How Can Entrepreneurs Build the Right Team
Capital and clients come later but team comes first
When an entrepreneur starts building the blocks for his/her big start-up idea, an essential element in doing it right is having the right team. But while we all focus on the entrepreneur’s first journey as a business owner, there’s one detail we often forget. It’s also the first time as a boss for him/her.
For any early stage entrepreneur, it’s important to have a functioning team in place – one that works together for a common goal. Having a good team ensures that work is done faster and better.
Entrepreneur India spoke to experts from the industry about how can start-up founders get their team right and be the “perfect” boss.
While starting up, it’s not just the founder who’s working hard. Along with him/her, is the founding team which puts in equal working hours and has the same amount of passion for the product. Kanika Jain, co-founder, Squad, said that for them it was important to hire right. They had a framework in place called “Fit Intent Capability”. “We needed people who are capable of delving deep into a subject while also being smart enough to handle a crisis situation. Next, we wanted people who have the right intent, so we asked the potential hires why they want to join the company. Thirdly, we wanted people who were fit or capable of gelling into the insane working hours of a start-up,” she said.
A lot of companies hire wrong and learn it the hard way. So, it’s important to have a framework in place while hiring right from the start.
Prasanth Garapati, founder of Commut, too did the same error. But now at Commut, they have proper Standard operating procedures and due diligence done before hiring someone. However, he believes it’s not just about the credentials. “They need to have the fire in their belly. We don’t just look at the colleges they come from. In fact, we have many fresh graduates who are doing well. It’s important for the founder to remember that the team can make or break his/her idea,” he said.
Share the Vision
For any company, it’s important that the employees understand the vision of the company and know what their goals are. Pankaj Diwan, Managing Director, IdeaLabs, rightly said that for a start-up, capital and clients come later but team comes first. According to Diwan, the most important thing is to be transparent with your employees and share the vision with them. “You can’t pay them a lot in the initial days, so don’t give them fake promises. Instead, offer them perks and incentives while being completely transparent about the work processes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jain believes that once you have built a cohesive team, you can set monthly goals and ensure the work is done. Additionally at Squad, they believe in sharing the company culture with all. “We have a culture booklet, so that everyone knows the values of the company and how we function,” she said.
Make Them Independent
Once a team is in place, a lot of founders try to be involved in every process possible. But it’s necessary to take a step back and let the employees take ownership of their tasks. Garapati believes that you can give your employees the scope to make mistakes. “Give them independence. Of course you have to train them initially, but once they are ready, you should let them be in-charge of their responsibilities. That way, they’ll feel accountable for their tasks,” he said.
Bigger Team, Bigger Problems
Jain believes that as a team grows it gets difficult to manage and that is where the challenge lies. Every quarter, they identify the problems they have to solve and the people are divided into teams according to the problems. “Once the problem is defined, there are people from different backgrounds working together. Each squad has their responsibilities defined and they know what they are trying to solve,” she said.
Additionally, the communication has to be set right. Garapati said that they have an all hands meeting every week where they decide the targets for the next week. “This is to make sure everyone is aligned with the work and vision of the company. We also have purpose sessions every quarter to motivate employees and ensure they still want to work in the company,” he said.