Teamwork in a Startup: An Essential Ingredient to Success

It takes a lot more than a great idea to succeed in the startup world.

Even the combination of a great idea, a solid business model, and high financial resources are often not enough to achieve success.

In fact, one of the top criteria angel investors look for when investing in a startup business is the functioning of the founding team and the character of each founding member. Business is about a group of people coming together to create and grow a solid organization. That is why seamless teamwork and coordination are as essential as tangible resources in building a successful startup.

Solid teamwork is always important, but here are a few reasons why it is especially emphasized in early stage companies…

 A successful founding team must be diversified.

Unlike members of a corporate team focused on one particular expertise — or a team that is large enough to cover all roles with different, specific positions — members of a startup’s founding team must come from different backgrounds while overlapping with each other on roles and responsibilities.

It can be much more challenging to align such a diversified group and ensure seamless coordination.

Bringing these different people together requires a focus on communication. Your team must feel comfortable with openness and honesty, and be able to ask questions without fear of criticism. Allow for open discussions and the occasional team bonding activity to ensure that your diverse team is on the same page when it comes to your startup.

The risk factor and pace are more intense than traditional work environments.

Today, it is much more convenient to launch a business, thanks to abundant information, resources, and a thriving community of entrepreneurs to work with and learn from. But it’s also much harder to survive and keep a competitive advantage in such a saturated place. The competition in the startup world is fierce and the dedication of time and resources required is huge. The only way to thrive in this ecosystem is to have a rock solid founding team – a support system built into the DNA of your startup.

Every team member should be able to handle the stress of uncertainty, heavy workloads, and frequent shifts in goals and progress. They must thrive in times of hardship and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

EVERYTHING Counts Towards Survival.

As part of a small team, every detail and every person counts towards continuous progress. Members of the founding team cannot expect to focus only on tasks that fall under their area of expertise. Each team member must be willing to abandon their comfort zone for the benefit of the company. It takes dedicated and passionate members that support each other and believe in a unified vision, and are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

A successful startup team must be a supportive, collaborative unit that brings variety to the table without sacrificing cohesion. Everyone must do their part while supporting one another and  working towards a common goal.

Conflict spreads fast.

When you’re working in a startup environment — likely spending your days in a small, open office where privacy is limited — it’s difficult to compartmentalize any issues that may arise. If there is tension going on between two people, it’s likely that others will be inadvertently dragged in or at least feel the effects of the negative energy.

Interpersonal issues can polarize even the strongest of startups, so minimizing the risk and dealing with problems quickly and openly is necessary in keeping your team comfortable, happy, and productive. Consider the personalities of everyone you bring on board, and how they’ll jive with others. Some conflicts are inevitable, but building a strong team that works well together and appreciates one another will reduce the amount of time wasted on smoothing over tension.

 

Every member of a startup team is an essential ingredient to success, and if they can’t work well together, the future may be grim. Founding entrepreneurs must not only look to build a team of smart and capable people, but also consider the dynamic of bringing these separate members together into a close knit, intense, and collaborative environment. Team member must be willing to uphold their responsibilities and support each other during good times and bad. There is absolutely no room for office politics and other disturbances when running a successful startup.

 How do you foster team work at your startup?

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