Much of my research over the years has supported the idea that the new venture creation process is quite often precipitated by a team of entrepreneurs rather than the individual zealot.
So as not to mislead you, an entrepreneurial team may be defined as two or more individuals who jointly envisage an opportunity and create an entrepreneurship venture in which they have a financial interest.
After dabbling in this team thought, I wanted to remind all of us of the importance and relevance of entrepreneurial leadership in this same context, and how important this ingredient is to creating the entrepreneurial mindset.
For an entrepreneurial leader, building a great team is crucial to successful launch and growth of a new venture.
Early stage teams without such substantive leadership never seem to have the complete recipe of skills needed to take the perceived opportunity along its new pathway.
So, let’s get into some key questions and comments regarding creating the entrepreneurial “go” team.
First, let’s identify what skills we need? How do we find, attract and engage the best talent for our new venture?
And critically perhaps, as the entrepreneurial leader, how do we motivate, lead and retain the created team toward our version of victory?
Let me explain that entrepreneurial leaders are distinguished from other managers by their personal practices.
Such practices fall into three categories I have discovered—setting the entrepreneurial work climate; orchestrating the venture opportunity-seeking and moving the new venture or ventures personally forward.
Getting strategic in deciding what skills we need to make our dream venture become a reality is a great start to team creation.
For example, what will make your new venture different from the perceived competition?
What capabilities will be crucial to your success?
What skills must you have on your team to achieve your goals, to create value and, of course, to protect that newly created value?
Simply put, you need to design, through a good strategy a target culture for the new venture.
Let’s also try getting tactical, meaning to get your wonder team together and build a specification or a list of responsibilities for each key position in your new venture makeup.
For example, make certain the parts add up to the whole. Assess how well the collective talent you have assembled matches up with what you will need to succeed during the early stages of your entrepreneurial launch.
Then, I would like to suggest that you get the best. Depending on the stage of your venture and how much money you can and want to spend, your approach to finding the right candidate will vary.
You will need to be proactive and aggressive while you are evaluating a potential team membership. After all, it is your business “dream machine” that you are creating.
Appeal to your candidates need to win and appeal to not only their technical skills but their own values and cultural beliefs as well.
Two more ingredients make up my recommended go team make-up recipe.
Take a personal role in motivating and retaining this team you have created. It’s your job as the entrepreneurial leader in your new exciting venture creation.
The way that you lead your team will be the most important factor.
Share your vision and be open about the challenge.
Share your entrepreneurial passion and demonstrate your determination.
Teach and mentor, share your talent and perhaps, most important of all, demonstrate humility.
You want to “hear” clearly and unmistakably what your new team may be telling you.
Finally, a difficult step for many serial entrepreneurs is the need to get tough.
Try your best to objectively evaluate each team member annually and update their list of responsibilities.
Do hold people accountable. It’s really not that hard to know when you may need to change some element within your core team, but, it is very hard to decide to do it.
I have had to during some of the periods of my entrepreneurial life and the decisions remained with me for a time.
Not enjoyable, but necessary I can assure you.
In closing this week, please accept the absolute reality as a new entrepreneur, you cannot expect to succeed with everyone. If your new venture is changing rapidly, your needs change just as rapidly.
But please, always make a needed change with grace and support.
Forgive yourself, and continue to move forward to achieve your entrepreneurial dream.
Joel Young is an entrepreneurship educator and coach and the founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.