6 useful ideas for constructing a excessive performing group
Originally written by Matthew Cushen about Small Business
Last time I wrote an article on what makes a compelling team for investors. If you’ve impressed investors enough and successfully raised money, now the pressure really begins.
Investors expect you to accelerate your growth and come up with some evidence before your next round of funding. Perhaps you are thinking about how to gather more talent around you.
These questions can help you make talent and team building decisions.
# 1 – What are we good at, where do we stink and what are the gaps?
Discipline yourself (i.e. find uninterrupted time and be objective) to write down:
- Where the real value for the business is generated, where the value for (potential) customers is and what leads to a higher valuation among investors at the time of your next round
- Other activities that need to be done to keep the lights on
- Talents that the founders and those who are already in business have and what talents they lack
- Where can you develop skills and where do you have no choice but to hire?
This should find out what valuable skills and talents are missing in the team. A third party, such as an investor director, advisor, or friend, can add valuable objectivity to this process.
Some time ago I was one of the first seed investors at payasugym.com (now renamed Hussle). With two super bright ex-management consultants as founders, they were informed about the entire product design, strategy, finances, projections and governance. But what was critical to the business was selling the new concept to gyms and marketing it to consumers. They decided that one of them could get trained in B2B sales quickly, but none of them were intuitive marketers to consumers – so those skills had to be their first hire.
> See also: Looking for Investment? Start obsessing over market needs
# 2 – What roles do we need and what can we afford?
While talent, skills, and aptitude are the first considerations, unless you are a ridiculously funded Silicon Valley startup, you need to be pragmatic about the number of people the company can afford. Now think about where the real value is being created in the company and which team roles are therefore needed.
Do some research on what salary the roles require – and get creative about the mix of salary and performance-based stock options that can attract the best talent. The main consideration here is not to save. Worse than a vacancy is having someone who wastes time, energy and budget without delivering what is needed.
Pull together the budget that is needed and compare it with the cash expenditure that can be afforded before fundraising again. Vote them up, and now you have your recruiting hit list.
# 3 – where do we find what we need?
There are three types of people who work in startups: (a) founders who take the big risks (b) those who have actively sought a business (for the thrill of the growth journey and to share in some successes, and (c ) those who are not good enough to work for a large established company with lower risk and more stable employment.
Of course, you don’t want to find bs not cs. It is therefore helpful to be where they are – at start-up events and in online groups. Or there are now online recruitment sites especially for the start-up community. When you’re starting to scale, an employee referral system is the most direct way to get more people like the ones you already have.
“With the unemployment crisis rising, there are plenty of talent available.”
In view of the currently rising unemployment crisis, numerous talents are available. This is generally good news for growing businesses. However, you should be very careful that corporate refugees have the mentality of doing well in a small, rapidly growing, ambiguous environment. If you do this, you will be able to have fantastic experiences.
# 4 – How do we avoid compromises?
The first recruiting rule I learned as a young manager was “When in doubt, don’t hire”. Unfortunately, while someone you 100 percent believe in may not always work, that person never does well when in doubt about talent or cultural fit. No matter how much you think you are desperate for hands-on assignments and want to complete your recruiting, it is better to have a vacancy and keep searching than the wrong person. It’s better to find short-term gaps – like a freelancer, intern, or temporary worker – or find ways to bypass the required activities.
> See also: 7 Investor Personalities: How Startups Can Understand Their Motivations
# 5 – How do we welcome new talent?
It’s never too early to be conscious of building your culture – what your company stands for, how everyone behaves, and how you get things done. The easiest way to build culture is to indoctrinate new employees as they arrive. One company I joined had an iconic way of doing it. Every month about half a dozen newcomers boarded the “Magic Bus” with the founders and took a tour of the key locations and milestones that contributed to the growth of the business. While it was explicitly about locations, it was valuable time to chat, get to know the founders, and learn what they valued. The trip ended at the pub, where the established team was ready to continue the conversation (and tell the unburned story).
# 6 – how do everyone exercise?
Unfortunately, none of us are 100 percent correct all the time. Fortunately, we usually know quickly when we made a clanger. In this case, it is important that both the company and the outsider act decisively. Zappos (the big online shoe retailer) was brilliant at this. After 14 days, all new hires on the team were offered $ 2,000 to leave the company – clearly only those who were certain they would be a good fit would choose.
You can do something similar and cheaper by making sure you sit down and have open review meetings with any new hires after 7, 14, 28 days, and each month thereafter to make sure the fit is working.
Matthew Cushen is the co-founder of Worth Capital
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6 helpful tips for building a high performing team