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Financial, Legal, Insurance & Management ServicesHow to put together a great team - some things we learned
I cannot say much about finding the right co-founders, because my co-founder is my brother: i did not have to look out for him, i would not have found a startup without him and it is a situation that does not apply to very many people. With the rest of our team we were really lucky, but we also had to learn.
The advantages of founding with family members is: you know each other and when you get really pissed at each other - you are still family and usually you have experience in coming to terms after a fight. That is unique with family.
I am really glad, that i did not have to look for a co-founder on the market. I believe there are a lot of risks: you do not really know the other person, but you get involved into something which is always risky with people you do not really know. So apart from really making sure, that you all have the same dreams and wishes, what you want to achieve with the startup, you should also trust your feeling. You will be spending a lot of time with your co-founders, it is not a good start, if you do not like each other.
Apart from co-founders, there are a lot of people you will be working with until your startup is up and running. And there are a lot of different ways of getting to know people who might be interesting for your team. The best way really is, to network. Get to know many people from your business, talk to other startups, companies and business people. You never know, who knows someone, who is just the person you need. And there is nothing better than a person you trust recommending a new employee.
There is one other thing, i personally recommend: do not set toooo much store about the university degree of the person you are considering for a position. I have a PhD myself and come from strategic consulting - some of those guys won’t even talk to people without a certain degree. As a founder I learned, that some of the best people I ever worked with, have no degree at all. Of course it is important, that you find people who know what they are doing - but starting up a business is much about doing and not so much about theory.
A bit of luck is always part of startup-life - so good luck in finding the right people at the right time!
Thank you, Susanna, for your view points on building a solid and constructive team.
I very much agree that in the past too much emphasis was set on the formal training an employee went through and the evaluation of it.
This is all hard skills. Usefull for someone when he/she is well able to apply them. The ability to apply knowledge and experience is a combination of soft skills.
This is far more important nowadays. Knowledge and scientific experience go through significant changes a few times in a year.
The expertise knowledge for your job cannot be the one you have obtained from your studies but can be acquired in the course of your work.
It is the way you gather new informations, how you treat them and share them in the right way with others in the team, the department within the firm and with your customers (soft skills).
Many teams corrupted themselves by gathering best informations without the required structure and an appropriate handling.
A basic step would be to create the right "spirit" in the firm.
In fact, Susanna, you´ve inspired me for a new article on this subject.
All the best