To convert an idea into a successful venture, startups need to be equipped to scale. They need to act fast and take first-mover advantage to compete in the dynamic market. To achieve this, they need a team that is driven to help them achieve the organizational goals. Hiring a reliable team is an all-encompassing issue where startups dive in head-first but fail to optimize it for success.
Mike Wiacek, CEO at Stairwell, Mo Jebrini, CTO at Mashvisor, and Michael Ermolenko, CTO at Inworld.ai, discuss with Helene Ambiana, Global SMB and Startups Marketing Director at Google Cloud, how they overcame the hurdles of scaling and reached their goals.
Build an irreplaceable team
Teams are the foundation of all successful projects. Hiring an expert produces 1000x better results than someone with interests elsewhere.
“A team that shares your vision is the one that contributes to 90% of your success.” – Michael Ermolenko
Subject experts have first-hand experience with real-world challenges and know how to steer ideas toward stellar execution. As a team grows, so do the expectations. Hiring in a streamlined manner with a rigorous selection process initially builds momentum for long-term goals.
Over 80 new startups emerge daily, and a team who can add perspective to a cloud of ideas, and be proficient at planning, organizing, directing, and taking countermeasures for any mistakes stands out. Before startups scale, they should know the “what, why, and how” of their needs.
Scale quickly and be receptive to changes
Once you build your startup and find a befitting market, your team should grow, and the organizational framework will become more complex.
As the workload of an organization intensifies, it’s essential for people with adjusting personalities to join the team. Initially, startups need to hire people with a broad range of skills who can do it all. As their brand awareness increases, they need to find more “scale” people with expansive industry knowledge and a desire to help their startup increase its brand value, build better customer relations, and convert more leads.
“Startups have ups and downs. Gain as many ups as you can.” – Mike Wiacek
Startups have to scope out the hidden agendas from the start. Internal sabotage can be a pivotal challenge and hard to eliminate once rooted deep in the planning stages. For a SaaS brand, it’s about testing and building cohesive experiment schedules for quarters, weeks, and months. This ensures harmony in both personal and organizational goals.
It’s essential to have open feedback sessions and ensure all team members contribute to the projects equally. Growth and scaling are both pathways to success. Scaling meticulously from the start saves cost and time.
Turn hurdles into opportunities
In the race for many startups to become unicorns, obstructions can be the elements to help them stand out. The goal is not to back away from uncertainty, financial setbacks, or resource scarcity but to create solutions.
“Always be the glass-half-full startup.” – Mike Wiacek
Living in an unpredictable economy with tectonic digital shifts, optimism is the only way to cushion your startup from failure. To gear up your team for changes, help the top management see the light at the end of the tunnel. They’ll become the torchbearers for the team and bring commendable ideas to avoid pitfalls. This approach reduces employee turnover and garners loyalty.
Avoid common pitfalls
Many startups need to address the challenges right in front of their eyes. Building a customer retention system, CRM mechanisms, or a flawless interface is not a priority in the early business-building stages. A startup’s first priority is to find a team, understand the market, find the gaps, and fill those with indigenous solutions.
The best ways to avoid such barriers are:
- Be quick to perceive what’s beneficial or harmful. A SWOT analysis can help study internal and external links that affect operational efficiency. Using assessment tools and real-time data to build a strategic action plan increases productivity.
- Plan before your team expands. Startups should operate like they’re already successful. If you’re an expert at organizing two-person meetings with the founder, you should also develop skills to command 50 people in a conference room. Assess your current team, read your mission statement to estimate a number you see your team expanding to, then practice all meetings, announcements, developments, and tests with that number in mind.
- Balance feedback with your vision. You’ll get many suggestions and feedback along the way. But not every feedback needs action, and not every suggestion requires an application. To establish credibility, you’ll want to forge your own path.
Scaling is challenging, but risks like these should be an internal growth component. As you hire more people, the more insights you’ll have from experience and trials. Startups must always focus on KPIs to better understand what an employee can do. Accordingly, training programs to hone new skills should be introduced.
The foundation of startup success is an equally driven team, so be quick to incentivize problem-solving actions. When employees are rewarded, they’re motivated to work harder and contribute more ideas as they’re appreciated and not suppressed. Startups initially struggle to offer the same salaries or benefits as larger companies, but a reward system can counter this disadvantage and attracts top talent.