Every great company started out as a single person with a vision. But that vision cannot become a thriving business when it remains a one-person show. This is why it's so important for solopreneurs, or anyone starting a business, to know how to build their dream team.
With the right team in place, you can expand your reach and, eventually, your profits.
But building a dream team can be tough for any type of entrepreneur. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit tend to be very independent and might even refuse to delegate because no one knows the business better than they do. This is a dangerous trap to fall into. To grow a business beyond a party of one, you need to hire talented people who are just as passionate about achieving your vision as you are.
So, if you're ready to move from a solopreneur wearing many hats to the founder and CEO of a major corporation, then you need to start building your dream team today. Here's how.
Remember, it's a learning process
First and foremost, don't expect that you're going to find the perfect employees in the first wave of hiring. Even if you partner with a top talent agency to recruit the best managers in the market, there's still a chance those candidates might not be the best fit for your particular business. Or you might assemble a team of the best and brightest only to discover their personalities don't mix well together or they're unable to adapt well with the growing and changing needs of your business. While it can be frustrating, this is all normal.
In these first few years of growth and development, your business will be volatile. It might be easy to give up hope of ever finding the right people at this stage, but be persistent. This is truly a trial and error process so take careful note of the types of personalities and experience levels that turn out to be a great fit for your business.
Avoid hiring people you already know
At the solopreneur level, there tends to be a pattern of hiring friends or people you know. This is rarely an effective practice and can put your personal relationships in jeopardy.
When you know the person you want to hire, your judgment is often marred by the existing relationship. You may overlook certain red flags on their behaviors due to your familiarity with them. And if you do end up hiring a friend, you also run the risk of being unable to manage them in an objective way.
Instead, it's better to find talent through traditional methods like LinkedIn job posts or a recruiter. Hiring people through these methods will mean you'll have a better chance at being more objective about the working relationship.
Take your time
As a solopreneur, there's a good chance you've spent many sleepless nights trying to keep your business on the rails. You know you need help and you need it now. But when building your dream team, you need to take your time. It's difficult to judge a potential employee without getting to know them well. You need to get a sense of their habits and behaviors and see how they handle things. It's all too easy to be fooled by a couple of good interviews.
So, in addition to traditional interviews, take the candidate out to dinner or lunch. See how they react in a setting outside of the office. You might also want to consider bringing them back into the office and having them chat with multiple people on your team. Then listen to your employees' feedback. I've had personal experiences where this approach has made a world of difference.
You might also want to consider having your candidate interview with an advisor or mentor--someone who isn't a part of your business but whose opinion you trust and value.
While it might seem like a long, drawn-out process, when you finally find the perfect fit, you'll know every moment spent carefully searching was worth it.
Leverage your network
While it's important to avoid hiring people you might know too well or have a personal relationship with, don't shy away from leveraging your network to find the right talent. Referrals are a great way to meet potential candidates--but be sure you're putting them through the same rigorous screening process as mentioned above.
Find the right vendors
Your day-to-day personnel is the core of your dream team, but in the early stages of developing your business, outside vendors play an important role. You might not have the need for a full-time social media employee at first, but you'll still need to get those Facebook ads out there. Or you may need to find the right warehouse for your product as your garage is now filled beyond capacity.
But finding a good vendor isn't as crucial or time-consuming as finding the right full-time employees. Of course, do your research, read reviews or testimonials, and get to know who you'd be working with, but if a vendor doesn't work out, you can quickly end the relationship and move on to the next (unlike with full-time employees where the process of ending the professional relationship is much more complex). And before you sign any contracts with a vendor, review them carefully or send them to a lawyer to read through. You'll want to make sure you can make a clean break should it come time to change vendors.
Building a dream team should be top priority for any solopreneur who's hoping to become the next Buffett, Gates, or Bezos. While an independent streak is a good characteristic for any solopreneur to have, delegation is vital. You can't do it all yourself, so you might as well take the time to find the right people who will help you bring your vision to life. And once you do, you'll wonder how you ever made it without them.