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There Is No 'I' in Startup: The Importance of Having a Solid Team

College Treps

Editor's Note: College Treps is a weekly column that puts the spotlight on college and graduate school-based entrepreneurs, as they tackle the tough task of starting up and going to school. Follow their daily struggles and this column on Twitter with the hashtag #CollegeTreps.

There Is No 'I' in Startup: The Importance of Having a Solid Team
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No matter how hard you try, you can't do it all.

As an entrepreneur I understand the desire to take the bull by the horns and be the lone captain of your startup. You are the idea-generator and innovator behind the company, and you may feel like nobody else really "gets" your vision as clearly as you do. This could be true, yet, controlling every detail will make it impossible for your company to scale. 

I suffered from the same “disease” when I was starting Zabamba, Africa's first social rating and review platform, and in the concept stage. I soon realized ideas are great but execution is key. To succeed, I had to let go of the reins a bit and inspire like-minded people to adopt the same passion I had for my venture. I began formulating a team that would help me streamline the vision of my company and steer it in a strategic direction. 

Building a team that meshes well, enjoys working together and has just as much passion for the business as I did, was a big challenge. Yet, it was an imperative step to get my business off the ground. And it paid off. My business has managed to secure a round of seed funding, we had our alpha launch this August and have amassed more than 1,000 daily users. 

If you are thinking about trying to do it all by yourself, don't. Here are three reasons a quality team is a must for a startup:

Constructive Criticism. Starting up is no easy task. No matter how much you believe in your idea and the execution, it's almost impossible to continually counter-check yourself and ensure you are managing your business the best way possible.

Related: 8 Must-Dos that Make Good Leaders Great

Even the greatest plans have flaws and when an entrepreneur is deeply rooted in all the intricacies of launching a business, it's common for him to overlook these issues.

This is where a team comes into play. It’s important to have team members that will not hesitate to point out your mistakes and work towards offering forward thinking solutions. You may be the lead entrepreneur of your venture but in no way does that make you perfect. You never know, that mistake your partner just corrected could be the difference between the success and failure of your business.

Different Perspectives. There’s always more than one way to tackle a problem. The more ideas taken into consideration, the stronger the solution.

Most entrepreneurs have a particular way of thinking and solving problems. Regardless of how successful he is, using the same problem-solving tactics will not always work. There is something to be said about an entrepreneur that can strategically pick the brain of a group of people, sieve out the best ideas and merge them into a combined superior solution.

Two heads are better than one and having a team to bump ideas off will undoubtedly teach you to better appreciate and understand the importance of listening to other’s ideas and ensuring your start-up gets the best of both worlds.

Expanding your network. Recruiting a team is more than just bringing people to sit around a table and make decisions.

Related: Your Secret to Hiring a Kick-Ass Team

Every individual you bring on board comes with their network, which at some point could be very useful to your business. We’ve heard a lot of people say, “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” That is debatable. However, expanding your network is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

When it comes down to it, both customers and investors are more inclined to give out money to people they already know over somebody who has been perennially trying to reach them through their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Yes, it’s very possible for a lone entrepreneur to build his own network, nobody is doubting that. However, contrast one person running around networking, to three or four equally skilled people doing the same. The potential for success is that much higher, and it is also more enjoyable.

 

 

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Eric Muli is a senior at Babson College majoring in Economics and Marketing. As a Kenyan entrepreneur, Muli has developed a strong passion for community development and impact investing and participates in a variety of community uplifting projects in both Kenya and the United States. He is currently the president of Africa's first rating and review platform, Zabamba. He is hoping to launch a similar platform for college students in the United States.

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