Entrepreneurship is not for the feint of heart, and the journey from the basement or garage to a real office is scary. It means you have grown beyond an expensive hobby and are on the cusp of becoming a legitimate business.
Moving towards legitimacy requires you to ask yourself some tough questions. The first question is if you are ready to let go of some control. This is your baby; you have invested blood, sweat and tears to get to this point. Stepping back and becoming the leader of the company is one of the biggest challenges you will face.
Picking the A Team
Once you have realized that you can’t do it all and that you will need help to take it to the next level, you will need to begin to put a kick-ass team around you. The people that you pick in this stage of your company will need to be special individuals, people who can see your vision and are willing to work for little and a share of the futures promise.
Here are five steps to picking a kick-ass startup team that help fuel your vision and take you to the next level:
- Build an Advisory Board. Pick a few people that you can trust from different disciplines—Accounting, Legal, Marketing, etc.—to give you advice and bring them together once a quarter to bounce ideas off of. This group will prove valuable, as they provide a neutral view that isn’t emotionally invested in the project.
- Define Positions. Use your advisory board to help you define the positions that are essential and the skill sets needed. Start with what you are good at, and then select teammates that have skills complimentary to yours. The key here will be to figure out the key positions that are necessary for growth and what they will need to do to fulfill that role.
- Hire Full-Timers or Contract Out. Once you have your positions defined, the next question is to decide whom you can afford to hire and where you can save money by hiring contractors. Hiring someone is a long-term commitment, whereas hiring a contractor is like speed dating. Contractors give you the opportunity to make changes quickly if the relationship doesn’t work and is cost effective for tight budgets.
- Get Out of the Way. Once hired, you need to trust the people you have picked and let them do their job. The best thing you can do as the leader is point to the top of the “mountain” and ask the team, “How do we get there?” Once the question is asked, you need to stand back and let them go to work. Micromanagers will kill enthusiasm and creativity, so don’t do it. You hired them, so you should trust them until proven otherwise.
- Remove Poor Fits Quickly. It is better to have a good person for a short time than a bad one for a long time. If you did your job and hired great talent, it is only natural that some of them will want to leave, but the duds will hang around as long as you will let them. Don’t let that happen, rip the proverbial “Band-Aid” off quickly and move on.
Building a business is a thrill ride that is best shared with good people that are passionate about what they do. Find the passionate ones and let them “run”, you’ll go far.