Putting together the ideal workforce for a startup

With a startup company, your team is everything. Sure, you need a great idea that can be turned into a great product or service, but that’s nothing without the right team in place to make it happen.

Venture capitalists realize this. When they consider investing in a startup, they base the decision as much on the character and experience of those involved as the product idea and business plan. Choosing the right team could be the deciding factor in whether you get funding or not, as well as being important down the line.

Each member of your workforce needs to give 100%. They’ll need passion, dedication and discipline, and they’ll need to be committed to the company and each other. Good working relationships are at the heart of a successful startup team. You’re going to be covering for each other a lot, especially in the early days, so you’d better be able to get along.

Specialists or generalists?

There are pros and cons to hiring for specific roles in your startup company. If you have a clear roadmap of how your company is going to grow and develop, and you know that you need people with particular skill sets, then employing talented specialists may make sense. However, in the early days, it’s sometimes better to have focused, committed individuals on board who can multi-task and fulfill different roles as and when needed.

Building a company culture may be more important than filling specific roles at first. You need people who are product and brand focused, who are prepared to work long hours to do what is needed to build the company. Later on, when you get a better picture of what your day-to-day activities as a company are going to be, you can hire specialists, but initially character may be more important than specific abilities.

Temps and contractors

While you’re still getting your startup off the ground, it may be better to fill those specialist skill gaps with temporary staff or contractors. This way, you can bring in people to do a specific job without having to put them on the permanent payroll when you’re still unsure if they’ll be needed in the long term. This can be the most cost-effective way of managing your workforce early on, and contractor pay can be managed by going through an umbrella company, which will make sure that taxes and all paperwork are processed efficiently and legally.

Recruiting your team

When recruiting staff, look at the strengths and weaknesses of your existing team members. This means taking an objective look at yourself. What are you good at? What do you need help with? In terms of the startup, what are the significant gaps in your knowledge and experience? Building a balanced team is important, in terms of gender as well as skill sets, as while individuals may have to wear many hats, they should also complement each other in terms of capabilities.

Having the right people is an essential ingredient in any successful startup. Don’t rush into it, and don’t compromise when deciding whether to include people or not. The staffing decisions that you make early on could decide your business’s future, so make sure that you get it right.