It can be a very exciting time for a new company owner when they know they have a perfect business idea to act out, a thorough business plan to follow, and the right financing in place to make it all happen. Once you have gone through your company formations procedure, you will be keen to jump right in.
However, before they can get the ball rolling they will need to fill the key roles within their company. The problem is knowing how to build a successful business team that will kick-start their business off on the right foot.
If you have a company limited by shares, then your shareholders will want to see a good return on their investment pretty quickly. You will need to hit the ground running and be able to demonstrate that you have the right business structure in place to produce positive results and the promise of future growth.
Let’s take a look at some of the major considerations you need to work through when structuring a winning business team.
Filling your talent gaps
This is your business so everything starts with you! What you need to do is to take some time out and away from any distractions to work out your own strengths and weaknesses. You need to be completely honest with yourself here, so just because you are reasonably good at maths doesn’t mean you are going to be the best person to do your company accounts and balance your business books.
Be realistic about how much work you can take on by yourself. You may have your head full of dreams of company growth and solid plans about how to achieve set goals and company milestones, but if your time is taken up with performing day to day business tasks that need to be done simply to keep the lights on and the wheels turning, then you will be too busy to be able to concentrate on moving your company forward towards your growth goals.
Work out what strong talents you do have, but also where your weaknesses are. Where you lack a certain talent, you will need to bring in someone to manage this for you. Maybe you are not good with accounting and finances, or product marketing seems like complete gobbledygook to you. In these cases, it would be wise to bring in people that can act as your Financial Manager and Marketing Manager.
Reverse engineer your customer experience
A lot of new companies make the mistake of building a management team based on the history of those who have gone before them. So they will create a management structure and appoint management positions based on the belief that ‘this is how it is already done, so we should do the same’. This approach may actually work in some cases, but following a traditional management structure doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, starting off with the wrong structure in place can often cause issues, confusion and delays further down the line.
For so many years businesses have structured their company from the top downwards. However, times have changed, competition has become more cut-throat, and clever new business owners are starting to realise that they should build their company from their end customer backwards.
By reverse engineering your management structure from your customer upwards, you will be able to create a meaningful management structure where each individual job will have a purpose and a direct link to the end customer.
A lot of companies are guilty of having a management structure where you have supervisors managing other supervisors that watch over the actual workers. Those business owners looking to run a lean business structure with a drive for keeping costs down to the absolute minimum would succeed better by reverse engineering their management structure. In this way, they could effectively remove a whole level of middle management that doesn’t really contribute much value to your company profits, if any at all.
Developing skills vs hiring skills
As you start to structure your management team, you may discover that you have staff members that have multiple talents or skills that can bring in extra value to your company. Rather than fitting them into a dedicated management role that makes good use of just one of their skills, you could instead look at further developing other skills that they have.
There are some business structures where you may not be able to generate one single full-time management position. For example, you may not be able to justify hiring a full-time marketing manager, but it just so happens that your marketing manager is also a whiz at bookkeeping.
This can be a great opportunity for you to combine two roles and provide the equivalent of one full-time position within your company. This can be a fantastic bonus for a small business or partnership that is just starting out and doesn’t have the available budget, or enough work available, to hire two separate staff members to fill these roles.
A lot of times a new company will be in the position of needing certain management roles to be filled, but cannot afford to fill them. Bringing roles together where you can take advantage of any existing talents, aptitudes and experience will be a good solution when you need to get pragmatic about the number of people you can afford to hire.
Research salary levels and bonus structures
To attract the right management talent to your company you will need to do some research into what salary would be suitable for the role on offer. You may need to think about either offering a more generous set salary, or offer a mix of a basic set salary with a performance-based bonus. Either choice can help to attract the best talent to your company.
Some will prefer knowing exactly what they will be paid every month so that they can budget and plan their finances. Others will enjoy the challenge of taking on targets to achieve a bonus for their work. You need to work out which option would suit each management role you create. It may well be that a set salary would suit your Financial Manager, whereas a bonus structure would suit your more dynamic and driven Marketing Manager.
Seeking out your future talent
Now that you know the type of talent you need for your management team, you need to go and find them!
To discover where your future company talent is hiding, you need to go and find where they hang out. An obvious place to look and put out feelers for suitable candidates would be LinkedIn. This is a social media platform that is described as being like Facebook for business people.
You can search for and check out the business profiles for potential new hires and discover those who are actively looking for the thrill of working with a new start-up. There are lots of highly skilled professionals to discover that are often looking for more than simply securing a stable job and can bring some fantastic experience and knowledge with them.
There are also specialist recruitment sites online that specifically deal with people with business management skills and experience that are looking for a new position, for example, recruitment companies such as Executive Headhunters or Executives Online.
Be ruthless with your management hire
Being a company director comes with a lot of responsibility. You owe it to yourself and your company to make the business a success. This is why you have to approach setting up your management team very objectively.
Don’t let emotions play any part in your hire. Don’t hire someone because you feel sorry for them. The first rule in recruitment is ‘if in doubt, don’t hire’. While you may end up hiring someone that later lets you down, if you have any thoughts from your first meeting that this person doesn’t have the right cultural fit for your business, then it will never work out.
Don’t feel under pressure to fill a management role ASAP. Remember that it is better to have a management vacancy than to have it filled with the wrong person.