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. However, so is good leadership. So you will need to ensure that you are focused on two avenues: finding a good team and developing your leadership skills to nurture these relationships. 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. View yourself and your team as two sides of the same coin. Without them, you are not complete and, without you, neither is your team. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to better yourself in order to make this partnership work. 

Your leadership skills will be put to the test 

When seeking out the perfect team, as mentioned, you need to consider how you can ensure you get along. Therefore, your leadership skills are going to come into use here. Are you going to be able to manage the team successfully by yourself? Do you know how to be both a friend and a leader? Will you be able to nurture genuine relationships? Are you compassionate enough to be able to handle a team of employees from all kinds of backgrounds? You also need to think about your communication skills. If you struggle to convey exactly what you need from staff, you are going to find it difficult to work together, even if they have the right skill set. 

So what can you do to ensure that you are ready for your workforce when it is created? 

Fortunately, there are ways that you can work on this. If you can, set aside a little bit of time before recruiting to improve these skills or make sure they are up to scratch. You could take training courses or brush up on your knowledge online. Better than this, though, you can apply to school and take an SBU online course in leadership. Apply for the Master of Arts Leadership course that SBU Online runs. Even if you need to start recruiting right away, you can view this as a long-term plan that will enable you to improve your skills. On a course like this, you will be able to graduate in around a year, and it is 100% online, meaning you can make it work around your business. Better than this, though, you will come away with key skills that are going to help cement good working relationships with your workforce and ensure you are getting the best out of them. 

Finding your team

Now that you are on the right track to improving your leadership skills, you will want to set about finding your team. There are several considerations for you when seeking them out. Not all businesses need to or want to go the same route when it concerns hiring staff. Therefore, all that matters is that you feel like it is the right decision. You could always confer with others about your thoughts on the matter to make you feel more at ease. These are the options available to you:

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.