A strong founding team is key to building a successful company. A start-up can begin with a great vision, but it is people who make it come to life. Ideas change, and customers come and go, but co-founders usually stay together and work towards a common goal.
A founding team can make or break your business. If people on your team are professionals, then they can make your business thrive. But having people you disagree with, or who do not have the set of skills you need, can ruin your company.
Let’s break down why building a strong founding team is important for your business.
The Definition of a Founding Team
A founding team is a group of people who decide to start a business together. Not every business has a founding team. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses on their own to avoid disagreements. Even though it is possible to be a lone wolf in business, it is generally considered harder than doing it with a team.
In fact, two or three founders are perfect for a founding team. It’ll allow you to have a team with diverse backgrounds and work experience. When challenges arise, it is easier to tackle them as a team. Thus, having a solid foundation is essential for your business.
What Is the Difference Between a Founder and a Founding Team?
It is important to define the roles people have in a team to avoid any confusion.
A founder is a person with a vision and ideas. This person usually recruits co-founders. A founder may or may not stay in the founding team, let alone become the CEO of the company.
A founding team is the foundation of the company, and it usually includes the founder and other co-founders. They execute the ideas and bring them to life.
A founding CEO is a person who runs the company, makes decisions, and deals with crises. A founding CEO is not always the founder of the company.
For more information about founding team roles, read the article.
Do You Need a Founding Team?
There is nothing wrong with being a solo entrepreneur. But running a start-up solo can be difficult, so why not find a great team to help you achieve more in less time?
Solo founders take more time to grow their businesses because one person can’t manage to do everything at the same time. Having a team is amazing in such a case, as you can divide and delegate your workload to someone else. Founding team members usually excel in different areas, making it easier to divide up the tasks.
Things go wrong in every business, no matter how hard you try not to make mistakes. If you have a partner, it will be easier to get back on track. Moreover, your partner(s) will always be there for you, motivating you to move forward. Your team can also suggest new ideas for the development of your business in a time of crisis.
Many companies have multiple founders. For example, Steve Jobs, contrary to common belief, is not the sole founder of Apple. He worked with Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne to start the company. Another example is Microsoft, where even though Bill Gates is the name you probably hear most of the time, it was a joint effort with Paul Allen.
What Are the Benefits of a Great Founding Team?
There are many benefits to having a founding team. Here are some:
Growth of the Business
Early stage ventures need time to grow and develop. The growth depends on the execution and decisions the team implements. If the team is coordinated, it helps to achieve more things using less time.
One person can’t know everything or be an expert in every business field. Having founders with different roles and responsibilities will help to divide the workload and execute the work on a high level.
Vision and Inspiration
A vision for a start-up company or venture is essential for its further development. A strong vision guides the founding team and helps to make decisions about the future of the company. If one person loses motivation, the others will be there to inspire and keep working toward achieving the goals.
All founders bring benefits to the company, but the founding CEO or Chief Executive Officer is the one who leads the team in the right direction. A great CEO motivates the team, fixes the problems, and sets the tone for the whole team.
However, there is too much of a good thing. Having too many members in a founding team can have the opposite effect. The more people you allow in your team, the harder it will be to make decisions and trust levels will be low. Additionally, having many founders can lead to unnecessary drama and power plays.
But whether you have a founding team of two or ten, what matters is the trust and respect for each other. The team should also have diverse skills and experience for the best gain. The size of your team is less important than the qualities other team members have.
Does Simply Having a Founding Team Guarantee Success?
No. Success is all about having the right founding team for your business. According to the book The Founder’s Dilemma by Noam Wasserman, more than 60% of start-ups fall apart because of a bad founding team. It could happen due to various reasons. As a business grows, sometimes team members who were great in the beginning may not be able to work in the new environment. Other times, the team is poorly chosen at the very beginning, and it leads to many difficulties that some start-ups can’t solve.
Thus, finding team members with the right qualities is very important. Determined people, who are not afraid of commitments, will be a great fit. Other great qualities to look for are compatibility with your personal ideas, work ethic, resolve, and passion. Do not forget, it should be people you trust and respect. It is better to spend more time trying to find people who feel right than hiring the ones who don’t meet your expectations. It will help to avoid problems in the future.
Where To Find Members for a Founding Team?
If you think you could use a founding team, you may wonder where you can find suitable people. Just like it can be hard to find good friends, it can be hard to find people who share your values and ideas. Here are some ways for you to find a founding team.
Maybe your currently unemployed friend or former colleague has the experience that will be invaluable for your team. Or, maybe your family member or a school friend? The benefit of this method is that you already know these people and their personal qualities. They are not strangers to you.
Nowadays, it is possible to find almost everything on social media. You can find many start-up-related groups and look through them. Most likely, people, there, will be interested in starting a business with you. Yet, as you do not know these people personally, do not agree to anything before you get to know each other better.
Maybe a friend of a friend knows someone who wants to start a business with you, or has the skills you need on your team. Asking around could be a great way to find the right people. The good thing about this method is that those people are less likely to be scammers.
Co-founder matchmaking sites
If you think that nowadays there is a website for everything, you are right! There are many platforms to find people for your business, like CoFoundersLab. But, just like with any other app or website, be careful about the information you share out there.
Start-up events are great places to find like-minded people. Whether you live in a big city or a small one, start-up events are happening quite often, both online and offline, check out StartupWeekend. Such events offer an opportunity to talk to others about your business. Even if you don’t meet the right people at these events, you might make new friends or learn something new.
When To Start Looking for a Founding Team?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. You may start looking for a partner or a founding team while you are still thinking about the idea for your business. Or you already have one and decide it’s time for you to expand, and you think finding a co-founder will benefit your business. But before making a decision, think about what kind of skills are necessary for your company and have much equity you are willing to give.
Having a founding team with complementary skills is an asset to your business that you can’t overlook! You will probably have to work with your co-founders for years, which is why choosing only the best people is important.
Do not rush into finding a business partner right away. Think about whether your business or start-up will benefit from it or not. After all, the people you choose will be the foundation for your company!