In 1976 a group of young men set out to revolutionise the tech world from an old garage. All they had was an idea and a strong team who were willing to do whatever it took. Today we call that revolution Apple. This is one of the most inspiring examples of a tech startup that scaled up because they ad the perfect team-building strategy and they literally did it from scratch.
Even with foolproof ideas for a new startup, you would fail if you don't have a strong team to back you up (23% of them do for this very reason).
Let's take a look at this detailed guide on how to build a successful team at a low cost.
Table of Contents
1. Building the team and product
The first thing you would want as a tech startup is a product or idea that has the potential to solve a problem that is right before our eyes.
Your first product as a startup is your MVP ( most valuable product ) and that is your signature in the market. With a solid idea, you have the foundation and now you need a team.
Apple only had 5 people at the start but all five of them worked their hearts out to make their dream a reality. If you have few people like this who believe in what you do, then that is the most valuable asset you can have.
For the team to be productive, you need to find people who can relate to the product. People who buy into your vision will be motivated to work for you through thick and thin.
2. Talent Acquisition
Building a tech startup at a low cost is hard but not impossible until you try to do everything yourself. There will be things you can’t do and that’s when you assemble your Avengers. Just like the each members of Avengers, they will provide you with the right set of talents required to cross that hurdle and turn your business into a successful one.
In the early stages of your startup, you can't afford to hire a lot of people and you would need a proper team structure. You can hire more people when you grow as a business. Until then you stick to the bare minimum of team members needed for the smooth functioning of the business.
People who have no idea of the technological side or in general, a non-technical person, can also start a tech startup. If you are from such a background you can start by finding a tech partner, or hire a professional, or better rope in your friends who have that knowledge.
Hiring interns can be an effective way to reduce costs. You would be allowing them to expose themselves to the field while you get your work done. There are a lot of unrecognised talents out there and if you could tap into those resources that's your golden ticket for a successful team.
3. Pre and Post-hiring
Hiring plays a vital role in the growth of your business. There is no need for sudden recruitment of people, you can hire slow but hire quality people. Here, consider our guide while bringing in team members into your startup.
The company you are striving to build has long-term goals and you want people who you can depend on throughout the journey.
Always have a timely plan for hiring the right people. For example, in the early stages of manufacturing a product or service you would need engineers and not a sales and marketing team. So hiring the right people at the right time is crucial.
Rather than using full-time employees you can offer contract-based job opportunities for freelancers and give them an amount for their services.
You can’t use up your money on salary and compensation in the initial stages of your startup. So you can give them stock options and other forms of compensation.
By giving stock options you are making them partners and they will feel like this is their company too rather than as an employee. But you should choose your partners wisely and not give away too much stock.
Hiring is just the tip of the iceberg. After you hire a person and he is not providing any meaningful services you should not hesitate to lay him off. When you terminate an employee from service you should follow protocols and provide the required compensation.
Here is a complete guide for you to hire your freelancers.
4. Making a Team for the Long Run
When you are hiring people to be a part of your team, think of them as an investment for your future and not as someone to do the job for the time being.
The startup phase is just temporary. If you build a team temporarily, they would be assigned to tasks which they are not familiar with when you scale up and this will affect your resource management.
To avoid this, always keep your business structure in mind and regulate the hiring process accordingly. The core team of the startup should be the concrete that holds it together.
Even Though only 23% of startups fail during the initial stages, the rate of failure increases after each year. Hiring temporary people is like you are preparing to fail even before you start. The startup team structure should be based on the business model you follow. That way you can determine the right time to hire people.
If you want to know more about different business models read our blog about the 15 different business models for a startup.
And take a look at the main reasons why startups fail.
5. Personalities Matter
The personality of people in the team will affect how the team performs. When we are around highly enthusiastic and passionate people we will resonate with their vibes and be energetic.
If we are around pessimistic people, they drain our energy to work and our only goal will be to just Netflix and chill. A person who constantly nags everyone or someone who makes uncomfortable comments that hurt others can turn your workplace into a toxic environment.
So when you hire people, look for the ones who have a good personality and people who can positively contribute to your growth.
Even if you can’t identify these traits during the interview you can issue proper disciplinary actions to stop unnecessary provocations and boost the team morale by offering a healthy work culture. When you have your team's back, they will have yours and that's how you build a team.
6. Helping Each Other Grow
Not everyone can understand everything at a steady pace, some might need a few more explanations or examples.
Sadly you are running a tech startup and you can’t be there for everyone at every time. This is where the team members all pitch in to help the slow learners without disturbing the smooth flow of the business.
A team is a mixture of people with different capabilities and helping each other grow is essential for a team to be perfectly functional. There will be people who would want to learn about different trades within the company and grow. A perfect team would help him learn or suggest ways that could help him learn.
The growth of the person within the company can always be a positive thing for you. This way you could entrust them with new responsibilities and they will be ready for it. Also, helping each other builds trust and a sense of companionship among the team members.
Just like the old saying “There is no I in team”.
Also read: How to Optimise Your Team for Business Growth.
7. Be the Inspiration
You built your startup team, you started your journey and it's been quite some time since you had any positive signs. Your team is feeling like they are not making an impact and you want to motivate them to not give up.
Pep talks and daily speeches would do the trick for a short period. But the thing that will motivate them or inspire them the most must be you.
When they see you working even after their shift ends, or see you bright and early in the office, toiling away in your little space will give them the daily push to work harder.
Often startup leaders are portrayed as superhumans and you’ll be amazed to see the amount of work they do to push their startups forward.
Elon Musk made his office his home and slept on the couch. He worked like an ant, which inspired his team in SpaceX to work despite the first three failures.
Building the right team is hard and can take a lot of time. But taking time to create the best team possible is not a liability but an asset. Without a proper startup team, every startup will be a failure.
Technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Chatbots are just the beginning, Artificial intelligence is all set to revolutionise the tech world by automating the works. And smartphones are only getting smarter. The opportunity in mobile app development will be plentiful.
So it is vital that you have a startup team that needs to be filled with people who are willing to pull all-nighters for a week without hesitation and help the company everywhere they can. We need people who would be with us for the whole journey.
Keep these things in mind and build your super team for your business. Good luck!
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