In the army, every soldier is part of a unit. These soldiers are never allowed to go out alone. They must always stick with their core team. They must follow orders because these are for the benefit of the country. In their line of work, the margin of error is technically zero.
Startups can learn a lot from the ways of the military – its organization, trust, chain of command, principles, cooperation, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of a greater purpose. You need to be able to bring people together that are willing to pursue this overarching mission and go above and beyond if needed. Put most simply, you need a core team that you can rely on, no matter the circumstances.
How to Build the All-Star Startup Team
No startup has ever taken off based on an idea. You need execution – you need the right people who can get the job done. This is where a growth team comes in. You have to assemble a startup dream team so that you don’t waste time, money, and an amazing idea.
1. Define Business Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
For starters, figure out your North Star which encompasses your goals, priorities, and KPIs. Without one, you’d just be shooting darts blindly in the dark. Set clear expectations. Make sure that everyone’s on the same page.
Say, for instance, you run a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup. Do you want to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR) by 20% over the next quarter? If so, your possible KPIs could be customer lifetime value, customer acquisition cost, and churn rate. When you have mini-milestones, you get to measure your progress and determine how near you are to the ultimate goal.
2. Identify the Right Talent
“A company will only grow as far as the best person you have. So I learned this from Mark Zuckerberg – hire people better than you,” said Embiggen Founding CEO & Managing Partner in an interview.
Once you have a clear understanding of your business objectives and KPIs, it’s time to start identifying top talent for your growth team. This means looking for candidates that not only have the right skills and experience but also are a good cultural fit for your startup. If anything, don’t be geo-specific simply because you’d lose access to a global talent pool.
Focus on core competencies. In the world of startups, everything moves at a rapid pace; you encounter curve balls left and right. Not everyone is equipped with the agility to deal with such challenges quickly and efficiently.
Pro tip: Find people who share the same values and get excited about your mission vision. That said, these are some positions you should consider filling:
- Chief-of-Staff: They act as a strategic partner to the CEO. They ensure that information flows smoothly between departments, and that everyone is aligned with the vision at all times.
- Head of Product/Business Development: This person is responsible for defining and executing your business’ roadmap. They should have a strong understanding of your target market and be able to translate customer needs into product or service features.
- Head of Sales/Finance: They are in charge of driving revenue growth by acquiring high-quality prospects and building relationships with existing clients.
- Head of Marketing: This person is an invaluable addition to your team as they will develop digital marketing strategies that will help your startup grow and succeed. They’ll get your name out there and create buzz around your product or service.
- Head of Operations: They are the go-to person for managing day-to-day operations (e.g., financial management, human resources, logistics). They should be able to pinpoint your weak spots, as well as which areas of the business are running smoothly and efficiently.
Keep in mind that soldiers know how to make their superiors look good – so take that as you will.
3. Develop an Effective Hiring Process
Here’s a harsh truth: in any organization, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
If you have one team member who isn’t pulling their weight or is simply just not a good fit, it can drag down the entire business’ performance. Hence, a good hiring process is key if you want to attract the right people. This involves creating clear job descriptions, posting job ads on the right channels, and conducting thorough interviews and assessments.
Some businesses use a combination of behavioral interviews, skills assessments, and reference checks to evaluate candidates. There are also tools that you could use such as personality assessments and cultural fit surveys.
4. Foster a Culture of Innovation, Creativity, and Open Communication
One of the most important things you can do to build a strong core team is to foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and collaborating with one another. No one is afraid to think outside the box. No one ever anticipates that their idea will get shut down. Everyone should feel like it’s completely okay to take calculated risks.
One way to foster such an environment is by holding regular brainstorming sessions where team members can bounce ideas off of each other, as well as provide feedback. These sessions could be in-person, on Zoom, or through other collaboration tools like Slack.
5. Demonstrate Your Growth Team’s Impact on Potential Investors
Showing results before pitching to investors is an important step for any startup looking to raise funding. Investors want to see that your business is gaining momentum and that there is demand for your product or service. By showing them what you can do through data, you’re proving to them that your startup has a viable, innovative business model.
Providing solid data also means reducing the risk for both parties. It gives both angel investors and venture capital firms greater confidence in your ability to use their money wisely and achieve a return on their investment.
Take note: Investors also want to see that your team is committed to your startup – that your team members have an unwavering passion and commitment to your mission. When you introduce your employees to potential investors, you can nurture trust and confidence in your business.
How to Determine if Your Startup is Ready for Venture Building
Having the right people on your team is only half the battle. You need the capital, resources, and network to make your dream happen. Before you bite the bullet and start knocking on the doors of venture capital firms, make sure that you feel confident with your answers to the following questions:
- What problem does your startup solve, and is there a significant market opportunity?
- What makes your solution innovative and different from other products or services in the market?
- Has your minimum viable product (MVP) been tested and validated by potential customers?
- How do you plan to generate and sustain revenue?
- What is your team’s expertise and experience? Why are they the right people to execute your vision?
- Do you have a plan in place for the funding you will receive through venture building?
Embiggen: Hire a Startup Dream Team with Venture Capital-as-a-Service
Think of innovation as a battle for market share and customer attention, with companies competing to gain a strategic advantage over their rivals. As a leader, you have to make sure that within your ranks, there is no friendly fire, or else this could have significant repercussions on your business’ performance, morale, and overall progress.
Embiggen Capital can help you gain that competitive edge by providing your startup with access to capital, support, and top talent. Our team of innovation experts will be your five-star general, intelligence officer, special forces, espionage, logistics officer, and forward observer.
We’ll never compromise your business’ mission. Read more about Venture-Capital-as-a-Service here.