MILESTONE #4 : Team Building
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
— Andrew Carnegie
You’re only as strong as your weakest link and building your team involves tapping your own network or reaching out to those you’ve never met. You must remember that you are building and cultivating a relationship, so calling someone out of the blue and requesting they join your “million dollar idea” won’t get you get you very far.
For first time entrepreneurs, the differences between founders, key hires, and the various boards may be confusing. Refer to the terms below for more information. Another important note is that when you start fundraising you will leverage your team and their relationships. As you build the team keep this in mind.
PARTNERS / CO-FOUNDERS
These are the people that are involved in the creation of a startup. They don’t necessarily have to be there since day one, but usually they are one of the primary people working on the company before its initial investment round. Additionally, these people usually hold an equity stake in the company.
Founders recruit these team members and they specialize in a vital part of the company. Their experience and knowledge makes up for weaknesses that founders may have in certain areas. Key staff may or may not hold equity positions in the company depending on their level of expertise, the stage at which they join the company, and their salary requirements and whether the company can afford these requirements or not.
BOARD OF ADVISORS (BOA)
This is an informal group of business leaders who ideally have experience in your industry and can come together at regularly scheduled meetings to discuss strategy. Members typically receive no financial compensation and are neither legally obligated to your business, nor liable for its actions. These people may be potential members of your Board of Directors.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD)
This is a mandatory group for corporations. It is comprised of internal and external directors who are legally obligated to your company’s financial success. They meet at regularly scheduled meetings, which are laid out in the bylaws of the company. They may or may not receive compensation in the form of stock or cash.
BUSINESS ADVISORS AND MENTORS
These people will be business professionals, ideally with experience relating to your company in either the industry or the type of business. They receive no financial compensation and have no obligation to attend business meetings. Your relationship with them is informal and they can act as a consulting resource for specific issues you encounter.
PERSONAL SUPPORT TEAM
Generally, this is comprised of people you already know and you will consult with them for non-business related needs. However there is a chance that they can help with networking by introducing you to people in your chosen industry.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
These people will be your go-to contacts for providing your company with specialized services. They have a unique skill set that is very technical. Examples include lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc. They are hired as contractors and can be turned to for advice, for which they will probably charge a fee for.