When the founders of a startup decide to engage in the development of the company they find themselves facing a multitude of challenges such as: enlarging the size of the infrastructures, speeding up the processes, hiring new talents, investing in new markets and at the same time being able to keep firm the culture of the company.
Tech Nation, a support network for entrepreneurs, has gone through a similar period and therefore best understands the needs of entrepreneurs and for this purpose Upscale was born: a forum where entrepreneurs can speak freely and share daily challenges with others.
After the success of Upscale, Tech Nation decided to hire a writer who reported all the results of the coaching sessions in a book.
This book is the result of this project, it aims to become a guide, to report the experiences of different entrepreneurs and investors as a support for new and future technological startups.
Team management: hiring, layoffs and promotions
Hiring and layoffs according to Greg Marsh , co-founder and former CEO of Onefinestay.
One of the main problems a founder has to face with staff is hiring slowly and firing quickly. The saying “time is money” could not be more appropriate than in this case.
Hiring an executive is a fundamental problem for any founder, since to understand if the newly hired executive will be effective in his role, it is necessary to give him time to set up his own functions and processes, but that time will be a period in which the company does not get any progress.
The solution is to be completely clear on the times when a result is expected from the manager.
To set up an effective hiring process: you must not rely only on your instincts but you must try to have someone else in the interviews that you trust and who has knowledge of the context, secondly it is always good to ask the candidate to have a detailed work session, in this way you can discard those who are excellent in the interviews but not in the job itself.
Last but not least rule, you have to check the references thoroughly.
– How to preserve culture in the development of a startup according to Neil Rimer , co-founder of Index Venture
The culture and values of a company are the showcase of how management is expected to function, it is what influences hiring, attracts talents and creates an emotional bond with the company and its objectives. There are two factors for maintaining and perpetuating values in a growing company:
- encode the values that underlie your mission;
- management behavior must be in line with the values promoted.
– The old management of a company based on single leadership has changed according to Sarah Wood , co-founder of Unruly.
The old leadership models of a single leader in charge of everything no longer work in the modern age. The company must be more agile and responsive to meet market needs, a more fluid corporate structure is required, it is essential to have individuals with greater roles and skills in the various areas of the organization.
The new model also requires greater clarity in communications, culture and constancy of the product, furthermore the development of a meritocratic company that promotes the growth of its talents is necessary.
To respond faster to market demands and maintain product consistency, Wood suggests the creation of two teams, one that focuses on projects with long-term results and one that focuses on rapid response to market demands.
– How to develop the startup technical team according to Toby Moore , co-founder and former technical director of Space Ape Games.
It is an established rule that not all programmers have the right skills or wish to become managers, the two positions often provide different skills.
A solution in this case could be to create a parallel position for engineers, such as “main programmer”, which is an alternative to that of the manager. This provides a growth opportunity that does not necessarily entail the managerial position.
A good practice, in cases where a technician chooses the managerial position, is to provide a mentor.
– How to deal with stress according to James Routledge , founder of Sanctus.
A challenge that is rarely discussed but that all founders and managers face is work stress. A fundamental step is not to keep the problem secret, but to be open about it.
Mental health is as important as physical health, a solution could be to hire a coach with whom to open up and have conversations, but above all to carve out moments only for yourself.
– How to increase talent according to Dominic Jacquesson , director of talent at Index Ventures.
1) Hire a talent leader to help with subsequent hiring.
2) Designate and communicate your culture, to attract suitable people.
3) Introduce training on how to conduct interviews.
4) Create and define a salary grid.
5) Provide stock options to increase motivation and link to the company.
6) Create a process that facilitates the adaptation of new hires.
7) Include diversity in the team.
8) Create hiring parameters and an evaluation system of the hiring process.
9) Improve internal communication.
10) Gradually implement a personal performance management system.
– The founders of a startup can be a limiting factor in growth according to Suranga Chandratillake , partner of Balderton Capital.