When setting up your new venture, the people you hire may well become the most important assets in your business. They’re your trusted workforce, the face of your new brand and the people you’ve entrusted with getting your business idea out into the real world.
Because of this, it’s vital that you choose the right talent, the right personalities and the right mix of people for your team. Making a mistake with your hiring at such an early stage can really hold you back, so be sure to put some real thought into who you need on the team.
Consider which roles you need to start operating
Getting your startup to the ‘Minimum Viable Product’ or MVP stage is a big turning point for the business. From a staffing point of view, you need to think about what roles will be needed to get you to this stage – so you have enough hands on deck to really become operational.
Could you do everything yourself and become a real jack-of-all-trades? Or will you need sales people, marketers, operations managers and shop-floor staff to get this thing going?
In an ideal world, you obviously want a big, effective team to kickstart your operations, but payroll costs and your available funding will put a limitation on this. Think about which roles you REALLY need and start off with a skeleton crew (but without the need for a ghost pirate ship!).
Decide whether to outsource or go in-house
Once you have a list of your core roles and skeleton team, you then have another important decision to make – which of these roles will be full-time, in-house employees? And which roles will be part-time, or outsourced to freelancers and contractors?
Having full-time employees on the books gives you a permanent resource, with a team who are wholly focused on bringing your MVP to market. But employees are costly. Aside from monthly wages, you need to pay for holiday pay, sick pay and a staff pension scheme. A more cost-effective option can be to use freelancers at the early stages of the business, hiring in talent and resources as and when you need them.
Search your network for talent
Knowing the roles you need is one thing, but actually FINDING the talent is another. Use your existing business and social networks and put out the word that you’re hiring. Word of mouth can be a great way to find people, but make sure that applicants fit the stated criteria.
Writing short, clear job descriptions for each role is a good way to outline the position, attract the best candidates and filter out the weak applicants. Using a recruitment agency or a jobs website helps to spread your net wider and also takes some of the admin workload away. Once you have a shortlist of candidates, it’s time to start interviewing.
Check that applicants share your vision and values
A job interview is obviously about more than just running through the skills on a CV. The successful candidate is going to be working very closely with you, so you need to know that they can do the job but also that they’re a good fit for the team.
Do they share your vision for the product/service and the future of the company? Do they seem driven, with the right kind of can-do attitude? Are they engaged by your company values and the WHY behind your business model? And, vitally, do you get on with them as a person?
Having the best mix of personalities and talent in a team is so important. Getting the mix right creates a tight, well-focused team. Get it wrong and you’re looking at disharmony, a lack of productivity and a team that’s just not going to deliver the energy and value you need as a founder.
Measure performance and fit
Once you’ve hired your key talent and formed a team, the challenges don’t stop. As you all pull together to get to that all-important MVP stage and beyond, you’ll need to have ongoing performance reviews. This includes checking in on how the team is performing as a group, whether there are any teething problems to iron out and how individual employees are tracking against their personal remit, targets and goals.
It’s not an easy ride, but with a positive, well-engaged team behind you, you give your new venture the best possible chances of success, growth and long-term prosperity.
If you’re at the early stages of planning out your business idea and staffing, please do get in touch. We can talk to you about your operational plans, the core staff that will be needed and the most efficient ways to source the talent you need.
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