Choosing the Right Startup Team for Success


Did you know that roughly 80 percent of startups crash and burn, vanishing without a trace in their first year of trading? I say this not to put you off starting your own business, but to highlight just how difficult it is to build a successful company from nothing, and you know what one of the biggest startup killer, other than a lack of cash flow, is? It’s choosing the wrong staff!

Hiring decisions might not seem like the most important thing when you’re setting up a new operation, but think about it your employees will be doing everything from marketing your company to coming up with new product and service ideas, and handling customers – if they’re not great at their jobs, your business will struggle to make any traction at all.

If you want to ensure that you hiring the right team to push your startup towards success, here’s what you need to do:

Be Aware of Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses

As the startup owner, you are the head of the team, and you are going to be taking a lot of responsibilities on for yourself. That means, there is little point in hiring employees who have the same strengths you have; what you want is a team that will compliment you and their peers. So, first know what you can do well and then branch out from there.

Network. A Lot

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of putting together a crack team who are everything you need them to be to build a successful startup, you are going to want to leverage your network. In order to do that as effectively as possible, you may want to build stronger networks than you have right now. Go to events in your field, join social networks and forums and start talking to people; chances are you’ll get lots of leads on great marketers, content writers, PAs and accountants.

Qualifications Count

A lot of startup companies tend to hire based on whether they have a good feel for the person and whether they can demonstrate an ability to do the job well – this is a good way to go about building a team, but qualifications do still count. If a candidate has completed one of the many online mba hr programs or holds a marketing degree from Georgetown University, for example, it’s a good sign that they at least know their stuff. So, what you really want to be confident that you’ve chosen the right people, assess qualifications, ability and even passion for the role; if they have all three, you can be relatively confident that they’ll be a real asset to your business.

Choose Team Players

If there’s one thing that can make a small business implode like no one’s business, it’s employees who backstab, infight and generally don’t want to work together for the greater good. So, when you’re hiring, you should look for people who have a record of collaborating on projects, who know that having team spirit is important, even when they are working individually, and who appear to be well-liked by ex-bosses and a colleagues alike. It might take a bit of digging to find this information out, but social media has made it a bit easier, and it’s certainly worth the effort to try.

Diversity Pays

Choosing a diverse team isn’t just about being politically correct or looking good in the eyes of your customers – it is a great way of ensuring that your business has a diversity of ideas and opinions too. If everyone you hire has broadly the same background, then their outlooks are likely to be pretty similar, and that limits your company more than you might expect. So, choose the best people for each role, but try to account for a wide range of background and personality types too.

Choose Resilient People

It’s also a good idea to choose people whose resumes demonstrate an ability to work under tough conditions and thrive. If they have a  history of working on complicated projects, then chances are they’ll be able to keep their head should something go wrong or should your business go through a rough patch. This matters because, if your employees get stressed out and start to lose their heads at the first signs of trouble, you’ll have a very hard time weathering the storm and getting through the other side.

Choosing a startup team that spell success isn’t easy, but using these tips, your own judgement and taking the time to get to know people before you hire them, chances are you’ll build a brilliant team that works for you and your company.


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