Team, simply the most important part of a business.
You can have the best product concept, sales & marketing strategy, investment, but if you don’t have the right people to execute then you’re a bit stuck.
People, you want People!
One of the most important CEO/Founder functions is to recruit; always be recruiting.business is growing then you know you are going to need people. It can take easily take 3-6 months to find that killer hire. You are able to plan ahead of time, so you should be constantly looking for the right people!
Where will you find these magic people? Start with your network of advisors, mentors, previous boss and colleagues, school, friends and family etc. Don’t forget about LinkedIn. You can buy access to view more profiles than the standard package. As an aside, for years I have tagged people I meet on LinkedIn, now I have a ready pool of resources as and when I need them.
What does the perfect team look like? Can you clearly describe everything about the roles? Identify the gaps that exist in your current team. Map it out!
Find people who can fill the role part-time to start, then work full-time later. Mothers who want to return to work are a great place to start looking.
Can you outsource some functions & for how long? Depending on your model, some roles such as marketing may not warrant a full-time hire to start with. That should give you access to highly experienced people with mature processes that can take on the role with less lead time than if you hired a junior, for example. On that note, one strategy might be to hire a junior person and have them work with the outsourced team. You can then set up your processes and hand over to your junior person. This could be a positive for the junior team member.
Start with yourself…
What do you like to do and where can you add the most value to the business? It is probably what do you do best too! You want to think about this as it will be important to keep you happy in your day to day activities. Do you need to learn something new, so you can have a sensible conversation with others? E.g. if you’re a non-technical founder, learn about development process so you can talk about product strategy with your technical team, or you hate financial planning, so go learn about that. Also think about what do you not want to do (both now and later) and which roles need to carry out those tasks.
From the SWOT and growth plans, you can identify which key hires you need to make over the next 2 years or so.
Before an investor hands over their hard-earned, they are going to want to see you have a strong team. This gives them confidence that the plan will be worked as effectively as possible. Investors will be disconcerted if you don’t have a clue about who you’re going to hire. It is not enough to tell them you’re going to look for a Node developer or growth hacker the minute you can pay them.
If your ideal team is not already onboard, then do you have the right people ready to start as soon as you are funded?
What makes people want to work with you?
How will you incentivise your early employees? Without trying to be too right on, if you’re not changing the world in some inspiring way with your product, what will turn people on to join you? Is it the offer to be part of an amazing team where they will learn so much, or a certain type of cutting edge technology, or super cool location etc.)
Do you have a critical position that can be filled by a co-founder and some ownership? What caveats will you want to put in place on your shareholders agreement and employment contracts?
Do you want to offer first employees a small ownership/salary combination? Or profit share if you expect to make sales early on. Or, depending on your structure you might think about employee share options.
Don’t forget about culture. A lot of people have worked at miserable companies for miserable people. Tell future hires about the importance of learning, positive energy, being measured and of course do not forget to make it FUN!
Your expected behaviours have to be explained early. It will help to filter out those who don’t want to live by the same expectations that you have for everyone. Values help to create motivation, away and towards motivation, talking about them before someone starts also helps reduce the candidate pool to a more likely fit.
I hope you gained some insights into what makes team so important at this early stage? Please get in touch if you have any specific questions and I will do my best to help!
Happy business growing!