2. Start-Ups: The Million-Dollar Team
If you are reading this, then congratulations! As mentioned in the first blog post Start-Ups are all about not giving up on your idea! Showing courage, wanting to keep going, that’s where the amateurs drop out. If you haven’t read the first post, read it before continuing here, it contains some very important first steps in starting your Start-Up.
The Avengers. Have you seen the first action movie in which they appeared together? 5 crazy guys and 1 even crazier lady who have to be persuaded to form a team together. Why? Because there is some guy who sees potential in them working on a mission. Together. At first they don’t click, there is a lot of tension as there are many Alfa males, there are different beliefs regarding what their goal is, it all seems hopeless at some point. Then the assembler, the all-knowing guy, the founder, the CEO, whatever we may call him, jumps in before things gets too messy, give them all the same direction and the Avengers end up saving New York from some animated aliens.
Now try putting this anecdote into a real life situation. You, as founder of the Start-Up, have an idea that will better the world. Nick Fury wanted to save the world, but couldn’t do this alone. A business is something you can start, but once the crowds accept your idea it’s time to start growing. But notice the carefully place word “once”. Hiring team members only is a good idea as soon as the market has embraced your idea, as soon as you know that you can hire and not have to fire. The first members of a team are also probably the most important ones; they will feel a sense of ownership as they help build the company for the future. These first followers will help you the most when they are people you have worked with before, whom you know they will give everything to make your idea work. Teamwork makes the dream work.
So how to compose your winning team? First of all, remember that you are the founder; you have the idea and need to have the time to communicate your visions to all the others. Delegate dealing with customer problems to an expert, nowadays every good business employee is trained to have a vision, be a connecter and most of all a good salesman. To support the sales you need to have one technical savior. These days almost all information goes over the internet, you will want your company to be accessible at all times and in case of trouble your tech guy will save the day. Then as a sort back up, have one employee working on the operations within your company, someone for the everyday flow. As a start-up you have to demand excessive quality from your employees, a great team will build a great company. Also, your employees may be smarter than you, give you new insights and through good communication from your side they will live for the company.
Back to the Avengers. So Nick Fury has his team of superheroes together, they are willing to fight for the same goal, but a new problem arises. The secret panel, whose members act like the board of directors over the organization, pulls out their investments. Nick Fury manages to get them back on board and then the ships sail off to fight the intruding aliens. This is an example of the relationship between the founder and the investor. Because the interests of the investors and the company can differ a lot, it is important to set boundaries when the investor joins your team. Once again, communication is the key to a good working relationship.
Once you’ve built a team around you, make sure you keep the good ones and fire the ones that cannot adapt to the rest. Set goals for your team so they know what is expected of them, but don’t try to guide them too intensively. Remember you hired these employees for a reason; they may have more expertise on certain topics. As long as the results you wish to see are communicated clearly, then everyone in the team will be aligned. Your role as CEO will keep changing every time you hire new team members. Your job will consist of 5 sub-jobs:
- Set the Vision. Make sure all levels in the company understand where they are working towards. Keep focus, then the team will follow. Goals may be overarching, always keep something you want to reach for.
- Build a Great Team. Every person in the company has his own role, and it has to be clear what this role is. It is your will and intuition that got the company this far, but accept that stability will become more important.
- Ensure the Necessary Resources are located at the necessary locations. This can be people, money, information or communication.
- Over Communicate. It’s all about the communication.
- Track the Every time you meet up with employees, they must have achieved something.
If Marvel can create the Avengers and make billions out of them, why couldn’t you too? At least you have more time, at the moment there are no impending threats from aliens, but when the time comes, have your team ready.
Link to the How to start a Start-Up lectures: Start-Up Iceland