There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s life when he or she has to either build or grow a team. It’s inevitable and a clear sign of growth. I still remember the first time I decided it was time to get people onboard for my company, Publicity for Good. I was both excited and scared at the same time. And the biggest question I had back then was, “How do I make this work?”
Things have changed a lot since then. Today, I am working with a team of about 20 talented individuals who are all rock stars in their own rights. And I am more confident in my decisions. But how did I find these amazing people? How did I arrive at the decision that each person is the right fit for the team? How did I even know I needed to hire them?
Below I’ll share with you some of my best learnings when it comes to building and scaling a team.
1. Plan Well. As they say, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and as entrepreneurs, we know just how important planning is especially when you’re starting a new chapter. Start with a clear and achievable goal that’s based on historical data. If you’ve been making $200 profit per month for the last year, your goal should be to improve that. By how many percent is totally up to you, but normally, businesses should strive for a minimum of 20% growth per annum. Once you’ve decided on a goal, try to map out how you’re going to achieve it. Usually this is done by increasing the number of transactions. This will then be your basis for forming your team. To be able to boost production, who are the people that you will need? What sets of skills are needed to help ensure efficiency? From here, you can also plan out how much budget you can allocate per person depending on their function.
2. Create an Identity. Now that you know who you need to hire, you need to shift the focus internally. It’s kind of like looking at things from a macro perspective and imagining how you want the team to look like. When I started out my PR agency, I knew for a fact that I want it to be a purpose-driven company where individuality is celebrated. This decision told me that every aspect of my operation—the values by which I run my company—needs to focus on those two things. We won’t just be doing PR for the sake of making money, we’ll be in this to make positive social impact. I created my company policies around this identity and that helped me find not just people but also clients who share the same mentality.
3. Be clear with job descriptions. To better set yourself up for success, you need to make sure that every aspect of your operation is well-covered. For this reason, you will want to be clear with the responsibilities of every person in your team. This will include not just their function, but also the things that they will be held accounted for. This will give everyone a better sense of purpose and help make it easier to establish processes.
4. Teach and be prepared to be taught. I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that they are always better than their people. Don’t be one of them. Remember that you should hire people not just for their skills, but also for their attitude and background. Be a great boss and share with them whatever knowledge you can, but more importantly, be human and acknowledge the fact that you can also learn from others.
5. Proactively make your people feel appreciated. Regardless if things go well or not, let your people know that you value them. Some of you may not believe it, but a sincere thank you at the end of the week can make all the difference in the world for a person. Look for simple ways to make everyone feel valued and respected. And when things don’t go as planned, take the time to talk to them and make them realize that you have their back. Believe me when I say, keeping this to heart is going to be worth it.
There are a million other lessons I wish I could share with you to help you build or scale a great team, but for now, I’ve chosen what I personally think are the most essential ones. A couple of other things I want you to take note of: equip yourself with as much knowledge as you can before diving into this, be courageous but at the same time strategic, take it slow if you think you’re not ready to go full throttle, and most importantly, be human.