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5 Ways to Build Your Start-up Dream Team

At the end of the day, a start-up’s success rests on the shoulders of the team

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BY Jared Carl Millan - 03 Aug 2017

startup dream team

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Many have dreams of starting their own companies, and most of them already have a vision of what they want to achieve. But as Varun Panjwani, CEO of health start-up Global Health and Travel, says: “The process to establish your business and enter a market is only the start of the journey, the climb forward and scaling a business requires tremendous focus, determination, and sacrifice.”

Say you possess focus, determination, and the willingness to sacrifice, and you’re ready to embark on the challenge of building your own start-up. The next logical step is assembling your team.

John Rampton says in an Inc. story: “No matter how strong an idea you have, the fate of your start-up ultimately rests on the shoulders of your team. After all, it could take only one weak member to bring down your entire business.”

So how do you go about this arduous and frequently long process of looking for talent for your company? Here are five helpful pointers.

1. Establish a clear culture and values

What does the start-up stand for? What are its goals, its mission and vision? What kind of culture do you want to promote and foster within the whole enterprise? What do you, as a business owner, care about? As a business owner, you must first set these things in place, a framework from which to build your whole team around. That way, you have a clear picture of the kind of company you want to achieve and the people who can help get you there.

2. Abandon the idea of the perfect employee

Of course, everyone wants to find someone who is a perfect fit for the company and its culture. Most companies want a highly skilled employee who is dedicated, diligent, personable, sincere, willing to work long hours, and doesn’t care much about financial compensation. But the truth is, no such employee exists. You’re only wasting your time by looking for them. Instead, you should focus on the values you consider as must-haves, such as hard work and integrity, which can ultimately push your start-up forward.

3. Avoid hiring fresh grads

Start-ups benefit the most from employees who have had a few years working for established companies. Not only do they have a sharper skillset, they also more or less have an idea of what they are really good at and passionate about. In a Business Insider story, Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of start-up HotLink, is quoted as saying, “You want a core team that's seasoned, but you can supplement that with people with a few years of experience.”

4. When hiring, already have in mind the set of qualities you want in an employee 

During the hiring process, it’s important that you already have an idea of the kind of employee you want to bring onboard. According to Rampton, you have a much better chance of assembling a great team if your candidates fit these four considerations: 1. They have experience in areas that other team members do not, 2. They can be vouched for—you know them or know someone who knows them, 3. They are able to start at a limited salary or for a stake in the start-up, 4. They are fans of your product.

5. Choose the people with the same drive as you do

Your start-up team should be aligned to your values as a business owner. They must have the same drive and passion that you do. Steve Hawk says in a Stanford Business story, “You need to find people who are excited by the company’s mission statement. Like Disney makes families happy.”

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