The startup scene in Africa is blooming. In just the first half of the 2018 year, African startups secured $160 million in funding—more than all funds raised in 2018. Zimbabwe saw a rise in blockchain tech, while financial technology reigned supreme in Kenya. Companies like Cellulant, Branch, and M-Kopa Polar raised millions.
But how are these companies finding the right teams to help them get further in the startup lifecycle? After all, choosing the right team can make or break your startup success. To help guide you, we’ve come up with a few key tips on how you can choose the perfect team to take your startup to the next level.
Identify the Positions You Need
So, you know that you need a startup team. But what positions are most pertinent to early stages? Some of the most important startup positions are in sales, marketing, and technology. In addition to identifying which positions are necessary to help growth, you should also make a list of the requirements expected in those positions. This will help you flesh out official job postings. Check out similar job postings for inspiration.
Create Interactive Interviews
A startup embodies a unique culture. You aren’t looking for people to check items off a to-do list. You need innovators who aren’t afraid to think outside of the box. As such, a traditional question-and-answer approach might not be ideal for a startup position. You may have heard of the unique interview questions that major creative companies like Google use to hire the right candidates. Utilize this same method for finding creative talent of your own by curating interactive interviews.
The old adage, “Hire slow, fire fast” rings very true in the startup world. A bad hire at such an early stage could dramatically affect the trajectory of your business. Take your time to get to know each applicant. Don’t just pay attention to their resume—which matters less in the startup world. Instead, pay equal attention to their individual achievements, passions, and their personal visions. As motivational speaker Simon Sinek once said, “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
Communicate the Vision
Today’s startups have to be able to communicate their visions if they want potential employees to be able to embody it. Before you even post on job boards, create a vision statement. A vision statement is a written testament to why your startup exists. It helps align each of your employees and provides clear direction on the core of what’s happening on a daily basis. It also defines the inspiration that drives the company forward. This is not to be confused with a mission statement, which defines the present purpose of a company—the who, what, where, why.
For example, the vision statement for Southwest Airlines is “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.” Check out some other vision statements for inspiration.
Build an Onboarding Process
Far too often, startups—especially those that are growing fast—fail to implement an onboarding process. According to Lucidchart, 22% of companies lack a formal onboarding process. “If you want to retain your employees beyond the first year and have those employees performing at their best, you need to build a strategic onboarding process flow,” they said. “Properly introducing your new employees to your company culture, their responsibilities, and their coworkers not only helps employees feel more welcome—it also helps your bottom line.”
Join an Incubator or Accelerator
Startup incubators and accelerators are the perfect way to meet potential co-founders and other team members. These programs are designed to help startup founders grow their businesses. They combine early funding with mentorships, investor opportunities, and social events that allow entrepreneurs to mingle with peers and other like-minded individuals.
Naturally, these highly exclusive programs can be a great way to meet other potential team members. Although the people you meet will be involved in startups of their own, things don’t always work out ideally. Part of what makes this a great experience is the opportunity to make dozens of potentially lucrative connections. Years, or even just months down the line, you can reach out to people you met during your time at the program. Because you’ve already seen their passion at work, you already have a thorough understanding of what they can bring to the team.
If you plan to join an incubator, it’s important that you choose the right one. Fortunately, there’s plenty going on in Africa. In June, Village Capital Programme announced that it would support incubators, accelerators, and seed funds in sub-Saharan Africa. Seedstars has also launched multiple incubators across the continent.