How do you find and build a talented start-up team with limited capital?
I have a start-up that offers unique and powerful technologies for business. I'm looking to grow the company without sacrificing equity at this stage, and would like to find and build a solid team that can see past the initial risks of starting a venture. Are there any resources, websites, or venues that you know of which would allow me to connect with the right levels of talent to bring aboard and other than money, what would entice them? I'm looking for sales and engineering professionals in the technology space... and I don't live in Silicon Valley.
I'd would like to offer some insight and a different perspective that many often miss when trying to build a team and get buy-in for their vision. They have to believe in you before they will believe what you believe.
In John Maxwell's book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Law 14: The Law of Buy-in states "People buy-in to the leader, then the vision." You are the message. When it comes to attracting team members, who you are (your character is most important) and what you know (your competency) is the secondary factor.
One way to validate this is to consider the principle that states, "people get hired for what they know, but they get fired for who they are." Most of us have seen this principle play out in our career. Someone joins the team, and they're awesome. Then, everyone gets to know them, and they're not so awesome. They tend to also be attracted to those others that are not so awesome.
Here are John's thoughts in a snapshot:
When followers don't like the leader or the vision....they look for another leader.
When followers don't like the leader but they do like the vision...they look for another leader.
When followers like the leader but not the vision...they change the vision.
When followers like the leader and the vision...they get behind both.
There's another law, The Law of Magnetism:, that states "Who you are is who you attract." For instance, someone with little energy that is seeking an energetic partner will never attract one. High energy people are attracted to high energy people, not low energy people. People that are not good with people don't attract people that are good with people.
Good luck sir! You have to always be who you want to attract.
I don't think Silicon valley is the only place to attract technology talent, but you may have more choices here. In building a team, you need evaluate the startup stage you are in. Co founder is something to consider, all most all startups have cofounders and all advisors suggest you to have a cofounder.Some startups initially bring in 1-2 key people and for them you'll have to cough up 2-3% of equity depending on where they are coming from and what relevant experience they bring to the table. The development teams are sometimes outsourced or contracted initially and as the product matures and you raise money, teams are hired. Talk to the people you are interested in hiring, ask them what would it take for them to join and make decisions accordingly.
Good question, Andrew, and a perpetual challenge for all entrepreneurs. Check out local meetups, hackathons, conferences, trade shows, and professional associations. These could be good resources to find talented people. Good luck!
there are options other than equity, You can offer a guaranteed position and salary when the company becomes profitable, let them become a board of directors and they can give you advice or even help you. This looks good for many graduates that want to bolster their resume. Start with friends that you may know in IT, Sales and Marketing, or even Legal. Giving up a little equity (Vested) as many state allow you to get someone on board and then only let them acquire the equity agreed upon after a year or two with the company. This protects you from someone leaving.
As a buyer, I'm good at sales and it depends upon the type of engineering you are seeking as to whether or not my skills match your requirements
Best of all, my services are Free of Charge! Interested?
Start with interns that are smart and are interested in working for you free until you can afford to pay them. If you have any extra cash give the interns a bonus. as you grow if you are good to your team they will be loyal to you.
When you are just beginning also remember it is a good idea to have a professional HR person to start things out right from the start with giving you all the information you need to be compliant. This individual can also help you find your interns.
That's a tough one since I have yet defeat the old saying you get what you pay for. Maybe try getting some college interns?
The problem is that you won't be able to form a solid team of good talent until you have or are willing to give them something meaningful in return.
I've always played the equity game. At the end of the day it's not that bad if you get a good team out of it. You could try a deferred compensation model, but I've never seen that work well. I just had to help a former partner negotiate his way out of a crappy one he got himself locked into.
Whatever you do be smart about it.
Andrew, I'm adding to what Jeff and Murali wrote...to get your talent, focus on the "why" of your business idea. What's the problem it is solving and how will it help people. How would it help me as a business owner? Get people fired up about what you're providing and how great it is. If you haven't yet, check out Simon Sinek`s TED talk on `how great leaders inspire action'. Good luck.
Break down the different characteristics you preceive as your need for a team. Your sales need may not have the technical knowledge, your techie may not have a sales orientation, etc. Butr if all the elements are in your team, then you have a foundation for success and your not looking to pull in a superstar, you are looking to build stars. Some of the best teams grew together from people with basic skills rather than being asembled from those already proven elsewhere.
The challenge on your part is to foster the climate for growth and synergy. Great teams need great leaders.