Almost every start-up was born from the idea of an individual or as a joint entrepreneurial adventure of two or three founders. But from the moment you want to grow, your team needs to scale with it. The continued success of your start-up hinges on how you approach it. The importance of a good team is often underestimated. It can make your start-up fail if it’s crooked, but also take it so much further when the gears fit together properly.
One plus one is three. Even in a start-up!
So why is a good team so important, and where does the growth power come from? The biggest part is in the one-plus-one-is-three effect. A talented individual can move mountains. But a talented and well-run team can redraw the entire landscape. The combined effect of working together produces more beautiful things than the sum of individual successes.
“A good idea doesn’t survive a bad team, whereas a good team can make practically any idea work.”
A well-functioning team will also take you much further than you would initially: teams consisting of complementary personalities are empowering; they inspire each other and pull the other out of each other’s comfort zone. In this way, they come up with many new ideas and solutions, which they would probably never come up with as individuals.
How do you make a good team?
Building a high-functioning team starts early in your hiring process. Keep the following in mind:
- Clearly define which profiles you need. Make sure there’s enough variety. Not only in terms of job title and skills, but also in terms of personality! Make sure you work with complementary types.
- Go for the best candidates, but don’t just look at skills and experience. Also pay close attention to mentality and motivation. Select partly on personality and focus on that already during the application.
- Communicate openly and clearly and make sure communication within the team is too. Avoid misunderstandings and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Set clear goals and achievable targets for the entire team. Make sure everyone is behind it and that they are understandable and realistic (yet ambitious!).
- Inspiring leadership is crucial! While a horizontal structure is very popular in the startup scene and with small businesses, you still need to make sure there is a clear leadership figure that the rest of the team can rally behind. This is often the founder or CEO, but that is not always necessarily the case.
- Give plenty of feedback and schedule regular reviews. Make adjustments if things are not going well and dare to tackle the obstacles.
How do you maintain a good team?
Motivated and talented employees are sometimes snatched up and by nature are always interested in new challenges. So make sure you don’t lose them and ruin your well-functioning team in the process! Some tips:
- It may sound corny and is probably not your biggest priority, but make sure there is enough fun in your business! Create a pleasant working atmosphere and ensure that your employees are eager to come to the office. Of course there are stressful moments and periods when things have to go fast, but compensate for those moments by allowing and offering relaxation too, in the form of after-work drinks, team building sessions, etc.
- Invest in a solid and honest company culture from the start, and hire people who fit into that culture.
- Let your team grow with you. Make sure they can keep developing their skills and discover new talents if they want to.
Build a great team and execute big
Building good and sustainable teams is not something you do overnight. On December 7, 2017, we hosted the event Build a great team and execute big. We invited Bart Vancoppenolle, who has helped companies like Teamleader grow from 6 to over 50 employees. Jonas from Daltix at Birdhouse also came to talk about his experience with teams. Finally, Hannah, CEO of AreTheyHappy from the first batch of the accelerator program, came to share her experiences on how she grew her team.