Tag Archives: team

How to Build a Killer Team

Nothing is more exciting for founders than that first moment when they take their destiny into their own hands. After putting in the hard work and research using the Lean Startup Model, and determining that the product or service you have developed is really desired by customers, it’s finally time to bring your vision to life.

Now it’s time to identify who you need to join you to grow and protect your business. There are well defined as well as unexpected challenges ahead that are beyond the scope of just one person, and it’s up to you to identify the kinds of people you need behind you – those with the right experience and expertise – to face those challenges. You also need to know when you will need them.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerburg recognizes the power of a good team. “The most important thing for you as an entrepreneur trying to build something is … to build a really good team. And that is what I spend all my time on.”

What Skills Do You Outsource?

At the very beginning, you probably did a little bit of everything in order to put your plan into action. However, a few more people with specific expertise will be needed to help you go beyond the nuts and bolts of creating the business. These are the types of people you will need to make sure your business has the right financial and legal footing to hit the ground running:

  • An experienced startup accountant
  • An experienced corporate lawyer
  • A banker – Finding a banker that is willing to dig in and understand you and your business will be a valuable resource for the future. By winning this person over, you won’t be viewed as another commodity and source of a fee. Instead, you’ll have a valuable partner that will more likely be a source of financial support to help grow your business.
  • A reliable outsourced bookkeeper
  • Product Development – This is an area that can be outsourced as well. However, be sure you control the vision and the strategy. If you have the skills and experience in house, keep it there.

All Hands on Deck

Next, as the founder, you need to assess your own competencies. Be brutally honest about acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, and the type of person you will need to fill the gaps in terms of both skill and time.You should have a very strong vision and clear goals for the company after defining and redefining them with the startup model, so you can proceed to identify the skillset you will need to make your business a success.

Identify what you need, from product or service development, sales, marketing, project management, to operations, and who be responsible for these things. Sometimes that person will be you, the founder, and other times, you will have to evaluate who to bring onto your team.

Finding someone with the right experience and expertise isn’t the only only criteria you need when vetting a potential teammate. A candidate could be the best in the business, but if you can’t stand him or her, it’s probably best not to lay down an offer. Here are some things to consider when looking at future teammates for your business:

  • Vision – It’s important to look for candidates that are passionate about the vision you have for the company. Founders must communicate the big-picture goals they have, and provide a potential teammate with an opportunity to make a difference.
  • Diverse Knowledge – Find candidates with knowledge and skills different from your own, so that your team is well rounded and prepared to deal with any challenges that arise.
  • Continuous Improvement – Look for evidence of learning ability. Someone who has learned from the past and will adapt their knowledge to future challenges at your company is a prime candidate for your Lean Startup Model mindset.

If you have found people with the right experience, expertise, and characteristics, you will have a found the right players to join your killer team to bring your business to life.

Written by: Judson Sutherland, Founder & CEO

Sutherland, PLLC – FoundersFirm.com

3 Things Every Founder Needs to Mitigate Risk and Ensure Success

“Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution,” says Naveen Jain, founder of InfoSpace and Intelius. Most entrepreneurs understand this and spend months or even years thoughtfully organizing a business plan before putting it into action. Despite thorough research and long nights spent planning, the reality is that much remains unknown – early stage entrepreneurs are constantly haunted by the question: “Will this really work?

However, the dark tunnel ahead can become illuminated and less intimidating with these 3 critical tools: money, great people, and insight from other capable people. Here’s how these elements play a key role guiding an entrepreneur toward success:

  • The Ability to Raise Capital

Capital is an essential part of any business. In order to get up and running, entrepreneurs need to raise capital to cover startup costs, beyond what they can fund themselves, before they put their “open for business” sign out. To raise this amount, entrepreneurs must sell their vision to investors and convince them of the value of the opportunity by delivering a presentation that is both compelling and attractive. This is where the charisma and conviction that successful entrepreneurs possess is critical. (See No. 5 in 5 Characteristics Every Entrepreneur Needs To Crush It)

Beyond the initial funding needed to get running, businesses need to be able to raise money to fund development and operations. Capital is needed to fuel a business’ growth, but it is also important to have dry powder as cash reserves. The dry powder will help weather the ups and downs of unforeseen obligations that are – inevitably – ahead.

  • The Ability to Build a Great Team

“A great idea is the catalyst to get things in motion, but at the end of the day, it’s the team you hire who will ultimately determine the success, or failure of the company,” says Aaron Goodin, CEO and Founder of Tack. And rightly so: entrepreneurs need to build a great team of people and then lead them well. Those who can strategically position the right people into the right seats on their bus will lay the best foundation to get them to their destination. (See 3 Tips on Winning Talent for Your Startup)

  • The Ability to Value Counsel from Those with Special Expertise

Knowledge is critical. Entrepreneurs need to know what they know, and do it. They need to know what they don’t know, and delegate it. Never stop seeking counsel. Entrepreneurs that choose to learn from experts are better equipped to help their business navigate the road ahead.

Entrepreneurs need to find mentors and advisors in different specializations to help them effectively manage all aspects of their growing company. What types of individuals are needed in these ranks? Founders should include an experienced entrepreneur who has already been through an exit – meaning that this isn’t their first rodeo; an experienced CPA; an experienced lawyer that has a background in advising entrepreneurs; and investors who have a sincere interest in helping the founder.

While the future always contains an element of the unknown, entrepreneurs can mitigate many of the risks involved in starting a business by taking smart steps that will guide them towards success. By developing the ability to raise capital, building and leading a great team, and recognizing the value of capable advisors to give counsel in areas of their particular expertise, an entrepreneur can move forward with clarity and confidence.

Written by: Judson Sutherland, Founder & CEO

Sutherland, PLLC – FoundersFirm.com