With start-ups and young businesses, ensuring that you have people on board with the skills required to take it in the right direction is critical. As a founder or director, it’s likely that you have put your heart and soul into getting it to where it is today. Inevitably in all successful businesses there comes a time when for your business to continue to grow and thrive, you need to expand your team. How you do this is critical to determining your business's future success.
The first step, and often one of the most difficult, it recognising when your business has expanded to a point that is beyond your skill set. Although it can be hard to relinquish the control you are used to having, recognising that you are no longer able to fulfil the needs of the business by yourself is crucial to helping it reach its full potential.
Once you have accepted that you need help, it’s time to identify the specific skills that your business requires and the role that you want the new recruit to play. This involves assessing the areas of strength and the range of skills your existing team have and aligning these with your goals and strategy for the business. Identifying your specific requirements gives the recruitment process direction and focus.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a founder or director is to bring on board exclusively like-minded people. Putting together a team with a diverse range of experiences, abilities, and outlooks means your business will benefit from a wider range of ideas. It also allows for the status quo to be challenged in a productive manner, raising concerns and suggestions which can help the business to move forward or sometimes, completely change the direction in which it was heading.
Another thing to remember is that your business has not finished growing, and therefore your staff ideally should be able to grow, both within and with it. The people you employ need to be able to positively contribute now, as well as in the future. This may mean employing people with a general skill set and providing them with the resources and skills to specialise as the business requires.
Something commonly overlooked by founders or directors of young businesses when they are recruiting is a focus on culture. Identifying the business culture you want to establish, or maintain, as the case may be, should be at the forefront of your mind. The people who work for you need to align with the values and mindset you want your business to be known for. Make sure that all staff know what is expected of them and that they adhere to your core business values. If a problem crops up in this regard, deal with it quickly and professionally. Failure to do so will often result in more problems. Laying the foundations for a positive culture is important, as it’s easier and less expensive to establish a good business culture than it is to fix a bad one.
Implementing good corporate governance practices as early as possible will, without question, reduce costly problems down the track. For founders or directors of a young business, it can often be difficult to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, as you are so involved in the day to day operations. There are a range of professionals with the skill set to help you so don’t be afraid to bring in a HR professional, a corporate governance expert, or even a trusted business mentor to provide an objective opinion and a second set of eyes and ears into the business. Establishing good practices early in the lifecycle of your business will help you lay a successful pathway for the future.
This article was written by Partner, Joanna Andrew.
Practice Area: Corporate, Commercial & Business