6 Tips for Building a Strong Founding Team Student entrepreneur Karim Abouelnaga on the value of putting together a strong team -- and how to keep it that way.

By Karim Abouelnaga

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Think you can do it alone? Think again.

As a student, your time is already limited because of classes, social activities and part-time jobs. So the last thing you want to do is try to launch a venture on your own. Plus, having a team can speed up your startup's timeline, and it sends a signal to potential investors that you can persuade other people to believe in your idea. That skill is significant. Imagine an entrepreneur who can't persuade people to join his team trying to persuade a customer to buy his product?

In my experience with acquiring new team members and getting the most out of those involved, here are six things I've learned on the subject since launching my startup:

1. Ask an advisor to join your team. Starting a company with people is a lot like playing a team sport. There are competitions and funding pitches… some you'll win and others you'll lose. I believe it is essential to have a coach to have a successful team. By that logic, it doesn't make sense to try and build a team -- or even a business for that matter -- without an advisor.

Related: How to Close Your Startup's Experience Gap

2. Ask for input on decisions that haven't already been made. This is very important because it can be perceived as wasting people's time and no one likes their time to be wasted. When you are heading up a company, there will be several instances where you will have to react on the spot or make an obvious decision. It doesn't make sense to bring the entire team together to ask for their input. An update through an email is usually sufficient at that point. Make sure you always consult your team for larger decisions, however.

3. Never ask anyone on your team to do something you wouldn't do. This tip is more than just literal. If you are asking someone on your team to do something you can do and it is apparent that you can do it, then you should.

Related: 4 Tips to Avoid Co-Founder Conflict

4. Entrust key tasks to those who have the skills. In a small startup, early team members must be well versed at several things or at least willing to learn how to function in different roles. If you ask someone to do something that they don't know how to do, they may lose motivation. Or, if they're unwilling to learn, that's a red flag.

5. Delegate key tasks as evenly as possible. It's hard to provide people an even amount of work because they often have very different work styles and time lines. However, you can distribute work in a value oriented way. For example, having a teammate focus specifically on your website is just as valuable to a startup as having someone focused on managing its finances. Both are valuable but the upfront and maintenance work is very different.

Related: Business Partners: 5 Tips for Finding the Ying to Your Yang

6. Notice the small things that show you care. I'm really big on birthdays. Really early on with our founding team, I would always make it point to have everyone know when it was one of our teammate's birthdays. It doesn't necessarily have to be birthdays, but find something personal that shows you care.

How do you recommend building a strong team and keeping it that way? Let us know in the comments below.

**Apply Now** Are you an enthusiastic college- or graduate-student entrepreneur, eager to share your on-campus experiences? Apply to be a YoungEntrepreneur.com College Treps columnist.

Wavy Line
Karim Abouelnaga

Founder of Practice Makes Perfect

Karim Abouelnaga is the founder of Practice Makes Perfect, a benefit corporation that works to narrow the achievement gap for low-income public schools. 

Editor's Pick

She's Been Coding Since Age 7 and Presented Her Life-Saving App to Tim Cook Last Year. Now 17, She's on Track to Solve Even Bigger Problems.
I Helped Grow 4 Unicorns Over 10 Years That Generated $18 Billion in Online Revenues. Here's What I've Learned.
Want to Break Bad Habits and Supercharge Your Business? Use This Technique.
Don't Have Any Clients But Need Customer Testimonials? Follow These 3 Tricks To Boost Your Rep.
Why Are Some Wines More Expensive Than Others? A Top Winemaker Gives a Full-Bodied Explanation.

Related Topics

Business News

Oscar Mayer Is Changing the Name of Its Iconic Wienermobile

The company is slamming the brakes on its wiener on wheels and rolling out a new meaty ride.


Take Your Social Media Earning Potential Sky-High With This $79.97 Quadcopter

Get this beginner-friendly drone for a great price for Father's Day.

Growing a Business

Subscribers Exclusive Event: Discover How These 2 Founders Turned Their Side Hustle into a Million-Dollar Lifestyle Brand

Learn how you can transform your personal brand into a thriving business empire with co-founders of The Skinny Confidential

Health & Wellness

Sleep Better, Snore Less, and Stay Cool with This Tech-Packed Pillow, Now $49.99

Let technology help you sleep better with this 8-in-1 cooling pillow.

Business Plans

How to Change Careers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Want to make a career change without compromising your finances or future? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to change careers to learn more.

Business News

'All Hell Is Going to Break Loose': Barbara Corcoran Issues Warning About Real Estate Market, Interest Rates

The "Shark Tank" star appeared on FOX Business' "The Claman Countdown" this week.