It takes a village to raise a startup

How building the right team can help your startup learn the hard lessons the easy way.

How building the right team can help your startup learn the hard lessons the easy way.

‘People will never go out of business’ - Michael Scott, The Office.

Once upon a time, there was a startup. Ambitious, dreamy-eyed, naive. The startup got a lot of things wrong. But it did get one thing right. It only hired or partnered with people from their circle of friends and acquaintances who were: trustworthy, talented, mature and understanding. It respected their process and expected them to bring their best to work everyday. And they all lived happily ever after.

How often have you heard THAT story? I think often enough, but without taking notice. Mark Zuckerberg might still have been just an arrogant little upstart with a bigger mouth than his ideas had it not been for Eduardo Saverin’s business development efforts. Would Steve Jobs be a household name today, but for Steve Wozniak’s genius? We’ll never know.

The great thing about founding a startup is you get to choose the people you work with everyday. If you’re really lucky, your first choice sticks. Its incredibly easy to choose well, but it means you have to invest in your network long before you take that entrepreneurial leap. It helps to be surrounded by people smarter, saner, and more practical than you. A young company can only handle so much craziness right? Hopefully as a founder you supply enough crazy juice to keep the machine running even during a down-cycle. A smart, sensible and talented team keeps you grounded and helps you learn the hard lessons, that startups must learn, the easy way.

It seemed like serendipity when I found the talent I was looking for (to build IndyRise’s first digital product) among people in my immediate circle of friends. But it may not have been. Being vocal about my passions whether at work or in life on social media for the last many years helped me build an engaged audience that quickly responds to my queries. Participating as a beta tester for products others were building contributed to my ever-growing network of talented people. And making new friends at meetups or re-connecting with old acquaintances did the rest.

What are some of your go-to techniques for adding the right people to your teams?