With a technology business, you can develop the next big app or create world-changing software. Alternatively, you might want to use your tech skills to become a supervillain. We're not here to judge.
Either way, grand plans require teamwork. So if you’re going to succeed, you need to know how to build a quality team. This is your five-step guide for doing just that.
1. Have a Vision (of World Domination)
As soon you hire your first employee, your business is no longer a purely personal vision – it's a team vision. “Make sure that it’s something you want to do that aligns with your business,” says
Eunice Kim, the
director of culture and talent at brand consultancy
Start refining that vision by asking…
- Why did you start the business?
- Do you want to delegate or stay hands-on?
- Do you have dreams of global reach or will you settle for a nice slice of the local market?
Take a moment to think about it. Consider if flying solo is cutting into your profit. Read about Napoleon and Bill Gates and Lex Luthor to get an idea about what world conquest entails.
Kim says if you’re going to build a worthwhile team, you’re going to need a compelling story, strong, inspiring leadership, and a company that employees can connect to. Be clear about who you are and what you’re doing, she says, and ask yourself, “What problem do we solve in this world?”
For example, the problem could be that people have trouble reading their electronic health records. Or it could be that you’re not Emperor of Earth.
2. Find the People (or Henchmen) who Will Propel You to Greatness
“Think very carefully about the skills required to get your company off the ground,” says
head of talent at
a growing SaaS company that creates timesheet management software. She suggests thinking about the following:
- Do you need generalists or highly experienced specialists?
- Do you need scrappy people who can do ten things at once or people who will focus on particular goals?
- Will the first year require quick execution or a slow and steady game plan?
Determine your short- and long-term needs, and let those inform the positions you create and the employees you take on. Do you need a money person? An overall go-getter? An explosives guy?
Keep in mind that you don’t need a full-time employee in every situation. “With more and more independent workers out there, you can ramp up or ramp down according to the needs of your business,” says organizational and cultural strategist
Karen Jaw-Madson (@KarenJaw),
principal at the independent consulting firm
Co.-Design of Work Experience.
Tip for the extra ambitious: if you’re thinking about hiring temporary mercenaries, consider calling them “freelancers.”
3. Use Your Strengths (and Mind-Control Powers) to Attract Talented Sidekicks
How do you find reliable, talented, and all-around awesome people to join your team?
- Start with your network. “People, not ideas, generally sell very early-stage companies,” says Dabby. “Eventually, between direct connections and word of mouth, you'll have a good founding team to get things going.”
- Be active in your industry community. “Get outside the four walls of your business,” says Kim. Send brand ambassadors to conferences and industry functions. As you start to grow, she also says it’s integral that you maintain strong hiring standards. “One great hire leads to another,” she notes.
- Highlight opportunities. “Smaller companies tend to have a ‘get it done’ attitude which many can flourish in,” says
president and founder of
a software company that helps businesses find search firms and headhunters. In smaller organizations, employees have more opportunities to make decisions and stretch themselves professionally.
- Use staffing firms. “Take advantage of third-party staffing firms,” says Bisceglia. “You may be able to leverage the knowledge of a recruiter to find that candidate who could possibly cover multiple needs.”
- Focus on your strengths and vision. Give employees a great cause to believe in, “one where they can make a difference and deliver on it,” says Jaw-Madson. “A small business can attract great talent if they can get excited about what the company is trying to achieve.”
With these steps, hard work, and a little bit of good luck, you should have your own team of minions in no time! Now on to how you train them.
4. Cultivate and Improve Your New Hires (with Experimental Science)
Seasoned veterans can offer leadership and really kick-start your operation. These are the folks whose advice and professionalism you’re paying for (and also the people who might overthrow you if you establish your own country on a private island shaped like a skull).
But certain jobs, and certain budgets, might call for greener hires.
Dabby notes that younger, less-experienced team members bring considerable soft skills and scrappiness to the table. “They'll make mistakes and they'll get stuck, but with a little mentorship and guidance, they will figure out how to move forward," she says. "In turn, you'll create a loyal, dedicated group of employees who are engaged, learning, and eager to tackle new challenges.”
In other words: the perfect minions.
Note: most states require employers (yes, even those of the supervillain variety) to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance. That's probably doubly true if your employees are supernaturally or scientifically altered to carry out your misdeeds.
5. Plan Your Growth (and Practice Your Maniacal Laughter)
As your business grows, you’ll run into new risks and new opportunities (which is a good reason to carry Professional Liability Insurance). Make sure you’re thinking about:
- Whether you can afford a new hire.
- How more staff will help you achieve your goals.
- What positions you need to take advantage of new opportunities.
- How you will provide training and development for your current staff.
- What you want your company culture to look like.
Keep these considerations in mind as you expand your business. It will help you and your employees achieve your business goals without going off course or over budget. Whether you’re a technology business owner with an inspiring dream or a villainous mastermind out for revenge, it’s advice worth heeding.