Building a Founding Team for Your Startup - Reading Time: 4 Mins

Introduction

With just an idea and you are working on it. You have to persuade other potential partners to start a startup together. I would never ask you to become a Solopreneur. Unless you are aiming to build a side hustle while holding a full-time job.

Since it will be an uphill task for you to run your own startup by yourself. This is why there is a need to have more than 1 person for your startup. To be either a co-founder and founder for a startup who holds the majority of shares to break ties and make decisions.

Starting with a Creator & a Salesman as the Foundation

Guy Kawasaki gave a piece of advice is to have a minimum of two people with different skill sets to complement and build your own startup. This comes down the first person who is a creator who creates the product or service. Whereas the other person has to take on the role of a salesman to raise capital. To sustain the startup, be it through investors or getting actual customers to pay for it.

At the start, I thought it was wrong. Until I was reading about it from a few biographies like Steve Jobs or watching Startup School videos by YCombinator. They actually had the same recommendation for team composition for their founder and co-founders. Which is for Apple, the salesman was Steve Jobs. The creator was Steve Wazonkie to help to create the product.

A founding team is the first 10 that impacts your organisation until when it reaches the size of 100. As they require a different attribute, mindset, ambitious and high-risk appetite due to the stock options offered is higher for the first 10 to form your founding team.

Finding The Right Skills, Experience, Network for Your Team

Next on the selection of your founding team. One should focus on the activities, network along with the attitude of the person. Like if you are building a software product or service.

You would want to hire a full stack developer to build your own MVPs to test your assumptions or hypothesis to present it to clients to find your product-market fit.

To filter and find the correct person to bring on board. They will be asking culture questions:

  • Like how do you handle your failures?
  • How do you handle conflict among your team members?
  • What is your hobbies & interests?
  • How do you think the startup will play a part in the marketplace?
  • What do you know about my company?
  • What are the problems that you saw for my startup and solutions to help solve it?

Besides just the technical skills test like doing a coding assignment or a paid 1 or 2 weeks trial with the company to solve a technical problem. Sometimes you do not have the options to do it. Instead, you might need to find someone to train them from scratch to fulfil the specific activity before getting a more experienced and specialist onboard to help you.

Google's crown jewel Associate Product Manager program created by Marissa Mayer does this. Which seeks to train fresh graduates or early career professionals to become product managers to form connections and that get things done to remove blockers within a large organisation like Google.

What Binds You the Founding Team Together

When you are hiring your founding team, you must spend some time to really understand their career goals & aspirations and what are they looking for while they are in your startup.

Besides just showing your startup's vision & problem you are solving for the industry. Which aligns with their career goals & aspirations if they join your startup.

It could be as simple as learning to be a developer to become a CTO/ tech entrepreneur in the future. By wearing multiple hats and work under pressure to get things done. It could also be that it excites them, knowing that they will be laying the foundations for a system. That will be scaling for 100 thousands or a million of users.

The startup can be a stepping stone, that allows them to move towards a better company. Like an R&D department for MNCs, software consulting companies like Pivotal or Thoughtworks and even a later stage startup by tapping on what they had learnt within the startup.

Conclusion

I hope these are useful tips for you. When you are thinking of starting your own startup. I personally believe the saying of "two heads are better than one" along with having an odd size of founder & co-founders to help in making decisions in the startup.

Even if you are going for the Solopreneurs route. Do note that it requires you to learn to lead and manage a team. From freelancers, virtual assistants to technology partners. Not forgetting the need to build your own marketing & sales pipeline to drive sales from customers to purchase your products or services.

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