When you dreamed of starting your own business, you probably envisioned yourself at the helm of pretty much everything: operations, sales, financials, marketing and more. And once the dream of having a business becomes a reality, you'll probably be tempted to try your hand at everything, and if you're part of an entrepreneurial partnership, then you may choose to divide all business responsibilities between you and your partner(s).
Using this approach can be a cheap and maybe even efficient way to get things rolling. After all, this can limit your concerns about employee salaries and benefits and you won't have to worry about onboarding processes or employee learning curves.
But what you may save in up-front outlay, you're likely to soon spend in physical and mental exhaustion, inexpertly completed tasks and forgotten or neglected business moves. The fact is, in order to be successful, most types of businesses need a team -- a carefully curated group of people whose remits, strengths and areas of expertise balance and play well off one another. Below, we give you our top five steps for building the right team for your business.
Make your business plan your bible
If you've gotten as far as starting the business you dreamed of, you've very likely written and honed a solid business plan. Now is not the time to get creative and stray from it. On the contrary; when hiring, reacquaint yourself with your original mission and goals. Read and reread that plan. If you have investors or a loan, ask yourself what made those people give you money and why they thought you were likely to succeed. Any team you build must be in line with those perceptions.
Perhaps the pitch that landed you the funds of an established angel investor was your commitment to a flat organizational structure. Suddenly creating and hiring a gargantuan, C-level-heavy team, then, would be a bad idea. Remain true to your roots and raison d'etre when considering whom to hire.
Take (and hire) only what you need
Grandma was onto something when she told you not to waste, and her warning should be heeded in business as well as at the dinner table. When creating an organizational structure/team and beginning to hire, don't fall prey to the HR version of FOMO by bringing in expensive talent you don't need just because someone's creds would look good on your website. Jane Smith may have gone to Wharton and successfully led three start-ups through IPO -- but if you're a local, mobile dog-grooming business, you probably don't need (and likely can't afford) her.
Instead, consider the day-to-day functions of your business. What skills or services will help ensure that your business is successful? If you're that local dog-grooming operation, in addition to groomers and drivers, you're likely to need an experienced marketer, a salesperson, and an accountant. A chief technology officer? Not so much, at least not for now.
Your personnel requirements, that is. When it comes to location, given the host of free and affordable virtual-meeting tools that abound, there's little argument left for demanding that everyone on your team be local and meet in the same leased office every day from 9 to 5. In addition to costing less than traditional employees, remote workers allow you the option of bringing in talent irrespective of physical location. So if the best financial analyst for your particular business is on the opposite coast with no desire to move, don't let that be a barrier to hiring him or her.
And if your business is not location-specific, consider extending that flexibility to office space. Leasing dedicated, full-time office suites can be a huge financial and logistical headache. Eliminate this -- and gain access to multiple prime locations rather a single, fixed spot -- by using shared, virtual, and/or temporary spaces. In the D.C. area, Metro Offices has been the leader in these kinds of office spaces for more than 25 years. Compare the cost of running your own office with the cost of letting Metro Offices do the work for you.
Be open to possibilities
It's no secret that in recent years recruiters in all fields are turning to social media as one of the first steps in their searches for talent. Of course, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter should be staples in your arsenal as you look to pick the right people for your business. But don't be so beholden to all things digital that you overlook meeting people the good, old-fashioned way -- through the normal patterns of your daily life. Case in point: A colleague found the person she would later hire as an IT consultant after meeting his close friend while walking her dog.
Start to look at even your non-work-related routine as opportunities to expand your network. Do you like the purse of the woman in front of you at Starbucks? Tell her so and make her morning -- and maybe find your business' website developer.
In keeping with the theme of our first bit of advice, when building your company's team, look for ways to economize while still doing what's best for the business. There's no reason everyone you bring on board has to be a full-time employee or even an employee at all. Perhaps you have a lead on someone you think would be perfect for a crucial role in your new business, but they already work as an independent contractor on several other projects. Provided they have the time you need from them, why not take them on as a freelancer yourself?
In recent years freelancing has grown by leaps and bounds, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The advantages for both sides of the equation are significant. For the party offering the work, using freelancers is much more cost-effective than hiring full employees. For the independent contractor, there are tax benefits, the ability to pick and choose the work taken and the convenience of a flexible schedule.
When considering the people you need in your business, think necessity, agility, and cost-effectiveness. Don't scrimp where it counts, but don't overpay when a high spend isn't needed, either. Every business is unique. The team you build should be, too.
Looking for office space? MetroOffices has been the leader in fully appointed, ultra-convenient shared, temporary and virtual office space in and around D.C. for more than a quarter century. Browse our locations today.