworkers, kin, or anyone resonating with the startup’s goals. Such a setup may function effectively at first, but it’s rare for it to maintain its stand over prolonged periods.

Typically, when a startup starts progressing, it might overstep the abilities of its original team members. It’s then that the founding members may need to contemplate enlarging the workforce with new entrants. During such occurrences, it’s essential to deliberate on implementing the strategies suggested herein.

The growth and evolution of your team must be synchronized with your startup’s pace. It’s common to mark shifts in team management at various stages of a company. Initially, you may forge a team proficient in executing a potent strategy and generating introductory revenue. However, in due course, you will require personnel with enterprise capabilities that can broaden the company, augment revenue, and expand the customer base. Being a founder, the onus lies on you to make tough decisions regarding the optimal ways to supervise your team for the company’s prosperity.


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