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How to build a great team for your business

  • UNDERSTAND THE STRENGTHS OF EACH INDIVIDUAL: It’s likely that your teammates will come from a variety of backgrounds. They’ll have different personalities and therefore different ideas about how to do their jobs. If you’re the team lead, it’s important to recognize this because having a deep understanding of people is worth its weight in gold. If you can enable each teammate to channel their strengths and shine in a way that benefits your business, then you’re on the right track.
  • EXPLAIN YOUR BUSINESS VISION: Start by setting the scene for your teammates. Let them know what they’re aiming for and help them to understand the goals of your business. Talk about the culture you want to build. Plant the seeds of your business culture in your workers’ minds so it grows and flourishes. Get them excited about being part of the team and the environment. Describe your future plans. Create a vision of where your team should be, six months, a year and two years from now.
  • GET YOUR TEAMMATES INVOLVED: It’s important to quickly get your teammates involved in the day-to-day running of your business. Keep them active and use their strengths to help them integrate and develop. Give them tasks right away. On the first day, your new teammates should already be doing useful work. Get them engaged right from the start. Challenge them. Help your teammates to push themselves. With their input, set timelines or specific goals for them to strive for.
  • DEFINE ROLES CLEARLY: Everyone needs to know their job – what’s expected of them and what’s not. If you don’t make this clear, the morale of your teammates will suffer, and progress and efficiency will be affected. For example, if one person is waiting for another to finish a task, but the other person doesn’t believe that task is part of their job description, progress will grind to a halt. So be sure to update roles and task lists frequently. Then your teammates will know what they’re supposed to be doing.
  • CONSIDER TEAM-BUILDING EXERCISES: Small businesses are often fast-paced environments. That means you need to get your team working together quickly. Team-building exercises can help, but there are some important points to consider. Budget carefully. Days off work will cost you money in terms of lost productivity, plus the cost of the team-building event itself. Examine all the options. Paintballing? Go-karting? Building log bridges over rivers? Ask your teammates which options they might prefer, but be prepared for many different answers.
  • RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF DIVERSITY: Complementary skill sets can mean contrasting personalities. For example (as a general rule only), salespeople tend to be extroverts while programmers and developers tend to be more introverted. That reflects the type of person drawn to each role and also the demands of the role itself. Trying to ‘fix’ these differences by saying everyone’s the same will not work. In fact, it’s likely to backfire badly. At best you’ll annoy your teammates, at worst you’ll breach diversity and equality legislation.
  • EXTEND YOUR TEAM BEYOND YOUR BUSINESS: Think beyond the four walls of your business premises. Your team can be more than the people you hire directly. Make the most of your outside contacts. Ask guest speakers to meet with your team. Talks on anything from organizational psychology to technical matters can help inform your team and improve their skills. Share development ideas with customers and key business partners. If you’re gearing up for major investment, make sure your customers and business partners are ready for it.
  • LET YOUR TEAM KNOW THAT YOU VALUE THEM: This is important and quite straightforward. You simply have to take an interest in your staff. Show them you care. Learn about things like their family, personal life, or hobbies. Focus on their personal growth. Think about enhancing your teammates’ skill-sets and management skills. Know their career goals and help them get there. Invest in your teammates. Give them the support and tools they need to be successful. This could include things like a healthy working environment, the right technical equipment, etc.
  • IDENTIFY PROBLEMS EARLY: You may have people who are having (or causing) problems in your business. The reasons for this might include issues with their home life, financial problems, or other personal hardships. In this situation, you must tread carefully and follow all local laws, especially those relating to privacy and employment rights. Seek professional advice if necessary. Sometimes people just won’t fit into your culture, which is again why making the right teammate choice is so important.
  • UNDERSTAND NEGATIVE TEAM DYNAMICS: There are other influences that can prevent a team from becoming successful. These include an unwillingness to change, inability to work together, too many individual projects, too much individual recognition, competing agendas, and top-down talk and micro-management. Saying “Do this, do that” is usually less effective than setting a goal and letting the team achieve it on their own. Favoring some team members above others will cause resentment. Be aware of these problems, and do what you can to prevent them.
  • USE YOUR PEOPLE SKILLS TO BUILD YOUR TEAM: For your team to thrive you must be approachable, friendly, authoritative, and responsible. In other words, you must be a good manager and a good leader. You may need the training to help you become a better manager and there’s no shame in that. Running a business is a learning process – and just like your teammates, you can learn and improve. After all, the better you are at managing people, the better your team will perform and the faster your business will grow.

You should be able to answer these questions

  • Who are the key people in your organization?
  • What are their responsibility, skills, and competencies?
  • What benefits do you offer to your employees?
  • Why are you and your team members the perfect team to lead this startup?
  • Why you are the best fit to solve the identified customer problem?
  • What skills or experiences demonstrate that you will be able to attract money, people, and other resources to your organization?
  • How do you split the shares between the team members?
  • How do you ensure it is equitable?

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