Building a Founding Team

Nov 16, 2022
building a founding team, getting the right people, the importance of building a team in a startup. Complimentary skills when building a startup team.

How important is it to have a good team when starting a new company or project?

Starting a new venture is a big step, especially if you don’t have much experience. The success of your business depends largely on the quality of your team. A well-structured team can increase productivity, improve communication skills, and reduce stress levels. In addition, having a great team can also boost morale and create a positive environment where everyone feels valued.

Why You Need a Team

Building a startup requires a lot of different skillsets, including business development, sales, marketing, design, engineering, and much more. But perhaps the most important skill set is leadership.

To build a successful startup, you need to surround yourself with talented individuals who share your vision and values. When recruiting employees, look for candidates who are passionate about your idea and willing to put in the extra effort needed to succeed.

Your team needs to be able to communicate effectively, both internally and externally. Having a diverse group of people with various backgrounds and experiences will allow you to tap into multiple perspectives and ideas.

It's also important to have a clear strategy for growth. Make sure that you have a plan for scaling your business and hiring additional staff members. Having a solid foundation will help you avoid making costly mistakes along the way.

The most successful entrepreneurs are those who build teams that complement each other's strengths. They're not just looking for a technical cofounder; they're looking for someone who has complementary skills that can make significant contributions to the rest of the team.

How to Build an All-Star Startup Team

You're going to go through thick and thin with these people, so building up an all-start team is critical for both achieving a successful outcome business-wise, but to also make sure that you have the opportunity to enjoy the journey. Bringing on the wrong people can lead to disaster. If you hate working with someone 24/7/365 you or your co-founder(s) will quickly experience both burnout and potentially experience a blow-up.

You may have an awesome idea. Executing on capturing that opportunity is key, and having a team that offsets your weaknesses, and brings a variety of ideas they can contribute to the startup as well can go a long way in increasing the possibility of success.

Selecting a Co-Founder

Okay so if you're starting a business alone right now and you're thinking, where can I find the perfect co-founder - you first need to take a real hard look in the mirror to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Measure that up with what resources you currently need in order to get the startup up and running and you should have an idea of what kind of co-founder you need to look for. 

Are you an introvert, that's got a highly technical background that can fully build a product by yourself over a period of time? Perhaps the counter to your skills is finding someone that has a sales or marketing background - someone that can help share the story, that can get the word out there to drive initial sales. 

The same could be said for the exact opposite, whereby you have an extroverted hustler that is wanting to build something so you need to find technical co-founders. Keep in mind, anyone can be a startup founder. But no one is perfect, meaning, if you don't have all of the necessary skills to make the venture move forward, it's critical you bring in other people to be a part of the founding team.

Not only does the team need to have complementary skill sets that offsets everyone's individual weaknesses, but you generally need to be able to work as a cohesive unit. There will be a plenty of late night brainstorming sessions, so you need to be able to gel well so that the company culture from day one is a nurturing and welcoming environment for new ideas to take place.

Where Can I Find a Co-Founder?

First, check your own personal network. If you're working a 9-5 in a larger corporation, and you've been there for 8+ years you've gathered a lot of industry experience. You know how the key players operate and if you have an idea how to disrupt that industry, a co-worker or colleague might be a good fit. 

The best co-founder is someone that you know and trust, someone you know you'd enjoy working with. Sometimes this could be a friend or family member. The caveats about founders that you already have a relationship with in some way also comes with a risk. There are plenty of horror stories of huge blow ups that occur and your relationship with your business partner who happens to be a brother or a spouse can become strained. It's an additional element to decide on when you take on a family or friend as a co-founder, if everything goes belly up in the business are you confident your relationship can stay in tact... is this a risk you want to take?

I mean really at the end of the day it comes down to meeting with the right people, and getting those people on board. There are plenty of professional networks geared toward first-time founders looking for a co-founder with complementary skills and diverse backgrounds. If you don't have anyone in your own network that you think could be a potential fit it then comes down to putting yourself out there and meeting new people.

Here are some helpful resources online to help you find a co-founder:




Indie Hackers

I would encourage you to also look locally, there are usually nonprofits that are geared toward supporting startups and entrepreneurs in general. They'll hold events, workshops and networking opportunities where you can probably meet someone helpful.

What Does An Ideal Founding Team Look Like?

There's no right or wrong here. It's all about evaluating the core roles that you need from the onset until you're able to start filling out a larger team once you get revenue and financing coming in. From the early days it's about finding dedicated people with individual characteristics you yourself lack. People you can rely on to contribute the executing your business strategy and providing input to make executing on the mission that much more likely to succeed.

Who can help you from an early stage get customers on board? Early-stage startups need a strong founding team, no single person can make everything possible. Even the famous founders were not alone, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Bill Gates had Paul Allen. Mark Zuckerberg had Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The list goes on here. The main point is everyone on the team contributes to the strategic thinking of the company. It's about bringing a diversity of skills together in order to build a robust and cooperative team able to problem solve and execute on what needs to get done.

10 Tips When Building Your Startup Team

So how do you go about building a team that will help your company succeed? Here are some tips:

1. Hire people who share your vision.

It may seem obvious, but you need to hire people who share your values and vision for the future. This means hiring people with similar backgrounds as yours, so they understand what you want to accomplish. It also means looking at their past work and seeing whether they were successful in previous projects. If not, why did they fail? What could they learn from this failure? You might be able to use these lessons to avoid making the same mistakes yourself.

2. Find out what motivates them.

Once you find someone who shares your vision, you should ask him/her about his/her motivation. Why does he/she want to join your team? What makes him/her tick? Is there something more than money that drives him/her? These questions will give you insight into what kind of person you’re dealing with.

3. Make sure they know what they’re getting into.

Before you start recruiting, make sure all members of your team know exactly what they’re signing up for. They should know what responsibilities each member has, what they’ll be expected to achieve, and what the goals of the company are. Also, make sure they know what the compensation structure is like.

4. Give them room to grow.

You shouldn’t expect your employees to become experts overnight. Instead, let them develop slowly over time. When they show potential, reward them accordingly. But don’t push them too hard. Let them take their own time to get comfortable with their roles.

5. Create an open culture.

You should always keep your doors open to new ideas. That way, your team can come up with creative solutions to problems. And since everyone knows everything, no one will feel left out.

6. Be transparent.

When you’re working together, you should communicate openly and honestly. Don’t hide anything from your team. Tell them what you’re doing, what you hope to accomplish, and what obstacles you face along the way. By being honest, you’ll gain trust and respect from your team.

7. Set clear expectations.

Your team needs to know what to expect from you. So before you start working together, set clear expectations for both sides. For example, tell your team what you expect from them, such as completing tasks by a certain deadline. Then, hold them accountable for meeting those expectations.

8. Get feedback.

Feedback is important. Ask your team for suggestions and advice. Listen to their opinions and incorporate their input into your plans.

9. Keep it simple.

Keep things simple when communicating with your team. Use plain language and avoid jargon. Avoid using acronyms unless you really need to.

10. Have fun!

Having fun while working together is essential. After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time together. So make sure you enjoy each other’s company. Share jokes, play games, or watch movies together.

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