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Startups rock. However…many startup teams don’t. Building a high performing, profit driving team is simple. It’s also hard. Here are my top 7 tips for helping entrepreneurs build really great teams.  

You’ve got to stand for something…or you’ll hire anything: When building your company a vision, mission, and values statement is imperative. The concept may seem soft but it is essential to team building. It defines why you do what you do, what you do, and how you do it. If you can’t articulate these three things…how can determine who to hire?

Don’t hire jerks: Don’t hire based on job skills alone. You can find the best coder in the world. But if he’s a jerk he won’t be a good fit.  Most likey you will end up firing him or he will be more trouble than he is worth. Your values can help define what a “fit” candidate looks like. 

Create a hiring guide: I can’t tell you how many people have said to me “I hire with my gut.” Don’t do that. You need to have a defined hiring plan. Create an interview guide. Take the person on a tour of your building. Share with her your expectations. Heck, ask the candidate to solve a current problem troubing your business. The worst hire I ever made was a guy named Andy. He was funny…so I gave him the job. Turns out he didn’t know how to use a calculator. That’s embarassing given he worked in the financial industry. This is an example of why we don’t hire with our guts. Your gut there to digest food, not make business decisions. The only exception is if your gut is telling you the candidate is a jerk. 

Have an onboarding process: In other words, have a gameplan for what your new hire is going to do on day one. You may know exactly what you want this to look like in your mind…but unless your new hire is a mind reader, this is useless. 

Be intentional with building your company culture: Sure, some culture will grow organically. However you need to make sure you are creating a culture that aligns with your values (see point 1). 

Be consistent with reviews and feedback: Yes, this is work. It is also neccessary for the growth of your team and your business. Raises need to be tied to performance. Performance can only be improved with feedback. You need to make sure you are giving both…consistently.

Learn to manage people: Your startup may be super awesome. You may be super awesome. But managing people is a skill. It takes practice. It doesn’t matter how much an employee likes you, or your company, they won’t stay if you suck at managing. Read books, get a coach, find a mentor. Do whatever is necessary to become the best boss ever. 

Your company will thrive or die at the hands of your team. It’s that simple. When it comes time to build your team, don’t you think you owe it to yourself, and your business to build the best team ever? Be intentional. Then sit back and watch magic happen.