The Founder’s Guide to Building a World-Class Team
As a startup founder, you are responsible for putting together a team that can turn your vision into reality. A great team can help you overcome any challenge, while a poorly matched team can make even the simplest task seem impossible.
The key to assembling a world-class team is to start by setting clear objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your company. Once you know what you need to achieve, you can begin to identify the skills and experience your team will need to get the job done.
Setting Objectives and KPIs for Your Startup
In order to ensure your startup’s success, it is essential to set clear objectives and KPIs from the outset. Objectives will help you measure progress and identify whether you are on track to achieve your goals, while KPIs will enable you to track key metrics and performance indicators.
There are a few things to keep in mind when setting objectives and KPIs for your startup:
- Define what success looks like. What does success mean for your business? Without a clear definition, it will be difficult to set meaningful objectives.
- Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. Your objectives should be specific enough that you can measure progress towards them. They should also be achievable, relevant to your business, and have a defined timeframe.
- Make sure your objectives are aligned with your business strategy. Your objectives should support your overall business strategy. If they don’t, you may need to rethink your objectives.
- Review and adjust your objectives as needed. As your business grows and changes, so should your objectives. Periodically review your objectives to make sure they’re still relevant and achievable.
- Choose KPIs that are aligned with your objectives. Your KPIs should support your overall business objectives and if they don’t, you may need to rethink your KPIs.
- Identify the metrics that matter most*. What data points will give you the clearest picture of your progress? Choose a few key metrics and focus on tracking them closely.
- As with your company’s objectives, make sure your KPIs are SMART. Without specificity, it’s impossible to measure progress. And without a defined timeframe, it’s difficult to set goals and track progress.
- Set goals for each KPI. Once you’ve identified the KPIs that matter most, set goals for each one. This will help you track progress and ensure that everyone on your team is working towards the same objectives.
*There are countless KPIs that you could track, but not all of them will be relevant or actionable for your business. Here are some resources to help you identify the KPIs that matter most for your startup:
In addition to the actual KPIs that you can track, there are several software programs that can help you aggregate and visualize your data so what’s pressing is more apparent. After discussions with some of our portfolio companies’ founders, we complied a few examples of what they use:
- Segment: Lets developers and companies break down data silos and build a complete picture of their customer
- Amplitude: Product analytics tool that answers what happened, why, and which actions to take next.
- FullStory: Combine quantitative and qualitative data for comprehensive understanding to perfect your digital experience.
- Google Data Studio: Data Studio is a free tool that turns your data into informative, easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable dashboards and reports
- Big Query: Serverless, highly scalable, and cost-effective multicloud data warehouse designed for business agility.
- Hub Spot KPI Software: Build dashboards, create automated reporting, and track KPIs to measure how your teams are performing and drive improvement over time.
- Lastly, here is a clip from the founder of Segment, Ilya Volodarsky, on the importance of setting up and utilizing KPIs to measure success.
Building the Right Team for Your Startup
The objectives and KPIs you set can help you identify what team members you need in order to succeed. Do you need a sales team? A marketing team? A customer service team? Once you’ve identified the types of team members you need, you can begin to build your team. Here are a few tips for recruiting top talent:
- Look for overall fit. When screening potential team members, it is important to look for more than just the right skills and experience – dig into the candidate’s attributes, affinity, and goals. You want to make sure that each team member is passionate about your company and its mission. They should be committed to seeing your startup succeed.
- Think outside the box. The best team members don’t always come from the most obvious places. Sometimes the people who are the perfect fit for your team are those who don’t necessarily have all the right credentials on paper. Considering candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences can be beneficial. Additionally, freelancers, contractors, and other non-traditional employees might be a good fit for your team as they may possess a “go get em” attitude.
- Maintain open communication. Once you have your team in place, encourage each member to share their ideas and thoughts freely, and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to company goals. It is also important to give each team member the opportunity to collaborate with others, as this can help spark creativity and novel solutions.
- Set targets for your team. Just as you set objectives and KPIs for your company, it is important to do the same for your team. Your team’s goals should align with the company’s objectives, and each team member should have their own individual goals as well. This will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same result.
- Hold your team accountable. Once everyone is aware of their goals, it is important to hold each member accountable. This means setting regular check-ins and reviews and providing feedback on a regular basis, ensuring your team members stay motivated and focused.
Building an effective team takes time, so don’t expect to get it right on the first try. Be patient as you search for the right people and be willing to make changes to your team if it is not working out. It is also important to be flexible in your approach, as the needs of your startup will change over time. The most important thing to remember is that your team is the foundation of your business – without them, your startup will not be successful. Investing the time and effort into building a strong team will pay off in the long run.
Do you already have an effective team in place? Click here to read our Elevate Perspective on Leading Employees in a Growing Startup.
Check out these upcoming events to learn more about building an effective team:
- April 20: Your Team Beyond the W2
- April 26: Incentives for Attracting Top Talent