When starting your business, you undoubtedly will look for help. Even when you have experience and knowledge of your industry, there will be areas in which you’re lacking the insight and skill you need – not to mention, pulling together a team helps keep your workload manageable and improves your overall product and operational capacity.
But who should be on your team? Obviously, hiring people who have skills you lack is important, but what is the ideal mix of talents that will ensure your business gets off the ground, and will help you get the attention of investors? As it turns out, many investors are looking for a specific mix when they evaluate startups for a potential investment, and take the team you assembled into account when making your decisions. This means that you can’t simply bring in your friends and family just because they want to “help,” but that you need to identify the individuals who will bring the most to the table in the long term.
So who are those people? They usually fall into several categories, and depending on your focus, you may need one or more individuals in each category.
The Technical Genius
No matter what type of business you’re starting, you will need to build, deploy, secure, and maintain a network. If you are starting an online or tech-related company, the need for technical prowess extends even further. When your business success depends on a reliable, fast, and secure network, you cannot leave your IT to chance, and need to have someone on your team who can manage those tasks. Investing in online IT certification programs and training can help bring your team up to speed and keep them ahead of the curve, and help impress investors who are looking for proof that your company is prepared for the challenges ahead.
The Industry Veteran
Someone on your team who has experience in the industry is also important. In some cases, this may be you, but if you have limited experience within the industry, a team member who has been around the block a few times and has some experience in the field will be an asset. An industry veteran can provide solid insights into the industry and identify your strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, as well as help you identify other talent, assess the competition, and develop a solid strategy for growing your business.
The Sales Expert
No matter what industry your startup is in, you will need someone to help you sell your product. When someone on your team has sales experience, you gain a significant competitive advantage and avoid some of the pitfalls faced by other startups without the insight and authority a sales expert can bring.
The Bean Counter
How many tales of woe have we heard about businesses that started off with a great concept, but failed because of poor financial management? Managing a business from a financial aspect requires some specific skills, and without someone who has those skills, your business could struggle from the start. This is perhaps one of the easiest roles to outsource, but it’s important to find someone who has financial experience in startups.
Of course, while these hard skills are important, the ideal startup team also possesses a number of soft skills that can’t be overlooked. You need to look for people who are a good fit personality-wise, but who also respect each other’s skills and have the ability to communicate with each other. Everyone on your team should be committed to pulling the cart in the same direction, sharing the same vision and passion for making the business successful.
Venture capitalists and other investors look for startup teams that have an obvious chemistry; it’s not only about the individuals’ experience and skills, but how they relate to each other and work together. A company where everyone is working at cross-purposes or doesn’t seem to share the same enthusiasm and commitment will never succeed, and that disconnect is easy to spot.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to put together a startup team that can help take your business where you want it to go. Not everyone is cut out for startup work, but when you find the people who are, they can do more to help grow your business than you can even imagine.