How to Choose the Right Team for Your Start-Up

Creating a successful start-up team is much like creating a successful soccer team. You want to have a squad that’s built to last, win trophies, and not fall apart before the end of the season. It’s a team effort in both cases, meaning you cannot just count on that one superstar player to carry the whole team on their own. Hence, each member of the team needs to pull their own weight and contribute something meaningful to the team, whether it’s a particular skillset, experience, or their sheer determination. This, however, is easier said than done as finding the right kind of individuals that fit into your particular squad depends on a number of factors. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of these main factors that help you determine how to choose the right team for your start-up.

Find individuals that complement each other

Like you have different roles for each player in soccer, each member of your team needs to bring something new to the table. Having five managers but no one to manage, or having five marketers with no tech-savvy members to support them will leave huge gaps in your defense. Therefore, you need to look for people with a particular set of skills to cover each position that are also versatile enough to adapt to the changing pace of the game and fit into any role. To do this, start from yourself, think about what your own strengths and weaknesses are and go from there. Are you more of a leader/manager type, or are you more the industry expert type? Whatever the case may be, find people that cover your weak spots and then proceed to filling theirs. Do this and you’ll create a well-balanced, all-rounded team that can take on any challenge you throw at them.

Think about the future

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your start-up. Although it’s still early, you need to start thinking about the future if you want your team to stand the test of time. Finding and cultivating the right talent is essential for growing your business. Search for young, eager and passionate prodigies that will drive the rest of your team with their unending enthusiasm. Have them sign a detailed employment letter so that they know their rights and responsibilities at every moment, to prevent them from getting too carried away by their own zeal. Sign them up on probation and be wary of slackers and under-performers and get rid of them ASAP, as one rotten apple will most definitely spoil the whole batch, leaving you without a proper squad. If you can’t get yourself to do this, then you need to find someone who will, as start-ups simply don’t have the luxury of wasting all of their resources on employees who won’t invest themselves fully in the project.

Avoid personality clashes

Unlike big companies that have tons of employees that don’t even know each other’s names, start-up teams are extremely close-knit communities. You’ll be spending a lot of time together and at times you’ll feel like you’re even married to each other. For this reason you need to find people with compatible personalities that will fit right into your company’s culture. However, this doesn’t mean you should all have the same mentality. You want people that are hard-workers and independent, like your IT specialist, but you also want people who are shot-callers and leaders to ensure your team never loses their focus and their drive. Having too much of the same, for example leaders, will put you in a scenario where there are simply too many hands on the steering wheel and that way you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Try to avoid these personality clashes by making sure your teammates are aware that you’re all in the same boat, and that there’s no ‘I’ in team. In addition, perform more detailed background checks on their social media profiles while recruiting to get a better sense of their underlying personalities.

Experience matters

Finally, not everyone on your team should be a passionate youngster, you need to add an experienced ‘coach’ as well that knows exactly how to care for your squad. In this regard, there needs to be a good mix of experience and knowledge in the team, especially when you think about the more important positions, such as the CEO, where inexperience in certain matters could end up costing you a great deal. So, while the crew rows, the captain steers the boat, preferably a veteran of the industry. Consequently, you need experts not only because of their amazing skillsets but because of their valuable insight too. Listen to their opinion as your whole team could benefit from their wisdom. Especially so if they have failed before in the past and learned to bounce back and continue working no matter the odds. These would therefore be ideal role-models for your youngsters as unlike them, they’ve never failed before and won’t know how to cope with defeat easily.

In conclusion, don’t think about the individual players but the team as a whole. You’re not just building a startup, but a company that should last for years to come. Get the right mixture of talent and experience in and build a winning squad.

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Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.