As we head towards a new year, I have been reflecting on some of the learning I have gained in 2015. The questions that I am asked the most: What makes a successful startup stay up? What type of talent is best to hire when growing and scaling a business?
Having ridden the startup roller coaster as a founder and advisor, the companies that I have seen thrive, demonstrate these characteristics and stay around to see the benefits.
This could be the time you put that burning idea out into the universe, I hope you do, and I hope you remember one of these tips to success in the startup world. And even if you are in a more established business, I always say ‘treat yourself like a startup’.
Culture from the top and from day dot
The culture you build and grow starts at the top and from day one – so ensure your early choices and decisions around people are the right ones; it sets the tone for the rest of your journey.
Startup Ready & Got the T-Shirt
Early hires matter; the questions to ask: do I hire someone who can deliver everything I need right now? Or someone perfect for the direction I am heading? It’s a big decision, and one that requires a little of both. Hiring a mix of seasoned startup individuals who can do the heavy lifting teamed with talent who will develop in the future will provide the right balance of experience and new energy.
Make Quick Decisions
Making a decision, whatever the outcome is key to an evolving business. Keep making them; make a decision at 2pm, at 4pm make another one to counteract the earlier bad one – but keep on making them and moving forwards. Get into that mindset early on, into your business DNA and you’ll never procrastinate.
Hire Shots of Talent
It’s never too soon to consult an expert. A few days or weeks of the skill sets you need injected into your startup can save you valuable time and money in the long run. Use specific talent in small shots in the beginning but don’t hire permanently until you are absolutely ready.
Be Prepared to Pivot
Don’t be afraid to shift course if you need to. Shifting on a sixpence should be a given; fluid, flexible approaches will keep you and your team agile and prepared.
Hiring from Tech Giants
Hiring talent from a global brand can be an informed choice, or it can also be something to hide behind. Be aware of who you are hiring, not just where they came from – not everyone can thrive away from the big, established brand.
Founders: Don’t Rely on Your Skills Sets Alone
As a founder, you will need to be totally hands-on but know when the time is right put a succession plan in place or structure in place to eventually replace your own skillset. Founders can develop a blinkered view of the business if they don’t step back and let others take the helm.
Be In Love with the Brand
Not everyone you hire is going to love and use the product or service you are building forever – but early hires need to get totally onboard with what you are doing, sign-up to the vision and be your brand ambassadors. They will be your early AB testers but are more likely to recommend all their friends also join.
Take Care with Every Touch
Reputation is everything. You may interview endless people for that one early hire, but each candidate you meet could become your future market. Remember to treat everyone with care and respect. Candidate experience, even when you are a tiny company – is so important.
PS: Just a note for emerging female founders: businesses founded by females perform 63 per cent better than all male teams #justsaying