Like A Boss

Surrounding Yourself with the Best People Matters

by Arianna Schioldager

Successful businesses start with dedicated and determined staff. Here’s how to find the people to propel your startup into growth mode.

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Your staff, your team, your squad. It doesn’t matter what you call them — what does matter is that they are the dedicated individuals who make your company run. They’re also an extension of you, the boss. And finding them is one of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur.

We’re here to give you a crash course in staffing a team full of career unicorns.

Referrals Are Your Best Bet

If you want to hit a hiring home run, referrals from friends and colleagues are your best bet. People you work with likely won’t vouch for someone that they don’t believe in, and friends will not suggest someone for the job who they don’t think will help your business.

Reach out to people you trust via email and on social media and ask if they know anyone. Be cautious, however, when hiring friends. It’s tempting because it’s an easy route, but it is hard to maintain a friendship in a hierarchical structure. What if they don’t do a great job? What if they think you’re a difficult boss? Instead of making employees out of friends and family, hire employees and make a family out of your team.

Know What Characteristics Are Important to You

Your business is your baby, so you know what traits are needed to make it succeed. Start by making a list of the qualities your ideal employee has. Is the person a killer project manager? An eternal optimist? A numbers wizard? Create interview questions tailored to the qualities you want your new hire to have. This will help you ensure the person is a match as you start staffing.

Many entrepreneurs look for self-starters. As a startup, it is important to have people on a team who are ready for growth and change. Adaptable staff members who can think and act on their feet are crucial to the ever-shifting startup world.

When interviewing, ask potential employees to discuss a project they successfully ran on their own. Concrete examples and case studies are a must. Ask for them.

Make Headcount Count

Hiring just to hire is a good way to crash your business. So, how do you know how many employees you need to start?

The answer may surprise you. You need one smart first hire. Yes, just one. The other pieces will fall into place from there. When you’re looking to expand your team, think about the one role that needs to be filled. Who is the person who can handle the tasks that you’re not equipped to deal with. If there is an aspect of the business you don’t understand, hire someone smarter than you. Ask that person questions. This person is your ace in the hole, and all of the other hiring dominoes will fall from there.

When you’re ready to grow and increase headcount, it’s important to put together a diverse team, both in background and in skill set. Check out the six personality types every startup needs to help you get started.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

When you’re the boss there is no one there congratulating you or patting you on the back because you did a great job. Conversely, there’s no shoulder to cry on to when you bungle a big deal. You’re carrying the weight of your business, often on your own.

This is why mentorship for new entrepreneurs is vital. A mentor you can call, count on and cry to (if and when need be) will get you through the moments when you think starting a business was the worst idea you’ve ever had. You need someone to show up for you so you’re able to show up for those new employees you just hired. Reach out and ask advice of someone who has trekked the road of entrepreneurship before you.

Remember, a great business idea is only as good as the people who help make it happen. Select your staff and mentors carefully and commit to creating an environment that fosters growth, both for yourself and for your employees.

Marriott Hotels partnered with Create & Cultivate, an online platform and offline conference series for female entrepreneurs in the digital space, to profile local woman entrepreneurs who are bringing their ideas to life where they live and to create a space to foster the ingenuity of an inventive class who know that success is never final.

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