The Young Entrepreneur Council asked eight successful young entrepreneurs to give their best tips for successfully scaling a start-up team, while still keeping the creative environment fresh. Here are their best answers.
1. Can I Buy You a Drink?
Look for a strong cultural fit when hiring for your start-up—and not just their resume and experience. If you don't get along with a person—wouldn't enjoy having Friday beers with them—then don't bring them onto your team. The negative impact on morale from making a wrong hire can be tremendous, so be careful. Fire quickly if things don't work out.
—Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs
2. Spread the Recognition
To scale a start-up and keep work interesting, you'll want to frequently announce milestones reached, but also press your team for constant improvement. When your team starts to realize they're really contributing to a business that's making real progress, and are learning a lot more than they have at any other work environment, they'll never leave.
—Danny Wong, Blank Label Group
3. Start a Chain Reaction
Best piece of advice I ever heard was only hire those you would trust to hire others without consulting you. If you start off with an amazing team of creative people and follow that rule, your team should continue to have the same creative touch.
—Ben Lang, EpicLaunch
4. Share the Business Vision
When you're leading your company, no matter how employees you have or want to bring on, it helps to share the business vision. If you have new projects or different tasks that need to get done, your team is a lot more likely to get on board when they know where you're going. That in itself will keep the environment humming.
—Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media
5. Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link
Find areas where you are weakest and hire passionate experts in those areas. Keep in mind you can teach skills very easily, but teaching personality and attitude is next to impossible. Find people with passion and personality that fit your organization and then teach them skills in the areas where you are lacking.
—Lucas Sommer, Audimated
6. Trial Runs With the Team
Keeping the creative environment and culture strong are critical for a startup. Great candidates on paper may not fit with your current team. Hire everyone as a contractor at first — take four to ten weeks to make sure that they fit within your culture, and give the new employee the same courtesy to make sure that she or he is happy with your team!
—Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
7. Let the Team Grow Too!
Delegate and trust your team. It's the only way to grow effectively. A startup owner can't do everything, and trying to simply stifles your team. One of the appeals of a startup is how much growth it affords its people; delegate so you don't deny them that.
—Brent Beshore, AdVentures
8. Balance that Passion
It's important that you balance a startup with creative people and people who can execute. You need the creative people to take your company to new levels, but it's equally as important to have the employees that will "get stuff done".
—John Hall, Digital Talent Agents