Even a small management team is essential to startup success
While it’s normal for the owner of a new business to go the do-it-yourself route, either for lack of money or sparse human resources, no one individual can perform every task associated with nurturing a startup and do all of them well.
The person who sets the idea in motion might not have a clue how to keep books and end up avoiding this essential skill in pursuit of more interesting or gratifying activities, such as networking and prototype creation.
For that reason, an aspiring entrepreneur should undertake a rigorous self-evaluation when assembling a team to launch and manage a new business. The founder should not just dwell on her strengths but also acknowledge her weaknesses and skill gaps, as this exercise in realistic reflection can direct the search for people with complementary skill sets and temperaments.
Every business needs a management team — even a small one — to ensure that all the bases are covered and the business has the expertise it needs in sales and marketing, finance, production and procurement to survive to maturity.
When building the team, the owner should consider:
What skills the business requires. Almost every new business has to find a headquarters or manufacturing facility and secure all the necessary permits and licenses to do business in New Mexico. The founder might consider such tasks a tedious distraction from the more stimulating work of invention or hustling for capital, but without these foundational steps, the business might never survive beyond the idea stage. If the founder can’t or won’t do this groundwork, he has to find someone who will.
Where to find people with those skills. If the founder is averse to major hiring, some deficits in talent or ability can be temporarily filled with independent contractors or consultants who commit to provide a specific service for a limited time. By experimenting with a temporary team, the owner gets to experience working with other people toward the shared goal of business creation. This can inform her search for people who are passionate about the business’s success — people who deserve permanent places on the team.
Recruiting a balanced team. No business can sustain itself on temps alone, so talent recruitment should be part of the management team’s growth plan as it anticipates what aptitudes the business will need in the next phase or two. Building a permanent management team isn’t a one off: It’s a fluid process that adapts to the evolving needs of a living business.
Cultivating dynamic diversity. An entrepreneur typically invests all of his emotional and financial resources in a new business, and co-founders often hesitate to discourage ideas or decisions they question or disagree with. While it takes courage and maturity for the founder to invite contrary viewpoints, smarter and surer decisions are reached when management team members are free to express doubts and concerns. The founder who creates a safe environment like this also deepens group trust and engagement — essential ingredients on a management team.
Business owners can obtain help with management team planning at WESST or the Small Business Development Center. Visit www.wesst.org and www.nmsbdc.org for more information.
Finance New Mexico connects individuals and businesses with skills and funding resources for their business or idea. To learn more, go to www.FinanceNewMexico.org.