What is the most important asset your new business possesses? Most of the classic business texts will tell you it is your people. They have more influence over the quality of products or services that are delivered than any other factor, and can also provide that all-important edge and uniqueness that your competitors cannot replicate.
A mature business has the senior players in place, with all their knowledge, skill, experience and customer relationships. For a new startup, you have got to create all this from scratch, and that means building a great team.
Get the right ingredients.
There is more to a successful team than just recruiting the right people, just as there is more to baking a perfect cake than having the right ingredients. But getting those ingredients in place is nevertheless the first step towards success. You will not be short on candidates, but use all the tools that the new technological age can offer, such as referral software, to narrow down the perfect list of candidates.
Share the vision.
You probably have a clear picture in your mind of how the business is going to look and feel, but it will only happen if everyone is onboard. Now is the time to drop the “I” and start saying “we.” Be frank with the team about the culture you want to build, the ethos that underlies your vision and how you see the business developing. And give them the opportunity to provide their own input as to how it will be crafted. From now on, you’re in this together.
Understand the strengths.
If your business takes off as planned, there will not be much slack time, so it is essential that everyone is playing to their strengths. Not only will this deliver better and more efficient business results, it will also be more rewarding for the team members. We all like to do what we do well, so it creates a virtuous circle of success breeding success. It also makes everyone enthusiastic about putting in that extra 10 percent of effort, staying late when necessary and so on.
Two words that can strike fear into the heart of any employee are team building. It creates visions of enforced hilarity as people try to build rafts, sing songs or do other exercises that seem pointless and / or embarrassing, all for the sake of the team. Yet team building means so much more, and when it is done properly, the participants don’t even notice. Sure, go and build a raft if you want to, but what about a simple evening out together for a few drinks.
The key to a successful team building exercise is not so much what you do as how you do it. The objective is for the team to be more comfortable and thereby for each member to be able to support, challenge and inspire one another, whatever challenges the future might hold for your burgeoning enterprise.