Another Wednesday, another post in the series “After the Funding“. While previous posts have looked at strategy, sales, roadmap and releases, I will today look at people. At the end of the day it’s people that make or break startups. And you need to have the right team on board to succesfully unlock growth.
Build a Team that is Smart and Gets Things Done
The early team is built up of founders and a close circle of trusted employees that have often worked together previously and that become close friends. The team has natural chemistry and complementing skills. You need few management skills and early employees wear many hats, filling in as office manager or accountant when needed.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
To expand the business, the team needs to be expanded. Expansion means bringing in seniority as well as volume. The team of founders and early employees needs to determine which management roles can be assumed by the current team and which need to be brought in from the outside. And the founders need to create a recruitment process that consistently lands the startup additional talent.
The founders must realize that it is time to bring in the professionals when they are spending more time learning than leading and the staff starts losing confidence. At the same time, they must avoid bringing in too much senior staff with high salaries and low hunger for success. As for expanding the team, the key lies in hiring people that are smart and that get things done. Read and apply Joel Spolky’s “Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing” and never hire someone if there are any doubts or you are having a hard time make a “hire or no hire” decision.
After the Funding
In the first post of the series I explained that decision-making needs to be based on long-term strategy. Owners need to spend time defining a clear and concise strategy and enable others to make day-to-day decisions based on their roles in the company.
Then I cautioned about the risks of premature expansion of the sales force. Owners must set-up a repeatable sales process first and then expand the sales force.
Then followed a post about the importance of a product roadmap to create alignment between teams, to help business define its target market and to guide technology in setting priorities and allocating resources.
And last week I made the case for your product heartbeat – a continual rapid-fire release plan that provides customers with new features at short, predictable intervals and gives focus to the development team.
Here are some interesting articles and posts on hiring:
- Next to his guerilla guide to interviewing, Joel has pubslished many interesting articles on hiring and other topics related to software development. The entire archive is worth reading!
- Another great blog is onstartups that I have referenced before. You might be interested why “your startup should not hire Seth Godin” or “how to tell schmucks from superstars in five minutes“
- The business of software blog has an amusing anecdote about the issues around hiring managers“.
Read next: "Myspace is the anti-christ for children"