Serial Entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal on Building an A-List Team
We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »
In this special feature of 'Ask Entrepreneur,' Facebook fan Blake Snodgrass from Corpus Christi,Texas asks: What is the best way to build a team for your new venture with limited funds to keep them interested? Check back for the archived video chat with Gurbaksh Chahal, which will post as soon as it is available.
Hiring the right people -- who really want to see you succeed -- is probably the biggest challenge in starting a business. The first five people you hire will determine whether you'll have a viable company. The first 20 people will likely determine whether you can create the culture to create the next masterpiece.
These are the traits I look for in prospective team members:
• Ambition -- What fuels them to succeed?
• Discipline -- Are they willing to go through hell and back with me several times?
• Purpose -- Do they want to make a dent, make a difference -- and why?
If your employees have all three qualities, they will become a tremendous asset to you. You also want to hire the smartest people you can find. Smart people make beautiful music together. Lots of smart people, working in unison, can have the power and beauty of a Beethoven symphony.
When building a team, remember that a company becomes successful when the culture of entrepreneurialism is deeply rooted in everything it does -- and never changes. Innovation does not have a stopwatch. You want to hire entrepreneurs, people who are natural problem solvers -- the ones who see opportunity when most see impossibility.
When you pick the right 'dream team,' they will surround themselves with other A-list players who also solve problems -- whether it's from a product, technology, or sales perspective. Steve Jobs said it best in his memoir: A-list people want to work with other A-list people. Never surround yourself with deadweight.
Creativity also becomes the lifeblood of a company. You want to allow everyone to have a voice. People should know their opinions matter so it fosters innovation. You may not always agree with them -- but at least their voices are heard. I know at times people sometimes feel nervous about voicing their opinion because they think it might come across as a stupid idea. But if you've hired A-list people -- I can guarantee you one thing -- no suggestion of theirs will be stupid.
And if you're wary of hiring entrepreneurs, thinking they'll just break away and start their own companies, remember that's fear creeping up again. As I've said before, the day you decide to live in fear is the day you've already lost your battle. Great people require trust. If they leave, that's okay. They were great for a reason and were there for a purpose. Foster the same DNA across your company, and losing one or two team members will never affect the livelihood of the company.
Once you hire the right team, and they are aligned on the same objective, you'll always innovate. Stagnation will be your worst enemy. You'll execute on your vision and you'll grow exponentially. And, more importantly, you'll create a culture that fosters speed, innovation, and winning. Fear and failure will never be part of the vocabulary.