Winning team

How to create a winning team during startup

by Mike Boorn Plener

Depending on what your business does, vastly different skill sets are required for success. What’s certain is you can’t do everything yourself.

So what do you do during the early stages of a business when there are more tasks than there are hands? The answer: build a team of people with the core skills you’ll need for great outcome. Here’s what you should look out for:   

Public relations and sales: Whether it’s online or on the ground, you’re going to need someone who is great at selling stuff – whether it’s building stakeholder relationships, selling an actual product or convincing new customers that your business is the right way to go. Selecting the right person with the right sales experience is a big task, but it’s important you get it right. Think about what kind of skills your business really needs and start your search from there.

Marketing: Marketing makes the world go round. And with the domination of social and digital media, you need a great marketing strategy from day one. Make sure your marketing partner has broad experience that incorporates digital and social media, and make sure the experience covers conversion. Having a pretty website seldom generates sales – you need to understand what will make people click through and buy your product. This will make a big difference to your bottom line.

Systems: If you want to scale rapidly you need systems. You can’t do without them. The problem is, most people don’t think of this as a role. But it’s a crucial one when you want to expand beyond the attic or garage.

Think of invoicing, for example. If you write an invoice every day and you need to do it manually, it’s no big deal. When you suddenly grow and do 40 sales a day, imagine if you’re still doing each invoice manually. That’s why a lack of systems is the greatest inhibitor of growth.

Deep expertise: Whether you’re selling machinery to farms, tracking satellites over Siberia or developing an iPhone app, you need to ‘know your stuff’. It’s absolutely essential that you have the core expertise of what you do in-house. If you don’t, people will look right through it.

There are some other roles and skills you’ll need on your team, such as finance and administration, but these are secondary and rarely impact your success in the early stages.

The best way to make sense of all this is to write down every role there possibly is in your business, and then look at who will take care of each. During the early stages of a business, expect a small team of people with multiple roles. As your business grows, you’ll be able to build teams with specific skill sets, with team leaders working together to achieve business objectives. 

Need more? Here’s a reference list of all the roles you may need:

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Mike Boorn Plener

Mike Boorn Plener

After building two successful consulting companies, Mike Boorn Plener used his 20+ years’ experience in marketing and business development to establish Business Connector, which helps develop and grow small to medium sized business through networking events and business tools.

ANZ have asked me to blog for them. The opinions expressed here are my own and not those of ANZ.

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