Usually, when we think of startups, we think of the driven and inspiring individuals that create the new venture. Of course, crucial though those founders undoubtedly are, the success of the startup often rests as much on the remainder of the founding team as it does on the founder themselves.
The importance of your team
It reveals that the success of a new venture often depends on the ability of the founder to attract a great team around him or her.
“A founder’s individual characteristics are important but what’s more important is that person’s ability to bring a bigger and more experienced team with them,” the researchers say. “And the bigger that team the more likely the firm will succeed.”
The researchers used census data to analyze employers in the legal services sector to try and spot any patterns in who was spinning out new ventures.
As such, they were able to monitor the lawyers who went off to start a new company, together with the people they managed to take with them. When combined with the future performance of that new company, they could venture a guess as to how important the team was to that success.
Experience is key
The results revealed that the talents of the founder were much less important than those of the team they managed to attract to come with them.
“If you have experienced employees who have worked together for a long time it will boost a spin-out’s ability to start quickly and operate smoothly. They will be able to really hit the ground running,”
The findings underline the crucial role teams play in the success of a venture. We can go some way to explain why it is increasingly common for recruiters to look at bringing in talent rather than merely certain individuals. It also helps to explain why the last few years have seen a number of startups acquired despite them having little revenue to speak of.
How to pick your perfect team
How can you go about ensuring you pick the right people to take with you? Here are a few things to consider.
- Identify your weak spots – most people have particular strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you’re a technical wizard, it might be wise to consider bringing with you people with business or operational skills. Try and identify the skills you have, and the skills you need as early as possible
- Identify time commitments – ideally, your co-founders would be full-time, but it might not be possible, so try and identify early on whether you need them full-time or not. A part-timer you’re confident it is often better than a full-timer you’re not
- Identify potential candidates – think of their experience and whether this compliments what you already have on board.
- Have the conversation – it’s likely that you already know them well, so a formal interview is not required. But you will still need to make a formal offer to them.