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The nature of a startup is tied to teamwork and team building. A startup is like a cooking pot where the skills, creativity and mood of all the members of a team are combined and the result of this combination is used to create a unique product. In a small group of people with different backgrounds, there is a lot of energy. Sometimes this energy is so high that it is overflowing! Good ideas fail until a successful team building is done in a startup. Even the most powerful business models fail in spite of having good financial resources and smart people just because of poor teamwork.
Team Building Process in Startups and Small Businesses
The first step in team building: learning to trust others
When team building is done and a team is formed, there are a lot of new ideas, people acquire new skills and learn responsibility. This group of close friends work hard to achieve their common goals, and everyone learns to trust others. Of course, all of this goes well when there is a prerequisite, and that is good teamwork among the team members. A team can only win with good teamwork, and teamwork on a startup is more important than any other type of business. Now it is a good time to launch a startup, because everyone immediately goes to their computer or mobile phone to solve all their problems and finds the solution they want. There are millions of needs and problems that need to be solved, which is equivalent to a mountain of startup ideas.
Why do startups fail just a few months after being launched?
Although it is really easy now to enter the startups world right now, it’s very difficult to stay on the path, and many startups fail just a few months after launch. Why? There is a simple answer to this question: the reason is poor team building and teamwork. A startup is not about offering a good product or service to customers. A startup is more than that, and achieving all of its goals requires successful team building. No great idea can work without good team building, because an idea without a team will only remain an idea and will not take shape. So, a great team is really the biggest component of your success. A great team is the pillar on which the startup is built. So act wisely in your team building process. After creating a good team, you will see how things get done one after another easily. In this article, we will discuss how to build a successful startup team and tell you why good teamwork is one of the most important features of a successful startup. Let’s take a look at some of the most important tips for building a startup team.
Why do startups need team building?
A business is nothing without the people behind it. Although entrepreneurs may have big dreams in mind at first, it is ultimately the team with which an entrepreneur can achieve his or her goals. Therefore, team building is very important for any business and, most importantly, for a startup, because it is the team that plays a key role in understanding and implementing the vision of the startup founder. Here are some tips on how important team building is for a startup.
“It’s a team that executes your best plans in the business model and business model analysis, and determines the fate of those models, analyzes, and plans”.
You can’t achieve your goals without the help of a team, because achieving a big goal requires achieving small goals at the same time and sequentially, and a team can be active simultaneously and in parallel in several fields and conquer different peaks at the same time. Slow down. How well and in time you can lead your team along this path depends on the quality of the team – the knowledge, skills, attitudes and talents of the team members. In fact, as a startup leader, you only need to focus on doing good teamwork in order to achieve your goals and not focusing on only executive tasks.
As most startups struggle with resource and time limitation, team members must accept multi-tasking and when necessary, play multiple roles at once so that you, as an entrepreneur, can focus on larger goals and lead your business ship in the right direction.
“Teams define your startup culture.”
“The culture of a startup is a combination of the characters, beliefs and main values of the team that builds it. So when building a team, you need to be careful about attracting people who promote your startup culture. Of course, creating a culture will not happen overnight and it will take time, but your ability to build a team is a useful tool for defining culture and creating it over time. Startup teams are a key element in creating your business values. Because culture has a direct effect on how your employees are guided and how your business is viewed from the outside, you need to culturally evaluate your team members before building a team to make sure they match your business values. This will prevent any discrepancies in the next steps.
“Teams complement your skills and increase your efforts.”
Having a team with the right structure of skills increases a synergy of efforts of different people in the team. For example, if you are a creative person and have a hard-working technical member in your team, this will be a privilege for you and your startup, because that person will quickly implement your ideas on your website. You need people who can understand and effectively manage different aspects of a business. In fact, there is a variety of skills and talents to maintain a good balance in a startup, and you need to care about the variety of skills when building a team.
“Investors prefer startups with a strong team to other startups.
“Venture capitalists finance startups not only based on their business plans, but they also pay attention to their teams, because they know that these plans change every day when market conditions change and new opportunities and challenges arise. They will change and it is only a strong team that will succeed after these changes. Venture capitalists are looking for a strong team that has the potential to adapt to the changes and the startup and its competitive advantage in the market. In fact, it is the team that determines the fate of a startup, and even the best ideas are doomed to fail in the absence of a team with the right capabilities to implement the idea; so building your own team will help you attract investors.
“Teamwork shares your passion with others and keeps you consistent in the ups and downs of the path.”
You definitely need people in your startup to share your passion with, and who is better than your team! However, team members are people who encourage you when you do the right thing and empathize with you in times of difficulty and constantly work to support you and your dream startup, because they are also interested in your startup.
All startups face unexpected breakdowns over time due to product development, budget delays, and the entry of new powerful competitors into the market, and this is when you need empathy and sympathy with your team. A good team stand by your side in hard times.
Characteristics of a good teammate that should be considered in team building
A good teammate puts a lot of effort. You’ve probably noticed that a good teammate puts their heart and soul on the success of your team. A good teammate is someone whom, when you see, you will find the motivation and enthusiasm to work harder and feel that you have to work hard with them so that the team becomes successful. If you do your best, you will not only perform better, but you will also force all your team members to do better. So in team building, choose the most hard working people. A very good teammate is selfless.
A good team always prefers the team to anything else
It is your job to do anything needed to bring success for the team. It’s not always easy, but all good teammates prefer team success to self-success. For example, at some point in time, you may not be able to pay your employee on time. In this situation, a good teammate is by your side, think of bigger goals and prefer that you pay for other startup expenses rather than their salary.
A good teammate is honest
All good teams and their excellent relationships are based on honesty. All your teammates need to know that they can trust you as they face ups and downs. Also, if they make a mistake, they honestly admit their mistake and are not trying to hide it. In such an environment which is full of trust, you and the team are very comfortable at work.
A good teammate is a humble person
You may be the star employee of your team, or you may be the idea generator of the team, however, keep in mind that the team takes precedence over everyone. Put aside all your personal successes and abilities and praise all your teammates. Teams succeed when no one worries that their efforts will not be seen. When building a team, be careful to use humble people in your team.
A good team is responsible
You need to set high standards for yourself and your startup team. If a teammate does not do his duties in the team, you should not get over your fear of confronting employees and get them back on track. You need to help team members believe in their responsibility and accept their role in the team.
A good teammate is optimistic
A good teammate is optimistic about achieving the team’s goals and the whole business, and they increase the energy of other people on the team. You should also try to be one of these people and look for the positive points of all your teammates.
A good teammate respects others
A good teammate respects himself, the team members and the team leader and always treats them with courtesy and respect. For example, when other members of the team talk to him, he shakes his head in approval and pays attention to their words, and if he disagrees, he respectfully expresses his opinion.
A good teammate is like a leader
The startup leader is not only the manager, but other members of the team can act like a leader with the right behavior. For example, they do not gossip other members of the team, and they remind others of this behavior, or they are patient and do not complain when facing challenges, and they encourage others to be patient. These are ways to help lead your team to success and act like a leader. When building a team, make sure you have such features in your startup team.
A good teammate is flexible
A good teammate helps their team use temporary breakdowns and shortages as an opportunity to grow and improve their business. They do not make excuses and looks for a solution. The ability of a good teammate to be flexible is a transferable feature and helps the whole team to be more flexible. The positive attitude of one of the team members in any situation can change the situation. Try to be such a person.
A good teammate helps to develop intimacy in the team
Good teammates support all their teammates, like their family members, and have a polite intimacy with them. Teams with close relationships are usually the most successful teams, and this intimacy plays a big role in their empathy and efforts.
How to lead a startup team well?
Leading a team for the first time may seem very difficult and scary. There is no previous personal experience that can be utilized to build a team, and a leader must work hard to lead a team well, along with the attitudes and circumstances of each member of the team. If it’s the first time you’ve taken the lead in a team, then you’ve probably tasted the challenges and difficulties to find a solution. Here are eight tips for leading a startup team that will help you build and maintain a good, productive team while also developing your leadership talents along the way.
Spend time to lead your startup team
To be successful, startup team leaders must spend enough time on their team. This kind of responsibility is rarely added to a leader’s long list of tasks, which is why many new leaders fail.
As a team leader, you need to spend time and energy working with your team members and always be in touch with them and support them when needed. If you are often involved in your key tasks, then you will not succeed. So make sure you check your workload before you take on the leadership role for the first time, and you have enough time for team members.
Try to get to know your team
The whole point of leadership revolves around how you can influence your team, which can be a psychological impact or an impact on teaching new skills to team members. You need to try to get to know your team members well and know what makes them work well and what prevents them from doing well. Of course, you may be tempted to do great things from the beginning, but you have to keep in mind that team building takes time, and first you need to get to know each and every one of the team members and their spirit and skills. Take the time to listen to your team members to get to know them better. You need to see what their problems and desires are, gather their ideas, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you build a successful team and achieve the right leadership style that will ultimately increase your chances of success. Finding out who you are going to work with is the first important step in communicating with team members and gaining their respect and trust. There is an old saying: “The more you talk, the more you listen.”
Try to get to know your team
The whole point of leadership revolves around how you can influence your team, which can be a psychological impact or an impact on teaching new skills to team members. You should know your team members well and know what makes them work well and what prevents them from doing well. Of course, you may be tempted to do great things from the beginning, but you have to keep in mind that team building takes time, and first you should each of the team members and their morale and skills.
Take the time to listen to your team members to get to know them better. You need to find out what their problems are and what their wants are, gather their ideas, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Only then you can build a successful team and achieve the right leadership style that will ultimately increase your chances of success. Finding out who you are going to work with is the first important step in communicating with team members and gaining their respect and trust. There is an old proverb which says: “How much you talk, listen two times more than that.”
Continuous communication with team members
Once your startup team starts working, it’s important to keep in touch with its members to build relationships, assess the progress of team members, and identify risks and problems. In addition, when team members see that you are in contact with them and are interested in their activities, they will get more involved with work.
Specify the expectations and responsibilities of the team members so that everyone knows who will do what, why, and for how long. This may seem obvious, but you should not assume that everyone is as knowledgeable as you are about the details of existing projects. Another important point is to encourage them to come up with good ideas and embrace them in the process of team building and communicating with team members.
Be a practical example for team members
Think about the behaviors you like and expect from your team members, and make sure you have those qualities yourself. You are the role model for the team, so what you say and do will affect the team’s attitudes and daily work habits. In other words, it’s important to be yourself and believe in yourself. If you pretend to be someone else, the mask will soon be removed from your face and you will lose your credibility and trust. To be successful in team building, you need to be honest, straight and passionate. Treat all members of the team with respect, so that they treat you the same. Spread this politeness throughout your team.
Appreciate the good and learn from the bad
Be quick in recognizing good performance and reward it at an appropriate time. You may not be in a position to consider promotion or raising salaries, but a small verbal appreciation really works because it proves to your team that you are aware of their successes and you value those successes. Take care of problems related to poor team performance on time and in a fair manner. The more you complain about these problems, the harder it will be to solve them.
Know that mistakes will happen, willingly or unwillingly. When mistakes are made, learn from them and examine how they can be prevented in the future. Don’t blame your team members and don’t criticize them. If you need to have a challenging conversation, do it privately, not shout in front of everyone. You should not expect all your initiatives and feedback to be completely acceptable, if you focus on intimacy and friendship instead of focusing on leadership.
Learn to trust and assign works to the team members
Trust your team and believe that this team can do its job well. Being a team leader does not mean that you are here to do other people’s work for them. Be clear about what you expect everyone to do, and let them do their own work. When problems or opportunities arise, let the team find a solution with your support. Because you have the ability to fix a lot of issues, don’t add any new task to your daily to-do list and ask your team members to help you solve them. This is one of the most important aspects of successful team building and team building.
Do not postpone things for tomorrow. At the right time, take action with all your determinations. It is feasible to delay difficult decisions, though you should face the consequences, and put your leadership abilities under the question. If things did not proceed, pause; collect the required information making a decision. Do not fear to ask for help (it symbolizes your strength, not your weakness). Team leadership is a mean through the learning process, and you never access all solutions. As soon as you initiate leading the team, attempt to learn novel ideas, favoring you to have determined decisions.
Team building along with the leadership of the startup team is challenging, meanwhile, rewarding experience. Leading a practical team provokes a satisfactory sense to yourself. So, team up and take action.
Build a Successful Startup Team: The Tips
The startups’ success is not due to their innovative as well as novel ideas or notions, but the startups’ flourishing teamwork along with fantabulous team design and pattern. Being essential and vital, the team structure, containing various and complementary skills, is one of the characteristics of a good team that will be discussed to excess further. Every startup is responsible for building a team consisting of individuals being ready to take up a role or position while spending their time boosting the startup to reach the goals. Further, the significant roles of any startups have been referred to.
Chief Executive Officer or CEO
The CEO is fundamentally the leader of the startup. However, it does not mean earning more money or owns more properties. The CEO is creative and dreamer of the team, being more enthusiastic than the startup’s expectation. He/she is the leader of the team, and the other members tend to follow him/her. Before anyone managed to believe in the realization of a dream, this is the CEO who not only had believed in it but also has to flourish the ideas amongst the members. Every startup needs an idea maker, creative one to be responsible for implementing the ideas in the team. She/ he is the first believer in the startup’s idea, attempting to achieve it regardless of the number of individuals rejecting the startup’s goals fulfillment or future perspective.
Chief Product Officer or CPO
A crystal clear view is a must for any flourishing startups to envision from the beginning. The CPO is responsible to envision the team’s horizons; he can figure the goods and services out more than the others, targeting the issues, offering appropriate solutions. She/he should act like a dreamer, owning idealistic aims and objectives. More importantly, though, the CPO is to be fully aware of the means to realize the aims. All startups face some difficulties in the path of development; however, they conquer the people’s minds and hearts inside and outside of the startup. Truly, even though all startups encounter a multitude of problems, to achieve their ultimate dream, someone has to take the responsibility of following up on the path to success.
Chief Technical Officer or CTO
The CTOs’ roles are undeniably necessary for any startups. In other words, due to complicated and complex technologies involved in the startups to launch and implement the startups, the CPO should be an essential member of startups. The CTO should be able to overcome the technical issues, resolve them immediately. She/he is responsible for proceeding the operations than dreaming, or idea-making. They are known as innovation architects of the startups, being a bridge between the design and implementation. The CTOs as driving forces observe the whole startup’s procedures and operations, attempting to handle technical issues as soon as possible, considered being key figures for technology-related startups. The CTPs aims at employing more people in the technical team of the startup, owning leadership qualities, supplying qualified goods and services to the market.
Chief Sales Officer or CSO
Every startup owns a chief sales officer. The goal of the CSO is to sell the products produced by the startup team. Moreover, a CSO is responsible for turning brilliant ideas into enormous profits. On the other hand, a CSO plays one of the essential roles at every stage of a startup’s growth, and the final income-earning depends on him. A CSO also has the role of marketer and sales staff at the beginning of a startup, but if a startup later turns into a large company, the CSO will take up the role of the sales staff manager. He/ She is one of the main members of the startup team, all stages from sales processes to sales system automation, hiring sales staff, and accounting managers, as well as predicting sales.
Chief Marketing Officer or CMO
Another one to be adopted is the Chief Marketing Officer or CMO. One member is in charge of sales managing and marketing in small startups, though as the startup scale increases, it will be essential to assign the roles and engage one in marketing processes, finding potential customers; also another one as the sales officer, turning potential customers into final ones. In a successful startup, a must for every CMO is to grasp how to turn goods and services into the most unique ones outside of startup; also, how to best popularize and distribute them around the world. Marketing is one of the processes many of today’s startups had been originated from. When a startup’s first contact with a customer occurs, or the customers do not value a startup, it is doomed to failure. An efficient marketing officer turns a mediocre idea into the unique marketing one, having the potential customers discover the goods or services that they required them, but never had been offered.
What to avoid in teaming up?
Building a good team or teaming up is a sometimes difficult task. Occasionally, in the breathtaking process, we made mistakes, bringing together the wrong people. As a result, the entire startup will suffer. Although not all processes are necessarily immune to failure, some steps can be taken to minimize the risks. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
- Do not be influenced by people’s job titles and believe that a capable hiring manager should recognize and adopt people’s talents well.
- Rina Inburg, the public relations manager of Zero Turnaround used the interesting concept of “general expert”. The general expert is a team-member who owns no specific skill. Instead of focusing on a particular skill, he/ she is present everywhere and such a person will weaken your team. So, try to avoid hiring such people for your team.
- A capable employee should be able to visualize the big picture of your startup. This person will not only understand his/her role in your startup but also their mind will be involved in achieving the startup’s goal, stepping forward with enthusiasm.
- Respecting each other is significant, though do not be a victim of respect. Talk together in case of facing any problems, and resolve it friendly. It avoids major disagreements and misunderstandings that even threaten the future of your startup.
- Communication is the key to your success, so interact with your team members every day. Attempt to find out the members’ difficulties, and then offer solutions even for a few minutes. Lack of communication with team members is one of the major problems that will weaken you shortly. Concerning team members, do not rely solely on official letters, but short phrases or e-mails, as the startups are dynamic and require faster communication means.
- Use conference calls, Skype, Google Hangouts, and other means, and hold short meetings from time to time.
- As your startup grows, it will undergo various growth and development, so keep your startup team as small as you can. Learn how to identify the stages of growth and development to be acquainted with team building and team development in each of these stages.
- You may have a billion-dollar idea in mind, but if you initiate with a weak team, it will be a serious obstacle to your success. Bear in mind that you need to use the most knowledgeable simultaneously responsible people in the team-building process.
No components of a good team will affect the success of your startup during its early stages. Therefore, you need to take team-building seriously, then learn and act on it quickly. The personality, talents, values, and work of the members are all criteria affecting the success of a startup, so team-building alone is not enough and you need to know the characteristics of good people to build a team and find all the right team members.
Even if you form a good team, but cannot lead the team properly, you will have troubles. Therefore, the next step is to learn to lead a team efficiently and spend time practicing it. Ultimately, you need to build a team of people with the right roles to bring you success. So, choose your team members with full tact to increase your chances of success.
Having the right startup team is half of the battle; the risk-taking investors do not listen to your persuasion, attracting the capital, though they are also interested in looking at your startup team. The startups’ founders have to focus on quality instead of quantity since their job is to connect to people sharing the same motivation and passions.
A startup is like a high-speed train; all the team members are involved in its speed and being on the track. Therefore, you have to think seriously about team building and be prepared to face its challenges. However, do not forget that one of the highly essential steps of owning a dynamic startup and making money is to have a business model and analyze it properly.