Living the life of an entrepreneur is exciting, challenging, rewarding and fun, and when it comes time to take your ideas and business to the next level – choosing the right team can make or break your path to success. Finding the right people to partner with or hire isn’t easy, so here are some things to look for as you assemble your own dream team:
1. SYNERGY: I know it’s a buzzword, and I’m not real big on buzzwords, but synergy is the #1 thing to look for when picking your startup partners. Unless you’re starting an accounting firm, there is very little reason for an accountant to form a partnership with two accountants who have no other major business skills. You want to find people who compliment your skill sets, and fill in the gaps that will be crucial to your business.
2. TRUST: No matter how good of a job you do at picking your partners, there is always the potential for something to go wrong. People change, situations change, and people have a tendency to behave differently when money starts rolling in, so you may not be able to foresee the future in that regards. However, if you are even remotely uncertain about the trustworthiness or the ability of your partners to get the job done at the onset of starting your business, my advice is to protect yourself the best way you can by not getting involved. No level of intellect, experience or dedication is a substitute for honesty and trust in business. And, your intution is usually stronger than you think.
3. EXPERIENCE: This is a tough one, because many fantastic businesses have been started by young people with a big brain, a dynamic personality, and very little business experience. However, the people who can make that happen the first time around are few and far between and you will likely have to have a certain level of experience in business to avoid common pitfalls with your startup. If you don’t, you will be best served by partnering with someone who can help you in this area. Or, if you are the person with all that experience, you might be fine to pair up with someone who is young, energetic, and eager to learn from you. Either way, make sure your leadership as a whole has enough experience to get you through each of your crucial business stages.
4. COMPATIBILITY: Simply put, some people get along and some people don’t. I’m a pretty good guy and I think all of my friends are pretty good people, too. But, that doesn’t mean that all of them get along with each other, even though I get along with each of them just fine. Some people are Type A or B; some people are a Type that deserves a letter further down the alphabet, if you get my drift. It’s important to pick people you get along with for your partnership. Later, you can’t expect every employee you hire to be your best friend. But, when you’ve got 2, 3 or 4 people starting a business, you’re going to spend a tremendous amount of time together. If you wouldn’t spend an hour or two at a bar or on the golf course with each of your partners, chances are, 14 hours crammed into a proposal writing session is going to suck. Make sure your personalities are compatible and you should be fine in this area.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing partners for your business, but I think these four sit at the top. If you have any other criteria you think deserve a place in the Top 5 or 10 , I’d love to hear about it.
EVP of Sales and Marketing, StartupArmy.com
Startup Army is a team of consultants highly-trained in turning ideas into products, sites into conversion machines and platforms into profits. Our team can turn a concept into a scalable product design, develop it, create your marketing roll-out strategy and execute on it while training your team on how to take over when the dust settles.