“You don’t build a business- you build people- and then people build the business. You cannot have a successful business without a lot of successful people helping to grow it.” – Zig Ziglar, international motivational speaker and author of See You At The Top
Building a strong team is critical to the success of any company. If you want your business to grow big, you need help from others. Build and grow your own team. If you think about it, there is really no such thing as self-made millionaire as every successful person would have people behind them.
Everyone knows about the successes of legendary Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma. But if he had worked alone, could Alibaba become the world’s largest e-commerce platform it is today?
I doubt it.
The story goes that the main reason why Softbank invested in Alibaba because Mr. Son is impressed with his leadership and the team he builds.
Thus, if you are an entrepreneur or business owner, it is very important for you to build your own dream team. A team comes in three levels and plays a particularly important role in your business’ success.
How Do You Define A Team?
The first level refers to the people who are part of your founding team. This group of people are very important for you as you dive into the path of entrepreneurship, as they are the people who contributed to setting up your business ventures. Jack Ma did not set up Alibaba Group alone. Instead, he had 17 original co-founders working with him to establish the company.
This founding team are people who are likely going to be your partners and therefore your shareholders. Some will be working partners, and some may not be. But each party’s contribution must be clear and committed. They would also need to commit financially to the success of the business. Each of the team members may also take responsibilities of the
|Level 1||Founder’s team.|
Potentially partners or shareholders. Some are working, some are not.
|Level 2||Senior Management|
|Level 3||Normal staff|
When a business starts to grow, there is a second and third level in building a team. It’s would likely be of the employees’ category.
On the second level, a company will bring in the important C-level positions which will take significant responsibilities in the company. These are your senior positions who will take up management positions in your company which are not covered by your ‘partners’. They will lead the rest of the lower level groups as your company grows larger over time.
However, how do you attract and retain this group of people? There would of course need a reasonable salary but as an incentive, you can offer them a profit-sharing plan but no shareholdings. Or you can give them a share option scheme for them to benefit from the success of the company or a direct offer to take up a certain percentage of your company’s shares at a special price.
For example, Louis is a senior operations manager. He runs the whole operation in the company. He is very responsible and contributes significantly to the growth of the company. So, you as the business owner can consider offering him a portion of your profit sharing, say 10% of the net profit.
Well, it’s not just that. You can also compensate Louis with shareholdings in the company, on top of or instead of profit sharing. However, it depends entirely on the mutual agreement of both parties. Not everyone wants to become a shareholder, as it will require your employees to invest money in the company, as well as to take on risks they might normally balk at.
Other than C-level positions, you will need to employ regular lower-level employees to push the company’s growth rapidly. A company can consider offering them an incentive based on the success of the company, not limited to their monthly wages. It is a way to motivate your employees to put more effort to grow the business as they now have a stake in its success.
Identify The Right Employees With Proper Assessments
When it comes to employing people, it is critical to know what to expect in terms of the requirements of the person that would fit the job expectations in terms of competencies and capabilities. For a new company, the people you bring in will determine the future success of the company.
You need to know how to do a proper assessment to evaluate candidates and identify the right people in the hiring process:
- Assess the candidate’s competency and potential by asking for real solutions. Explain a problem your team struggles with and ask the candidate how she would solve it. So that you’ll know how the candidate would handle real situations related to the job and their competency.
- Conduct a personality test through a series of personal belief statements where candidates are asked to rate their agreement with a series of statements. It will help you to understand the candidates’ skills and capabilities, including soft skills or functional competencies.
- Request for work samples as it’s typically preferred because the candidate is essentially being tasked with doing a portion of the job.
- Conduct pre-employment skill exercises will allow you to understand their skill level immediately. For example, you want to hire a PR person, you can give her some generic details of an event, then ask her to write a press release for the event.
Don’t Wait Too Long To Fire The Wrong Employee
Hiring is not an easy task. You probably won’t be successful all the time. What if you hired the wrong employee to your company? You must be ready to fire them as no company can afford the negative impact and costs brought by wrong hiring.
We’ve all heard the saying “one bad apple spoils a basket of good apples”. It applies to people as well. Hiring the wrong person doesn’t just affect your company’s productivity, it might turn some better workforce to end up as non-performing staff. Negative influence is very pervasive. This would be very costly to your organization. Team culture, productivity, and even client relationships can take a hit if you bring the wrong person into the team.
However, when you get to the point of firing an employee who doesn’t perform well, you must be clear about what is the job performance that they are not meeting. But is it really their fault or is it your fault, because you were not clear about the job expectations?
For example, you didn’t clarify their KPIs, targets and expectations or if you have set unrealistic and unachievable targets for them to achieve. Or you did not give them the necessary support or resources that would enable them to get their job done, then it cannot be their fault.
As a business owner, you are in charge of making sure your company grows in a healthy and sustainable way. Hiring and retaining employees is one of the most critical things that you need to focus on, in order to avoid hiring the wrong employee that will drag down your business.
In summary, having the right team determines the success of your business and if you do not get the right person in then you need to make the decision to let them go even if it is not a nice thing to do.